Friday, March 13, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: LAUNCH OF RUN FOR NATURE 2020




13 March 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE: LAUNCH OF RUN FOR NATURE 2020 – “SUGAR FREE FORESTS”


Today, the Association for the Conservation of Bugoma Forest (ABCF), together with partners and sponsors, launches the fourth edition of Run for Nature, under the theme "Sugar free forests and the beekeeping project". Run for Nature is an annual event organized on the occasion of the International Day of Forests; this year the Run will take place on 29th March 2020, from Rivonia Hotel in Robert Mugabe Road, Mbuya, Kampala.
From Left: Mayor of Nakawa Balimwezo Ronald Nsubuga, Officer European Union Campodonico Beatrice, Ambassador of Italy Mazzanti Massimiliano, Marketing Head UTB Natukunda Sandra, Chair ACBF Tessarin Costantino
The theme intends to raise interest and investments for livelihoods alternative to sugar cane, in the case of Bugoma Forest and elsewhere. The proceedings of the Run in fact will support the implementation of the beekeeping for the farmers in Kikuube District. The idea is to provide training and equipment to 10 leading farmers and establishing a honey processing plant, which will attract more revenue locally as well as market for the honey. The Association for the Conservation of Bugoma Forest will directly implement this project and run the honey processing plant in partnership with the farmers’ association. The overall cost of the project is 33,300,000 Ugandan Shillings.

Like in the previous editions, the Run brings together conservation, environment and tourism sector, with recognition by institutions like the Ministry of Water and Environment and the Embassy of Italy in Uganda. This year, the European Union has joined the partnership through the co-sponsorship of the Run.
The main partners of the Run are the National Forestry Authority and the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB). The tourism sector is represented also by the umbrella Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) and their different associations: Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO), Uganda Association of Travel Agents (TUGATA), Uganda Hotels Owners Association (UHOA).
The partners from the conservation sector are key organizations having a history of presence and commitment for the conservation of Bugoma Forest, such as the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust and Eco Trust. Other key partners of the Run for Nature are Slow Food Uganda and the Scouts of Uganda,

INFORMATION ABOUT THE RUN:
Run for Nature will take place on 29th March 2020 at 7 am from Rivonia Hotel in Robert Mugabe Road, Mbuya. The run is open for the registration of 5 km and 10 km for the categories of individuals, corporates and students. The Registration Points are open at National Forestry Authority, at the Association of Uganda Tour Operators, at Café Pap in Parliament Avenue and at our Association premises. The fees are 30.000 Ugx for individuals, 250.000 Ugx for Corporate with up to 4 participants and 550,000 Ugx for Corporate up to 10 participants.

The chief runner for this edition will be His Worship Balimwezo Ronald Nsubuga, Mayor of Nakawa Division Urban Council, Kampala Capital City Authority.


SPONSORS RUN FOR NATURE 2020
There will not be the Run for Nature 2020 without the support of sponsors and partners, starting from the European Union. We thank all the sponsors: Gorilla Tours, Nature Lodges, Sobetra, Rivonia Hotel, Data Net, Destination Jungle, Daniel Choudry Sales Institute, Pakuba Lodge, Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge, Liaison Group of insurance, Standard Signs Contractors, Stirling Constructions, Jibu water, Tarpo Industries

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

ABOUT ACBF AND BUGOMA FOREST
The Association for the Conservation of Bugoma Forest is a CBO association registered in Kikuube District (former Hoima District), in 2016 with the only objective to work on projects for the conservation of Bugoma Forest. Bugoma Central Forest Reserve (CFR) is a 411km2 government forest located in Kikuube District in the Western part of Uganda on the Escarpment edge near Lake Albert. According to the biodiversity report, Bugoma is an exceptionally rich forest in terms of vertebrate fauna. Two notable bird species are Nahan’s francolin and the black eared ground thrush which are known from only another forest in Uganda, Kibale forest. Sizeable populations of about 500 chimpanzees, the endemic grey cheecked mangabey (Ugandan Mangabey) and small numbers of elephants have been recorded in Bugoma Forest. Despite its importance in biodiversity, this forest has an history of degradation, deforestation and general threat to its existence.

In 2019, the Association started to invest in eco-tourism activities in the central reserve as a way forward for conservation and for improving peoples’ perception about the forest. The project of Chimp T-Rap that from 2016 serves as a support patrolling team for National Forestry Authority, is now serving also as a guiding team for tourists. In 2019 the Association entered into partnership with the Association KASFA (Kikuube District Farmers Association). In an area of poor and small scale subsistence agriculture, agro-forestry interventions will help maintaining a food security where many farmers are encouraged to embrace sugar cane plantation, which is negatively affecting the food security, the environment of the buffer zones and the health of people in general, moreover impoverishing the household incomes.

SINCE THE PREVIOUS RUN OF 2019
Since the previous edition of Run for Nature on 30th March 2019, our Association launched the “Save Bugoma Forest campaign” in May 2019 after the High Court of Masindi in the Civil Suit number 0031 of 2016 ruled against National Forestry Authority and in favor of the Omukama of Bunyoro Kitara and Hoima Sugar. The ruling was that part of Bugoma Forest for about 5.779 hectares (Buhanguzi Block 2 Plot number 216 land at Kyangwali) is not belonging to National Forestry Authority as a Central Forest Reserve, but to Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom as restituted property pursuant Traditional Rulers (Restitution and Property) Act Cap 247 and that the land title issued on the said land on 1st August 2016 is lawful as well as the subsequent lease title issued on 5th August 2016 to Hoima Sugar LTD for sugar cane development.  

Meantime a businessman called Mr. Zaid Mustapha on 20th September 2018 was issued a land title over an area for approximately 925 hectares of natural forest (2 km per 6 km) in the name of MZ Agencies in Nyaigugu LC1, Kabwoya Sub County. In both cases a grader was sent by Hoima Sugar LTD for starting the clearance of the natural forest, but they were impounded by the Police.

Currently, the attempt of developing sugar cane plantations at the expense of Bugoma nature forest is still a threat against conservation efforts and other developments in eco-tourism. We appreciate that the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom governing body and the Government of Uganda with a cabinet directive are looking at political solution to guarantee the preservation of Bugoma Forest and that a new boundary opening exercise is being ordered to facilitate handling of cases of disputed land.

The Association for the Conservation of Bugoma Forest has a clear message to all the stakeholders: 1) Bugoma Forest must be protected as it is, no matter where the exact boundaries of the Central Forest Reserve are or who is the owner of the land; today in 2020 we should talk about afforestation and not about deforestation, if we wish to control our health and the climate change; 2) Bugoma Forest and local communities need development, which can come from tourism and conservation related investments, which would be compromised by all the threats; 3) The Local communities need to be part of the process of development and not victims of the so called “businessmen”.








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