On 11 October 2023, Uganda’s COMBO+ Project team led by the WCS Uganda Program Country Director met the Technical Committee of the National Planning Authority (NPA). The National Planning Authority is reviewing Uganda’s 3rd National Development Plan (NDPIII 2020/21-2024/25) and concurrently developing the 4th National Development Plan for the country. A National Development Plan (NDP) in Uganda is considered the highest strategic framework that details the country’s development aspirations in a five-year period. For Uganda, these are all aligned with national strategic frameworks (such as the Vision 2040 for Uganda, the Uganda Green Growth Strategy, etc.) and international framework conventions.
The meeting with the NPA-technical team aimed to explore aspects of collaboration and how the COMBO+ Project could support the ongoing activities at NPA. Of particular interest currently is the opportunity to assist NPA-technical with integrating concepts and language on biodiversity, nature, ecological sustainability, and the mitigation hierarchy in the National Development Plan that is being developed. This is crucial since the NDP is the template for the preparation of sector, sub-national or other plans in the country and would build on and expand recent policy developments, such as
- requirements in the National Environment Act (2019) for the mandatory and holistic implementation of the mitigation hierarchy, including biodiversity offsets,
- the subsequent development of the National Biodiversity and Social Offsets Strategy and
- the National Guidelines on Biodiversity and Social Offsets.
Introduction of the mitigation hierarchy in the NDP would create an impetus for all the other stakeholders to mainstream biodiversity considerations and implementation of the MH in their operations.
At the meeting, it was agreed that biodiversity should be considered a cross-cutting issue that affects and/or is affected by any group of stakeholders, sectors and programs covered in the NDP. The WCS COMBO+ team will prepare a paper on the rationale for integrating the mitigation hierarchy in the various programs of the NDP including key gaps pertaining to biodiversity its pivotal contribution to Uganda’s socio-economic development.