Second Switch Africa Green networking event concludes with a call to adopt sustainable consumption practises that protect Uganda’s natural resources

Sep 15, 2017

Mr. Paul Mafabi, Director of Environment Affairs in the Ministry of Water and Environment, who was representing the Minister of Water and Environment called on Ugandans to adopt green practises. (Photo Credit: UNDP Uganda 2017).

KAMPALA – The second Switch Africa Green networking forum has been held with a call to protect Ugandan’s natural resources through using sustainable consumption and green production practises.

The two day networking forum focused on sharing knowledge to advance green business development in Africa.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Paul Mafabi, Director of Environment Affairs in the Ministry of Water and Environment, who was representing the Minister of Water and Environment called on Ugandans to adopt green practises in their factories, offices and homes as part of efforts to protect our environment and curb climate change.

He said that this was important as the country had already seen a decline in some of its natural resources, “our wetlands cover has declined from 13% to 9%, forests from 24% to about half of that, we are already feeling the impacts this.”

He called on the participants at the networking event to share knowledge and ideas that will enable Uganda apply green practises.

“A country whose socio-economic development relies on nature and plans to boost her agricultural, tourism and manufacturing sectors has to strongly consider the sustainability of the resources. As you aware, most of these resources are non-renewable or in case of degradation, loss or extinction, their restoration demands for a lot of financial, moral and physical input,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Almaz Gebru, the UNDP Uganda Country Director also called on participants to use the networking opportunities to learn from each other, “If we learn from each other, we are able to build inclusive green economies and eliminate poverty and achieve the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she said in a speech read on her behalf by Polly Mugisha, the UNDP Uganda Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist.

She added that in the year since the last event, the project had registered a number of successes with a number of participating Medium and Small Enterprises (MSMEs) saving income from the implementation of green practices.

For example, Skyfat Leather Company Ltd invested USD628, 000 to improve solid waste management through the concept of Industrial symbiosis which resulted into annual savings of USD 1,080,800 and a payback period of 0.58years. This investment has created  green jobs for 250 youth (100 male and 150 female) directly involved in adding value to solid waste and preventing over 21,600  tons of solid waste annually that would end in dumping sites

ALOESHA Uganda Limited introduced a sub meter for water measuring enabling them to save UG 750,000 monthly which is almost half of what they were paying before. While the Buzirasagama Tea Factory, in Kabarole district improved their energy efficiency when they introduced transparent iron sheets to reduce their energy consumption particularly in day light hours.

“These businesses have adopted practises that resulted in more saving which can be used to achieve other goals within their enterprises,” Ms. Gebru said.

The Switch Africa Green Project which started in 2014 prioritizes the sectors of agriculture, tourism and manufacturing. These sectors are not only in concert with the objectives of the second National Development Plan but also contribute greatly to the country’s Vision 2040 and the Sustainable Development Goals specifically Goal 12 which promotes Sustainable Consumption and Production Practices.

The networking event was intended to strengthen the relationship with both the donors, partners, private sector as well as provide a knowledge sharing platform that will see Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) practices improved and extended to various parts of Uganda.

“Switch Africa Green is testimony to the European Union (EU)'s commitment to fostering Inclusive Green Economy, an economy that can secure growth and development, while at the same time improving human well-being, providing decent jobs, reducing inequalities, tackling poverty and preserving the natural capital upon which we all depend,” according to Mr. Pavlos Evangelidis, head of the Inclusive Green Economy section at the European Union Uganda office.   

He also confirmed the European Union’s continued support to Uganda's Inclusive Green Economy agenda, by announcing a commitment of 100m Euros to fund the sector in the medium term.

EU’s current funding (19.5m) Euros has supported development of eco-inclusive businesses and the use of SCP practices in six countries in Africa including Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Burkina Faso, South Africa and Mauritius. This initiative is implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in collaboration with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).