Uganda’s National Wetlands Atlas launched

Feb 3, 2017

Vincent Sempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (holding microphone) launched the Uganda Wetlands Atlas during celebrations to mark World Wetlands day in Kalungu district. Looking on (left) is Ms. Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator/ UNDP Resident Representative. The Atlas was a collaboration between the Government of Uganda and the United Nations (Photo credit: UNDP Uganda 2017).

KALUNGU - Uganda’s National Wetlands Atlas– detailing the location and current state of wetlands in the country has been launched.

Launched on 2nd February during celebrations to mark World Wetlands day in Kalungu district , this is the second volume of the Atlas showcases all Uganda’s wetland systems in visual form

Ms. Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator/ UNDP Resident Representative said the Atlas, a collaboration between the Government of Uganda and the United Nations, will be key for Uganda’s fight against environmental degradation and climate change as it works towards achieving middle income status.

Research and mapping of the wetland was carried out by the Ministry of Water and Environment, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“I appreciate the assistance provided by UNDP and UNEP in the production of the National Wetlands Atlas. This Atlas will play a major role in allowing us to protect and manage our wetlands better and helping us to plan the restoration of our wetlands around the nation,” President Museveni said in a speech read for him by Vincent Sempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.

Volume II of the National Wetlands Atlas not only maps the location of wetland but also indicates the trend of their degradation over the years and makes recommendations on their restoration. Volume I, which was launched in 2015, focused on Kampala, the Capital city and the surrounding Wakiso district wetland system.

The President expressed concern over the rapid loss of wetlands in the country particular around urban centres and some rural areas in Busoga, Tororo, Kigezi as well as Lwera in Kalungu district where sand mining was destroying the Katonga wetland system in central Uganda.

“These activities are carried out by misguided people and we need to educate them so that they can stop. In this way, we can all continue to enjoy the many benefits our wetlands give us,” the President said.

To protect these wetlands, Ms. Malango agreeing with the President called on all Uganda’s to become wetlands’ conservation ambassadors as a way of curbing their degradation.

She added that wetlands act as natural sponges absorbing and storing excess rain water hence reducing flooding. In the dry season they release the stored water delaying the onset of drought and water shortages.

Uganda loses about 2% of the wetlands annually, which is equivalent to 751.7 square kilometres countrywide. This affects the population as well as the animals that depend on these wetlands for food and sometimes shelter.

According to Mr Paul Mafabi, the Director Wetlands in the ministry of Water and Environment, the Crested Crane, Uganda's national emblem is one of those species which would be endangered if wetlands disappear.

To curb their degradation, Ms. Malango made a call to all Ugandans to take actions that to restore and conserve wetlands and reduce the risk of disaster in this country.

About World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2nd February to raise global awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet. It also marks the date of adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. World Wetlands Day was celebrated for the first time in 1997.

About Ramsar Convention

The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

  • Number of Contracting Parties: 169
  • Number of Ramsar Sites globally: 2,260
  • Number of Ramsar sites in Uganda: 12
  • Total surface of designated sites: 215,276,293 ha