(Posted 10th October 2022)
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), a government agency responsible for the management and protection of wildlife in and outside protected areas, obtained the FSC forest management certificate for three national parks.
With a combined area of 211,100 ha, the three parks—Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), Rwenzori Mountains National Park (RMNP), and Kibale National Park (KNP)—represent one of the largest increases in FSC Forest Management (FM) certified area in Eastern Africa in a single year.
The certification process started in 2018 when FSC launched the National Forest Stewardship Standard of the Republic of Uganda.
UWA then launched the preparedness process to familiarise its workforce with FSC principles, criteria, and indicators.
Mr. Richard Kapere, Conservation Planning Manager and in charge of FSC and Climate Change portfolios at UWA, said, “in collaboration with FSC Eastern Africa, we began a pilot project that enabled us to test the 10 FSC principles in three national parks. We appreciate the financial support provided by the WWF Uganda Country Office for this project.”
When UWA was prepared and ready, it hired Soil Association Ltd., an audit company with FSC accreditation, to conduct evaluations in 2022.
According to Dr. Harrison Kojwang, Senior Advisor, FSC International, “the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) deserves praise for guiding the processes that culminated in the certification of three of its renowned national parks in 2022. Congratulations to Ms. Annah Agasha, the coordinator of FSC Eastern Africa, who worked closely with UWA to achieve such a big milestone for Eastern Africa. It is an accomplishment of tremendous proportions. I am hoping that other Eastern Africa governments will follow, expanding the area of the continent that is FM-certified and growing the prospects for applying the FSC’s ecosystem services procedure. “
UWA is hopeful that the FSC certification will contribute to even better management of protected areas.
By implementing FSC standards, it hopes to improve tourism, forest management, brand development, and public trust.
To encourage visitors to travel to Uganda’s FSC-certified protected areas, UWA plans to use the occasion for “green tourism promotion.”
Along with the Forest Management (FM) certification, UWA and FSC will implement the ecosystem services procedure, a project designed to provide incentives for the preservation of important ecosystem services in sustainably managed forests.
“Nature is critical for our survival, and its sustainable use is vital for humans,” says Dr. Peter Alele, Regional Director, FSC Africa.
“FSC certification offers an innovative and people-centred process that is trusted around the world as an effective approach for sustainable forest management. As adoption of the FSC increases in the region, we are committed to collaborating with stakeholders and partners to support their plans for growth and development that sustains environmental, economic, and social benefits. “
“The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is excited to receive certification from the Forest Stewardship Council for three of its national parks,” says Sam Mwandha, Executive Director of UWA before concluding: “The certification is testament to UWA’s resolve and commitment to conserve Uganda’s national heritage in a responsible manner, while ensuring that ecosystems, wildlife, and communities live in harmony. We pledge to work even harder and bring all forested protected areas in our care under the same certification as we work for the economic, social, and biodiversity viability of our protected areas.”