Uganda gets ready to receive the World Mountain Forum 2016

On 29th August 2016, during the press briefing held at Uganda Media Centre, the Uganda State Minister for Environment, Hon. Mary Kitutu expressed her optimism towards the expected outcomes of the forthcoming third World Mountain Forum (WMF 2016). She said that the government of Uganda is optimistic that WMF 2016 outcomes will inform the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and guide related interventions in mountain areas at local, national and international levels. She added that the WMF 2016 is expected to offer an opportunity for mountain countries to discuss how to effectively implement decisions from the climate change negotiations and the post-2015 agenda. The third World Mountain Forum will take place on the 17-20 October 2016 in Mbale in Eastern Uganda at Mbale Resort Hotel. WMF 2016 will bring together over 300 stakeholders around the world and different High-level dignitaries are expected; for instance, H.E. Thomas Gass the Assistant Secretary General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), and His Holiness Kyabgon Chetsang from India. She said that the President of the Republic of Uganda is also expected to officiate at the opening of the Forum. She finally called upon media, all Ugandan citizens, East African countries, all African countries, and the whole world to promote conservation and sustainable use of mountain ecosystems and highland wetlands for a better future for the mountain communities and humanity at large. The Director of Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of Water and Environment and the Executive Director of ARCOS, Mr. Paul Mafabi and Dr. Sam Kanyamibwa respectively; called upon all organisations, companies and mountain community groups and associations to participate in the form through exhibitions. WMF 2016 is being jointly organised by the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Water and Environment and the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) with financial and technical contribution from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and a number of partners. The WMF 2016 is an outstanding platform for sharing lessons and experiences on past Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) activities, and for discussing challenges and future opportunities for Sustainable Mountain Development. Mountains host about 25% of terrestrial biodiversity and attract about 15-20% of global tourism hence hosting rare bird species and endemic mammals. They also provide goods and services as well as providing fertile soils that contribute hugely to food security. Despite all the above, mountains harbour the world’s poorest and hungriest people with no basic development infrastructure and lack of basic social services. It is upon this background therefore that the government of Uganda seeks to conserve these lands and guarantee livelihoods of the communities. It is obvious that sustainable management of mountain ecosystems is key to achieving different sustainable development goals and also key for the future of humanity.

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