The United Kingdom Environment Minister, Ms Thérèse Coffey, has applauded the government of Uganda for trying its best to converse the environment.
Ms Coffey was on a two day visit to Uganda last week and toured some parts of the country which include; Uganda Breweries, Murchison Falls National Park and the Nile Basin initiative secretariat in Entebbe.
Ms Coffey’s visit comes a few days to the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in London slated for April 19 – 20 under the theme, ‘Delivering a sustainable future’.
On her first day in Uganda, the UK Minister met the State Minister for Environment, Ms Mary Goretti Kitutu, and the two discussed about the upcoming CHOGM meeting as an opportunity for countries to work together to tackle environmental issues such as marine plastics.
At Uganda Breweries Limited in Luzira, Ms Coffey was shown how the brewery is reducing waste and improving its recycling to reduce the impact on the environment. Uganda Breweries is owned by Diageo a leading British beverage firm.
The Minister also toured Murchison Falls National Park to see how the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is working to protect the country’s diverse wildlife and ecosystems.
During the tour, the minister met with UWA rangers who have benefited from anti-poaching training provided by the UK military.
The minister’s tour of the park comes in the same week the UK Environment Secretary, Michael Gove announced that UK would introduce a ban on ivory sales. The minister highlighted the UK’s ambition to launch a fight against the illegal wildlife trade as a transnational crime and threat to endangered species. The UK will host an Illegal Wildlife Trade conference on the 10-11 October this year.
The minister said that the total ban on ivory sales puts the UK at the forefront of global efforts to address the drastic decline in the elephant population.
“I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue and many others with the Ugandan government and I hope through this continued dialogue we can continue the successful partnership of our two countries.”
In Uganda, a kilogramme of ivory costs $2,500 (about Shs8 million) on the black market.
Uganda remains a key transit country for illegal ivory trade, which is estimated to be worth $600 million annually.
On her second day in Uganda, the UK Minister met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sam Kuteesa and later visited the Nile Basin initiative secretariat in Entebbe.