WHY THE MT ELGON ECOSYSTEM CONSERVATION FORUM

Despite the value of Mt Elgon and the various positive changes achieved by the various partners working in small areas within the landscape, it has been noted that the interventions are scattered and uncoordinated, hence affecting the impact of the interventions. The ecosystem also has a number of thematic working groups which spearhead discussions and learning lessons on key themes within the landscape. However, the thematic working groups are limited to specific stakeholders and issues. This forum intends to engage more stakeholders and cover wider issues that reflect the interlinkages within the ecosystem.

In line with this, the Mt Elgon conservation forum is being proposed to provide a platform for coordinating all the efforts within the ecosystem. The forum will provide an opportunity for considering Mt Elgon at a landscape level where various stakeholders get a common understanding of the issues within their landscape, how they affect or are affected by the various interventions and hence the various interlinkages within the landscapes which then guides strategic interventions. The platform will provide an opportunity for partners to understand the issues, the interlinkages imbedded in partners’ programmes on issues such as markets, governance, restoration, ecological perspective. The forum will also empower  stakeholders to underscore the economic and ecological perspectives in and across the landscape, and provide a platform for diverse stakeholders to work together.  The main goal of the platform is to restore the quality or the productivity of the landscape in Mt Elgon, improve the perceptions and indeed the values and resources of the ecosystems for local communities through shared goals and objectives.

This forum will be very instrumental in providing evidence based scenarios as Uganda developes key national programmes such as the national climate change policy, national REDD+ strategy, integrated water resource management.  It also follows from the Cancun agreement that a forum that brings together views from all stakeholders including women, youths, indigenous peoples, forest dependent communities and other vulnerable groups is necessary to facilitate inclusion of concerns into the climate change policy and REDD national strategy.

Relatedly, the benefits from emerging opportunities including Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) and REDD+ can be enhanced if the partnering agencies and target audiences come together in a framework to; share lessons, improve coordination and avoid duplication of efforts.

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