Uganda is the most recent country to develop a National Bamboo Strategy and Action Plan.
2 June 2019 – Uganda, like many nations, is faced with a high demand for wood for construction and biomass fuel. Yet, meeting this demand is becoming increasingly challenging as the current rate of deforestation exceeds that of afforestation. In 1990, Uganda’s forests covered 24% of its land area, but by 2015 this figure had fallen to 9-12%, an average loss of 122,000ha per annum. Although most of the loss has been on private lands, forest reserves have not been spared.
The Ugandan government is committed to restoring and afforesting the degraded areas to fulfil national commitments under its Second National Development Plan – to restore up to 18% of land to forest by 2020, and up to 24% by 2040. Uganda has also committed to restore 2.5 million ha of forest by 2035 under the Bonn challenge. Bamboo has the potential to help the Government of Uganda meet these ambitious targets and they have decided to make it a key player.
Uganda is the latest country to develop a national bamboo strategy following the lead of other countries such as China and, most recently, Ecuador. INBAR, through its Dutch-Sino East Africa Bamboo Development Programme, is supporting the Ugandan Government’s Ministry of Water and Environment in developing a bamboo development strategy. The Ugandan National Bamboo Development Strategy and Action Plan, developed with support from INBAR’s Dutch-Sino-East Africa Bamboo Development Programme and in consultation with actors from across Uganda, aims to transform the entire Ugandan bamboo sector. A final draft of The Plan was presented during a one-day workshop to participants from various ministries, institutes, NGOs, universities and research centres including: The Ministry of Water and Environment, the National Forestry Authority, the Uganda Wildlife Authority; District Local Governments, and the Uganda Bamboo Association.
The stakeholders present at the workshop approved the action plan and provided additional input to be incorporated in the final version. The strategy, which will be soon endorsed by the Ugandan Government, is aimed at the development of the bamboo sector at all levels from resource management to product development. To implement the plan, the Government has allocated USD 76 million for the 10-year period between 2019 and 2029.
Mr. Collins Oloya, director of the Directorate of Environment Affairs on behalf of the Ministry of Water and Environment thanked INBAR, and its partners the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese National Forestry and Grassland Administration for their financial and technical support in developing the strategy. He also stated that the bamboo strategy is in line with other national policies and planning frameworks, as well as several international obligations to which Uganda is a signatory. Among others, these include: The Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), the Uganda Vision 2040, the Uganda Forestry Policy 2001, the National Forest Plan 2012, the National Land Use and the National Energy Policy 2002.
Those familiar with INBAR’s work know it aims to directly contribute to seven of the SDGs including Goal 17 to “strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.” The Dutch-Sino-East Africa Programme embodies this kind of partnership perfectly as it applies lessons learned elsewhere in the world to transform the bamboo markets of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. The Ugandan National Bamboo Strategy and Action Plan is another success of this trilateral cooperation whose objective is to contribute to green economic growth and international trade and investment between the three regions. At the same time the programme aims to restore degraded lands and contribute to climate change mitigation. As it meets these goals, the Ugandan Strategy is another success following others such as the national bamboo resource assessments, capacity building and technology transfers, building partnerships, and raising awareness of bamboo’s market potential.
The Action Plan marks the beginning of a new era for bamboo in Uganda, and another milestone on the road to sustainable development. INBAR looks forward to continuing its collaboration with Uganda and working together to address many of the important issues that face our world today.
The report is part of an INBAR series helping to share knowledge between our network of Member States. The ‘China Bamboo Industry Plans at National and Provincial Levels’ can be read here. The ‘Ecuador’s 2018-2022 National Bamboo Strategy’ can be read here.
For more information about the INBAR led project ‘Dutch-Sino-East African Bamboo Development Programme’, please read here.