U.S. Government Announces $21.5 Million Investment in Uganda’s Biodiversity
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is continuing its long-standing commitment to protecting and promoting biodiversity in Uganda through three new biodiversity awards totaling $21.5 million (UGX 80 billion). These multi-year activities will reduce wildlife trafficking, help communities manage their natural resources, and promote real-world alternatives to poaching and encroachment into natural areas. They will also provide support for authorities in protected areas and engage the private sector to develop sustainable solutions for affected communities. The activities will reduce wildlife crime by improving the capabilities and coordination of local and national authorities, and will further develop the Uganda Biodiversity Fund—an organization that USAID helped found and is now working with as a partner—into an institution that can generate and manage financing for biodiversity conservation nation-wide. Additionally, these activities will have the benefit of reducing human-wildlife interaction that can lead to the emergence of pandemic zoonotic diseases.
The three new USAID activities are (1) Biodiversity for Resilience, implemented by Research Triangle International in partnership with WWF Uganda, Conservation Through Public Health, and Viamo; (2) Combating Wildlife Crime, implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society in partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation, Natural Resources Conservation Network, and the Royal United Services Institute; and (3) Uganda Biodiversity Fund, implemented by the Uganda Biodiversity Fund in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society and local conservation organizations.
Uganda’s incredible biodiversity is both a global treasure and a key to the country’s economic growth and long-term stability. Nature-based tourism accounts for seven percent of GDP and in 2018 alone created more than 650,000 jobs. At the same time, protected areas are under unprecedented pressure from human populations, which increasingly exposes communities to wildlife. This increases human-wildlife conflict and exposure to zoonotic diseases that can have deadly consequences for both the people and wildlife that underpin Uganda’s tourism industry. Wildlife crime is a dangerous problem that destabilizes communities and tarnishes Uganda’s reputation and security.
The tourism industry has suffered tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through these new awards, USAID and its partners will help affected communities find ways to use their natural resources to secure their economic well-being.
These new activities build on the achievements from over 20 years of USAID’s support in Uganda and signal the commitment of the American people to work hand in hand with Ugandans to build a stronger and more secure country for all of its inhabitants