Uganda to Restore Deforested Landscapes

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New Vision , Uganda, East Africa

The Government of Uganda has promised to restore up to 2.5 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2030.

This is part of the 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes in Africa that some African countries have pledged to restore by 2030 under the project dubbed AFR100 (African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative).

The African countries launched AFR100, a pan-African, country-led effort during the Global Landscapes Forum at the ongoing Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris.

The initiative has been endorsed by the African Union.

So far 10 African countries including Uganda have agreed to join AFR100 and committed at least 31.7 million hectares of land for forest landscape restoration.  

In the last 15 years, Uganda's forest cover reduced by approximately 1.3 million hectares according to Uganda National Forest Plan 2011/12 – 2021/22. The AFR100 initiative is expected to have such degraded and deforested landscapes restored.

AFR100 partners are earmarking more than USD $1 billion in development finance and more than $540 million in private sector impact investment to support restoration activities.

Uganda's neighbor Democratic Republic of Congo has committed eight million hectares and Rwanda two million hectares.

Speaking during the launch, Vincent Biruta, Rwanda's Minister of Natural Resources described this initiative as an economic and social development strategy for African countries.  

 "With forest landscape restoration we've seen agricultural yields rise and farmers in our rural communities diversify their livelihoods and improve their well-being. Forest landscape restoration is not just an environmental strategy; it is an economic and social development strategy as well."

Germany government is one of the countries providing support for the development of the AFR100 initiative.

Speaking during the same occasion, Germany's Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany Dr. Gerd Müller said funders are keen to invest in this initiative.

"Through AFR100, we expect to trigger one of the largest investments in forest landscape restoration the world has ever seen. This investment is vital for empowering local communities to scale up the inspiring restoration successes we've seen in Africa over the last decade."

AFR100 builds on a strong tradition of successful forest landscape restoration in Africa. In Uganda Youth Go Green' campaign plant targets planning 10 million trees with in five years according to Edwin Muhumuza, the campaign coordinator. In Ethiopia's Tigray region, local communities have already restored over 1 million hectares, making the land more drought-resistant. In Niger, farmers have increased the number of on-farm trees across five million hectares of agricultural landscapes, improving food security for 2.5 million people.