PRESS RELEASE – 31 DECEMBER 2020. The Association for the Conservation of Bugoma Forest (ACBF) wish to say good bye to the year 2020 by issuing the special award “Best Enemy of the Planet” for the year 2020.
This year 2020 has been very dramatic in terms of damages to the environment worldwide, whereby the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic not only did not contribute to a better awareness and change of behavior in the human society especially the economic sectors, but on the contrary it contributed to trigger a faster degradation and strengthening of the criminal economy, in the world and in Uganda.
In Uganda in August 2020 the protected tropical forest reserve of Bugoma Forest started to be cleared, open air, by Hoima Sugar company under the guarding of heavy military personnel. In fact, this destruction cannot be explained as an attempt to bring “economic development”, like the paid propaganda said, because timber logging and sugar cane growing not only are of immensely lesser economic value than a pristine tropical forest, but also because they benefit only few individuals whose business is dubious and suspicious.
The number 15 of Sustainable Development Goals is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Therefore, the year 2020 in Uganda will be remembered as the year in which Hoima Sugar Limited destroyed Bugoma Forest. For this reason, the Association decided to award the price “Best Enemy of the Planet” 2020 to Hoima Sugar Limited under this motivation: “for the great contribution to environmental devastation, with loss of prime tropical forest, attack to endangered species like the chimpanzees, violation of people’s right to health and disregard to Sustainable Development Goals”.
As we give out this award, we also would like to inform that the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development on 29th December 2020 published a Notice of a public hearing for 400 land titles owners in gazetted forest reserve to take place on 18th February 2021 with a notice to effect cancellation of the titles. Among them on number 116 is the plot 216 Block 2 of Kyangwali, the land title of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom leased to Hoima Sugar.
It is our prayer that 2021 will bring clarity to all the mismanagement and illegalities that brought to the current destruction of Bugoma Forest and that restoration of the damages be effected.
The Board of ACBF