St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Entebbe: The Ministry of Water and Environment in partnership with private sector stakeholders including; Ugand
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Entebbe: The Ministry of Water and Environment in partnership with private sector stakeholders including; Uganda Breweries Limited, Stanbic Bank Uganda, Total Energies EP Uganda, Development and civil society partners among others; have once again held a national tree planting day as part of the ROOTS – Running Out of Trees campaign during which one (1) million trees were planted at St Francis Xavier, Bweya Kajjansi which is along the shores of Lake Victoria, a major water catchment area in Uganda.
The tree planting exercise that was presided over by the Minister of Water and Environment Hon. Sam Cheptoris who represented His Excellency the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni attracted other high-level dignitaries like the European Union (EU) Ambassador H.E Jan Sadek and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Environment Mr. Alfred Okot Okidi.
Speaking at the tree planting activity, the Chief planter, Hon. Sam Cheptoris Minister of Water and Environment highlighted this year’s theme ‘Conserving Uganda’s tree species diversity through the establishment of tree seed banks’ which serves to remind us of our bio-diversity and unique heritage that provides us with food, medicine, building materials, fiber and economic support for our well-being, to withstand climate change.
“Ministry of Water and Environment pledges to sustain the mobilization of private, public, civil society and development partners under the ROOTS umbrella, as a means of collectively tackling the current climate change issues. Geo-tracking of trees is also critical to the ROOTS initiative.”
The ROOTs campaign, which seeks to plant trees in 5 years, is geared towards soliciting commitments from the private sector to support the Government’s initiative to restore forest cover in Uganda. By the end of 2025 over 40 million trees will have been planted and thus seizing an estimated 15 million tons of carbon.
Suleiman Ngondi, Uganda Breweries Sustainability, and Communications Manager, reiterated the Breweries’ responsibility as a people to plant trees and the magic that crucial partnerships like this have made to achieve this purpose. “Planting trees is one of the most important and impactful actions we can take to sustain our planet. We also understand how crucial partnerships are in increasing the scale and impact of programs and are grateful for all private sector players that heeded our call to join government on this program.” He said.
The European Union (EU) Ambassador H.E Jan Sadek also noted that it is important for all Ugandans to participate in the National Tree Planting Day because it is the right time to do so. “Forestry cover is critical to the health of this planet and it is up to us to take purposeful steps not in words only but in action,” Sadek added.
Juliana Kagwa, Uganda Breweries Corporate Relations Director urged more corporate bodies to come on board and join the ROOTs initiative. “Planting trees is one of the most important and impactful actions we can take to sustain our planet. We also understand how crucial partnerships are in increasing the scale and impact of programs. We are grateful for all private sector players who heeded our call to join the government on this program”.
Ngondi added saying if Ugandans are to see a change in climate change, we need to take action by taking tree planting as an individual responsibility in order to see drastic changes. “We are a business that appreciates that our success is inextricably likened to the health of the planet and society. This is well detailed in our Society 2030: Spirit of Progress sustainability action plan that guides us in contributing to a more sustainable and inclusive Uganda”.
Under the ROOTs campaign, 1.92 million indigenous trees were planted in 2022. These tree seedlings were all geotagged and are currently being monitored for growth by Tree Adoption Uganda.