Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The European Union (EU) delegation in Uganda will today meet President Yoweri Museveni to discuss conservation of natural resources.
Eight EU Ambassadors have for the past four days been in Western and Northern Uganda to assess and discuss environmental conservation in the country. Top on the agenda was the controversial cultivation of sugarcane in Bugoma central forest reserve by Hoima Sugar Limited, depletion of Zoka central forest reserve by illegal lumbers and charcoal burning and others.
The other area of interest was the proposed construction of a 360 MW hydropower dam on Murchison Falls among others.
Addressing journalists in Gulu city on Thursday, Ambassador Attilio said that the country needs to strike the right balance between development or the necessity to develop with the much-needed conservation of its treasures.
According to Attilio, there should always be dialogue and clear decisions regarding the conservation of the environment.
Dr Roswitha Kremser, the Head of Austria office in Uganda said that there should be options and alternatives to the destruction of natural resources.
Speaking about the cultivation of sugarcane in Bugoma forest, Kremser questioned whether sugarcane growing can take place in a forest or whether there are no alternative sites that can be found. She demanded that natural resources should not be destructed at the expense of development.
Per Lindgarde, the Ambassador of Sweden said that protecting and restoring forests is very important since it attracts tourists and other benefits.
He noted that environment and climate change were key for Sweden and the European Union, which explains why they support natural resource management.
The Ambassador of Italy, Massimiliano Mazzanti said that investment activities in Bugoma forest do not make any sense to them as the European Union.
“There is enough production of sugar in this country. We understand of course the impact of such an investment in terms of short-term jobs but killing the forest to produce sugar, it is suicide in long term perspective to the economy for the whole region,” Mazzanti noted.
He equally said that building a dam on Murchison Falls also does not make sense since there is already enough production of electricity in the country.
Jules-Armand Aniambossou the Ambassador of France, said that Uganda could become the worst example if it doesn’t take conservation seriously.
Besides environment conservation, the EU Press and Information Officer Emmanuel Gyezaho says that the meeting between the President and the Ambassadors is in line with Article 8 Cotonou Partnership Agreement Political Dialogue regularly held between the EU and Government of Uganda.
The last meeting between the EU delegation and the President was on 15th November 2019. They discussed topics ranging from business and investment climate, human rights and democracy including electoral reforms, freedom of assembly and expression as well as National dialogue.