Collaborative forest management: a potential policy and legal option for successful Forestry Resources Management in Uganda
Byaruhanga, Jesse Rugyema
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Uganda is endowed with forestry resources that provide a number of environmental, social and economic benefits. However, the forests are increasingly shrinking owing to increasing population, industrialization and energy demands. Shrinking forest cover has a number of implications for Uganda’s future from both the environmental and socioeconomic points of view. Shrinking forest cover is not a problem limited to Uganda. It is a widespread problem even in other countries and as such has attracted international attention. The international community has responded to this challenge by developing conventions and principles geared towards the conservation of forestry resources and Uganda is a party to some of these instruments. The Conventions oblige Uganda to develop national policies and laws to implement the purpose of the conventions. In compliance with this obligation, Uganda has developed fairly comprehensive policy, legal and institutional frameworks for management of forestry resources. The international conventions and the national legal and policy frameworks recognize the role of local communities and encourage their participation in the management of forestry resources. This participation has taken the form of Collaborative Forest Management (CFM). This approach has revealed the potential to yield positive benefits in forest management in areas where it is implemented. However, there are both legal and nonlegal challenges in the implementation of the approach. This study assesses the application of CFM in Uganda, its strengths and limitations. The study critically examines the international and national legal frameworks for CFM pointing out their strengths and weaknesses. On the basis of the limitations identified, the study makes recommendations for the improved application of the CFM in Uganda. It recommends for legislative amendments, capacity building, raising public awareness, information dissemination and greater NGOs/CBOs participation. The study has established that CFM has a potential to promote sustainable forest management. Uganda has a fairly adequate policy and legal framework for the implementation of CFM. However, there is limited capacity especially at the local levels to implement the approach.