On June 5th, 2024, Uganda celebrated the World Environment Day(WED). In Uganda, the events around WED are managed by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) on behalf of the government, and it was hosted from Sironko District, Eastern Uganda. The theme for WED 2024 globally was “Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience” whereas the national theme in Uganda was “Land Restoration for Climate Resilience”. The national theme emphasizes the urgent need to restore Uganda’s land for climate resilience especially adaptation for humans, wealth, and job creation as well as for sustainable socio-economic transformation. In addition, the theme is in line with the Government of Uganda’s 10-Year Action Plan for Restoration of the Environment and Natural Resources (2021-2031), National Vision 2024, and the National Development Plan III (NDP III).

WED was organized in partnership with government Ministries, Departments & Agencies (MDAs), District Local Governments(DLGs), and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that include  Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), National Forestry Authority (NFA), Wildlife Conservation Society(WCS), Nature Uganda, Jane Goodall Institute Uganda (JGI), Uganda Biodiversity Fund (UBF), American Tower Corporation Uganda (ATC),  World Wildlife Fund (WWF) among others.

WCS was represented by the COMBO+ project Technical Assistant (TA) to NEMA, Mr. Tobby Abura Oliwit. He showcased COMBO+ project deliverables and products at the Exhibition section alongside NEMA and other partners.

The reasons to commemorate WED 2024 in Uganda were; 1) To raise awareness on the importance of restoring degraded ecosystems; 2) To inspire stakeholders (including individuals, communities, private sector, NGOs) to take action on the restoration of ecosystems; 3) Showcase Uganda’s efforts and initiatives in ecosystem restoration and sustainable environmental practices; 4) Promote partnerships and collaboration among stakeholders in the field of environmental conservation and  5) Raise awareness on the importance of living in harmony with nature at levels of society.

The event also saw the participation of various dignitaries, including Local Council leaders, representatives of cultural institutions, members of parliament, Ministers of State,  district chairpersons, and Resident District Commissioners. The chief guest, President Yoweri Museveni was represented by the Prime Minister of Uganda, Hon. Robinah Nabanja. In his speech, delivered by the Prime Minister, President Museveni highlighted the government’s progress in increasing forest cover from 9.5% in 2015 to 13.3% today, with a target of 15% by 2026. He also announced plans to increase wetland cover from 8.9% in 2019 to 9.3% today, aiming for 15% by 2040 through wetland recovery and restoration. In addition, NEMA launched the Environment Protection Force, a 2,000-personnel strong paramilitary unit, to enforce protection requirements and restore order in the environment sector. State Minister for Environment, Honorable Beatrice Anywar, urged developers encroaching on wetlands to vacate before the newly launched Environment Protection Force takes action.