This year’s water and environment week will assess the centrality of water and environment resources in increasing household incomes
Kampala, Uganda | ALFRED OCHWO | Sam Cheptoris, the Minister of Water and Environment says this year’s water and environment week—an annual event now in its third year— will focus on the centrality of water and environment resources in Uganda’s quest for sustainable industrialization, employment and wealth creation.
The water and environment week is slated for March 23-27 and will focus on the intrinsic link between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Uganda’s quest to achieve middle income status using its third national development plan which focuses on the structural transformation of the country through increased industrial activity with emphasis on manufacturing.
While addressing a press conference on March 07, at the ministry’s headquarters in Luzira, a Kampala suburb which neighbours the northern shores of Lake Victoria, Cheptoris, said since its inception in 2018, the event seeks to contribute towards the attainment of sustainable socio-economic transformation of Uganda.
“This (water and environment week) will provide an interface between sector actors and other stakeholders for knowledge exchange, dialoguing, learning for improvement of Uganda’s water and environment resources,” he said.
The event to be commemorated under the theme: “Water and Environment resources for inclusive-growth, employment and wealth creation,” will be celebrated with the annual commemoration of World Forest Day (March 21), World Water Day (March 22) and World Meteorological Day on (March 23).
The theme for the International Day of Forests is Forests and Biodiversity while the theme for World Water Day 2020 is Water and Climate Change. The theme for World Meteorological Day 2020 is Climate and Water which aligns with the theme of World Water Day 2020, focusing on climate change and water.
This year’s commemoration will assess the centrality of water and environment resources in increasing household incomes, improved quality of life of the population and achievement of ‘Sustainable Industrialization for Inclusive growth, Employment and Wealth Creation.’
Throughout the week, several activities have been lined and these include; “Walking for Water, Environment and Climate Change” from March10 – 20, starting from Mabira Forest in Buikwe District to the River Rwizi catchment in Mbarara in western Uganda.
The walk will be led by the Uganda Walkers Association who will be joined by the technical staff of the water ministry and other stakeholders at various locations along the route to help provide information on ongoing activities of the sector related to water and environment.
Other activities will focus on clean-up and restoration activities organized by regional partners of the water ministry. “These activities will be used to raise awareness about the role of water and environment in meeting NDPIII targets,” Cheptoris said.
Data from the Ministry of Water and Environment shows that the percentage of Uganda’s rural population with access to safe water was estimated to be 70% as at June 2018. This was the same percentage in 2017.
However, the total number of villages with at least a safe water source increased from 57,585 (64% of all villages) in FY 2016/17 to 57,974 (i.e. 66% of all villages) in FY 2017/18. Access to safe drinking water in the urban water increased to 74% as of June 2018, up from 71% in 2017.
In relation to environment, approximately 3,240 hectares of wetlands had been restored, and 2160 hectares of degraded forests replanted with trees during the same period under review.
A water security conference to be held on March19 in Kampala has also been organised and fully funded by the German development agency, GIZ, to launch the water security strategy and action plan for Kampala.