Assessing IUCN’s Contribution To Uganda's Forest Landscape Restoration Processes
Uganda's forest landscapes are precious in so many ways, but the country continues to lose its important forest assets at an unprecedented rate. In recent years, forest landscape restoration has been in place to help reverse that trend. So how is it going?
In 2014, Uganda pledged to restore 2.5 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 as part of the Bonn Challenge. In contributing toward this commitment, IUCN supported the government of Uganda to assess the potential for restoration across the country, including identification of the most appropriate restoration options using the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM). IUCN also provided direct project budget support to innovative grassroots FLR financing mechanisms including the Community Conservation Environment Fund (CECF) and the ECOTRUST Trees for Global Benefit (TGB) programme, as well as the development of innovative tools such as the Africa Tree Finder Application (in partnership with ICRAF) and an interactive radio series for promotion of FLR. However, the impacts of these and related efforts were unknown.
Overall, the study found that beyond the government of Uganda, whose overall contribution to FLR was estimated to be 54%, IUCN made the largest non-government contribution to FLR processes in Uganda with an overall contribution of 13%. Equally important were the efforts of NORAD and UNDP which contributed 12% and 6%, respectively. IUCN’s main contribution types to this 7-year process were funding (49%) and convening (32%), as well as technical support (11%) and advocacy (8%). These contribution types are unique among the key actors, and were consistent with the perspectives of many stakeholders about what they considered to be the most important added value of IUCN to forest conservation in Uganda. The study also showed that political leadership is considered the single most significant contribution type – where the the government of Uganda has demonstrated undisputed leadership. This will remain a critical factor for the future of FLR in the country.
The study concluded that FLR in Uganda remains a challenge. Even though there is evidence that current FLR strategies have contributed to slowing the rate of forest loss in some areas – overall, they are not matching the complexity and scale of the challenges which drive the high rates of net forest loss and degradation. The study therefore recommends that accelerated efforts by IUCN and partners are still required to scale up successful FLR practices in Uganda.