Environment and Ecosystem Health

Uganda is located in the East African Plateau, lying mostly between latitudes 4°N and 2°S and longitudes 29° and 35°E. It lies, on average, at about 1100 metres above sea level and slopes steadily downwards to the north. Uganda lies almost completely within the Nile basin. The Victoria Nile drains from the lake into Lake Kyoga, into Lake Albert and then runs northwards into South Sudan. Uganda’s total surface area is about 241,038 KM² of which 197,610 KM² (or 82%) is land, and 18.2% comprises of water bodies and wetlands (NEMA, 2001).

The environment provides essential material assets and an economic base for human endeavor. These natural assets (water, soils, plants and animals, biomass and biodiversity among others) underpin people’s livelihoods. They produce a range of goods and services that yield income, offer safety nets for the poor, maintain public health, and power economic growth. However, poor management of environmental assets, poor control of environmental hazards such as pollution, and inadequate response to environmental challenges such as climate change, threaten development.

Global change drivers such as population growth, economic activities and consumption patterns, are increasingly placing pressure on the environment.  As a result, there is legitimate concern today about the rise in incidence of environmental problems such as drought, floods, loss of soil fertility, and unsustainable exploitation and incremental destruction of biodiversity. Environment Degradation is undermining development and threatens future development progress. According to NEMA (1995), in spite of Uganda’s high natural resource potential, factors such as population growth, economic reforms, the desire for a steady increase in per capita income and other development processes are putting a severe strain on the ENRs. Environment Degradation has also been linked to human disease health problems including some types of cancers, vector-borne diseases, emerging animal-to-human disease transfer, nutritional deficits and respiratory illnesses.

We are using an integrated approach of population, health and environment to minimize the impact of environmental shocks and stresses

We promote tree planting and climate resilient interventions including prevention of land degradation, conservation of game parks, prevention and management of forest fires and community anti-poaching.

Protection of Rivers in the Albertine Rift

The River Semuliki and its catchment area is shared between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is originating from the Central African Mountains of Nyamulangira in the DRC, flows through Lake Edward, enters the rift valley floor in the DRC on the western side of the Rwenzori Mountains to the north eastern end of the mountains where it becomes the frontier of the international boundary between Uganda and the DRC after which it discharges into Lake Albert.

Ntoroko District covers a total area of approximately 1,360km2 with a total population of 73,200people (State of the Environment, 2002). The District is confined between protected and non-protected areas including Lake Albert in the North East, Rwenzori Mtns NP and Rwenzori Forest Reserve in the North West, Tooro Semuliki Game Reserve in the West and the Semuliki National Park in the east all occupying about 60% of the total area. This has exerted lot of pressure on the forests and wetlands for agriculture and settlement resulting into deforestation, overgrazing, Wetland and river bank degradation, Soil erosion and landslides especially in the mountainous parts of the district, conflicts as a result of encroachment on protected areas,  collapsing river banks, flooding of the Butuku flats during the rainy seasons, Siltation of rivers and lakes, which has aggravated by the poor land use practices like bush burning, cultivation on steep slopes, weak institutional arrangements and climate change.