Of recent, conservation and management of the environment in Uganda has been in the spotlight due to the worsening state of the environment. This includes uncontrolled wetland degradation, poorly monitored deforestation, which has also seen many beautiful natural forests such as Mabira, Budongo, and Mpanga, among others, reducing in size. In some extreme cases, natural forests cut down are replaced by artificial forests. There is also the continued pollution of Lake Victoria and many other water bodies.
This failure to regulate and conserve the environment by the many existing relevant ministries and other authorities raises the questions as to whether the country still has the capacity to facilitate unproductive institutions, which have turned into money-making entities for the officials in charge at the expense of the environment.
Environment-related authorities such as the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and National Forest Authority (NFA), among others, have been given enough time and tested. However, they have found to have roundly failed given the numerous number of scandals that have rocked these bodies over the years. This has placed Uganda on the verge of worse climate change.
Therefore, my pertinent appeal to our Members of Parliament as they debate on the National Environment Bill, 2017, is that they should take this great opportunity to repeal all the affected environmental authorities.
Parliament should instead give all powers regarding environment protection to the public, ministry of Water and Environment, and the local government authorities.
Then the savings and other resources that all these failed authorities have been getting should be channelled to the Environment ministry and local governments for purposes of improving efficiency and monitoring the environment.
This will go a long way in protecting the environment rather than the continued duplication of duties that is happening.
This Bill should provide a visible change in the way our environment is managed other than relying on or maintaining incompetent authorities.