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Rest of East Africa Leaves Uganda Behind on Environment

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Ten African countries – including the East African bloc of Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda – signed an agreement to take the environment into account when developing national economies and corporate practices. Uganda is conspicuously absent from this agreement, dubbed the Gaborone Declaration.

An article on Mongabay talks about the intentions of the pact:

The Gaborone Declaration declares that “the historical pattern of natural resources exploitation has failed to promote sustained growth, environmental integrity and improved social capital.” Noting that the Africa’s people and economy are imperiled by ecosystem destruction , the leaders pledge to protect ecosystems and biodiversity from “overuse and degradation.”

To do so, they commit to adding natural capital into “national accounting and corporate planning.” In addition, the ten countries pledged to transition major sectors (agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and mining) towards sustainable practices and to restore degraded ecosystems.

Perhaps President Museveni of Uganda is afraid it will put too many (ie. any) restrictions on extracting the oil he is still hoping will begin flowing into a refinery in the next few years.

Uganda actually has some of the strongest environmental laws of any country in Africa. Unfortunately, their enforcement is weak. With Rio+20 upon us, you would think Museveni would sign the agreement just to be able to hold his head high and then ignore the commitment later.

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