Uganda is home to an incredible array of animal and plant species, making it one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet. Much of the country’s economy, such as agriculture, fishing, livestock industries, and tourism depend on this biodiversity.
Yet, Uganda’s precious wildlife and natural habitats face multiple threats, including agricultural expansion, climate change, poaching, wildfires, and invasive species. And wildlife tourism, on which most of the country’s funding for conservation depends, has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities and wildlife in Uganda have never been more vulnerable—so balancing environmental conservation with the practical needs of communities is essential to preserve Uganda’s natural resources for future generations.
RTI leads the USAID/Uganda Biodiversity for Resilience (B4R) Activity, a five-year project (2020-2025) providing technical assistance to communities, the government, and the private sector to conserve and manage biodiversity in important ecosystems. Leading a consortium of wildlife and conservation experts, RTI works to create lasting environmental change and economic sustainability, while also increasing the resilience of vulnerable communities and households. Our consortium partners include the African Wildlife Foundation, Conservation Through Public Health, and Viamo. We work closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and National Forestry Authority, and prioritize the engagement of women, youth, and other marginalized groups in our activities.
Our interventions focus on community wildlife ranches and Central Forest Reserves in four key landscapes across the country: Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls, Lake Mburo, and Budongo Forest. Our efforts focus on six target species: cheetahs, chimpanzees, elephants, giraffe, hippos, and lions.
Supporting the management of protected areas
RTI supports the effective management and governance of key community wildlife ranches and forest reserves, recognizing that fully funded and professionally executed conservation management can benefit both biodiversity and communities. We develop and improve biodiversity-friendly integrated land use plans; educate communities, the private sector, and local governments on invasive species and disease outbreaks; and strengthen the coordination frameworks of protected areas.
Private sector engagement
Economic and social investments can incentivize conservation. Our initial assessments found that many potential private sector partners are willing to leverage their business practices for positive biodiversity impact but need guidance and support. We promote market-based solutions—including nature-based tourism and other conservation enterprises—to improve stewardship of the country’s natural resources. All proposed solutions are tailored to the unique context of each landscape. In some areas, for example, sport hunting is a significant revenue source.
Investing in the future of biodiversity
RTI created a Strategic Investment Fund to stimulate investment in nature-based economies in focus sectors. Targeting the private sector, as well as eligible nonprofit
and community-based entities, we released a request for project proposals that demonstrate plans for making a positive and measurable impact on biodiversity conservation in B4R target areas, while also helping develop resilient and diversified local economies. B4R will provide financial and technical support to these projects, which will run for two to three years.
With an integrated approach to the sustainable management of biodiversity, paired with effective economic incentives for conservation enterprises, Uganda’s unique natural resources can be preserved for the country’s current economic development and for future generations.