Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO) is an indigenous, Non-Governmental Organization registered in Uganda as S.5914/5509 and working towards realization of sustained livelihoods for marginalized, under-served and vulnerable groups in Uganda. Since its inception in 2005, ECO has implemented a varied portfolio of projects in the greater Karamoja region, the Abertine rift and the L. Victoria basin. The current initiatives are focusing on natural resource governance, climate change resilience and adaptation, and ecosystems management and restoration.
ECOSYSTEMS MANAGEMENT & RESTORATION
Ecosystems in Uganda are increasingly being threatened by various human activities, even those that are protected by government acts. Wetland and forest losses are higher in the lake basin area than national averages that are high in any case – 75% of wetlands are considered significantly damaged already, while loss of forest cover is running at 1.7% annually. 200 species of fish are already extinct and others, critically endangered, survive only along lake margins and in peripheral lakes. The progressive, systematic and induced unsustainable management of fragile ecosystems has caused declining resource productivity and resilience, resource scarcities, inequitable access that breeds conflicts, population displacements and worsen human vulnerability. As such, ecosystem management and restoration is key for enhancing land productivity, reducing poverty and enhancing the quality of life or resource-dependent farmers, pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and fisher-folk.
RESILIENCE & CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION
Significant changes in weather patterns have increased variability and unpredictability of rainfall presenting a major threat to resource-dependent livelihoods in Uganda – farmers, pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and fisher folks. Frequent prolonged droughts and rainfall which is less regular has turned perennial rivers into seasonal rivers, and some water sources dry out during dry seasons, which was not the case more than 15 years ago. Ecosystems that are at most risk are Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), wetlands and forest resources, and water resources. The progressive, systematic and induced unsustainable management of these ecosystems has caused declining resource productivity and resilience, resource scarcities, inequitable access that breeds conflicts, population displacements and worsen human vulnerability. As such, ecosystem management and restoration is key for enhancing land productivity, reducing poverty and enhancing resilience of resource-dependent populations
NATURAL RESOURCES GOVERNANCE
Threats to natural resources sector continue to exist affecting their productivity and sustainability. Many areas that have been gazetted as protected areas continue to be encroached for human activity, either due to poor enforcement of bye laws, or due to poor community attitude towards conservation. Whereas the various acts and national policies spell out the need for community involvement in management of Uganda’s natural resources, i.e. wetlands, wildlife, forestry and others, there is limited progress in practice. The practice is constrained by lack of capacity by the lead agencies (NFA, UWA and WMD) to implement collaborative management initiatives and in wetlands, the challenge is further compounded by understaffing in the local governments with recruitment priorities put on other sectors rather than the ENR.