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NGO’s launch NARIS to monitor and mediate deforestation in Uganda

Written by on December 1, 2021

In regard to the growing demand for forest products which puts a great strain on Uganda’s forests in turn, NGO’s have stepped up to curtail the possible calamities ahead.

This development will be realised through the Uganda Natural Resource Information System (NARIS) launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Forest Authority (NFA).

The system is designed to monitor and mediate deforestation throughout Uganda and protect the country’s forests and biodiversity.

It also has the capacity to monitor human and wildlife migration patterns, urban development and other variables beyond deforestation in the future.

“NARIS is very timely as it will not only help our field team to get real-time data on the state of forests, but it can also be used to monitor other parameters like people movements and their activities,” said Tom Okello, the NFA Executive Director.

Okello called upon the NFA staff to embrace this innovative and modern forestry management tool for efficient delivery of duties in these modern times.

Forests are home to over 80% of all terrestrial wild fauna and flora in Uganda, while supplying 90% of Uganda’s energy needs, generating 61% of the country’s tourism income and providing jobs for around 1 Million people.

According to the Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda’s forest cover has reduced from 24% in 1990 to 12.4% in 2017.

Uganda risks losing its forests by 2033 if deforestation continues at the present rate.

The UNDP Resident Representative, Elsie Attafuah stressed the fact that Uganda’s environmental, economic and social wellbeing are tightly bound to the benefits that healthy forests provide.

“Deforestation has the potential to threaten this fine balance through exacerbating climate change and reducing biodiversity. If deforestation is not addressed, the impacts have potential to stall or even reverse Uganda’s development trajectory,” Attafuah noted.

She further added that NARIS has great potential to forecast trends in forest cover, trigger real-time response, generate strategic and coordinated support to protect Uganda’s forests for years to come.

More about NARIS

NARIS is a collaborative, real-time, data mapping system that is now being implemented to monitor changes in forest cover, track the impact of initiatives relating to deforestation and provide a data source for future initiatives.

It is accessible to government bodies, the private sector and other key stakeholders in the forestry and environmental sectors serving to forecast future trends in forest cover, generate support for prevention and mitigation of deforestation and provide credible data to influence decision making on resource mobilisation and allocation relating to deforestation in Uganda.

It can be used both online and offline, with data syncing once the user has returned online. It has been developed in recognition of a gap in recent data to track rates of deforestation and conclude that enabling access to real-time data would aid in generation of a more coordinated approach to natural resource management in Uganda.

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