Environmentalists have called upon the government to  incorporate the Rights of Nature in the new proposed National Environment Bill/ Act reasoning  that it  is when the country’s nature/ environment will be protected from encroachments.
Africa Industry

Environmentalists want ‘Rights of Nature’ added to new bill

Environmentalists have called upon the government to  incorporate the Rights of Nature in the new proposed National Environment Bill/ Act reasoning  that it  is when the country’s nature/ environment will be protected from encroachments.

Rights of Nature are the holistic recognition that all life, all ecosystems on our planet are deeply intertwined.

Rather than treating nature as property under the law, Rights of nature acknowledges that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.

The justification  for  Rights  of Nature  in the National  Environment  Act is based on the current development which has seen Uganda’s nature being destroyed at a high rate.

This has  caused many  social and economic  challenges to Uganda  as  a country .

The Environmentalists reason  that although Uganda has many Environment Acts / regulations, they have just fueled environmental destruction instead of protecting  it.

The Coordinator  Advocates  for  Natural  Resources and Development (ANARDE),  Frank  Tumusiime made the call during a meeting with  Members of Parliament from the Natural resources Committee.

“Because the laws  focus on licensing people to utilize nature but does not allow nature to degenerate, the current  legal framework has failed  to regulate  the environment,” said Tumusiime.

ANARDE is Non-Profit Organization that advocates for good environmental governance, corporate and government accountability among others.

Tumusiime said that giving  nature  legal rights  means  the Law  can see nature  as a legal person  thus   creating  rights  that can  then  be enforced.

He noted that some countries have enacted Rights of Nature and has helped them to protect the environment from destruction.

Uganda is not the only country advocating for the Rights of Nature, Countries like Argentina, Belize and Mexico have adopted the Rights of Nature in their national laws.

According to research,  Uganda’s forest cover shrunk from 4.9 million hectares (24% total land area) in1990 to 1.8 million hectares (9% of total land area) in2015 and by 2055 Uganda will have no forest cover if the ongoing degradation goes undeterred.

The Vice Chairperson of the Natural Resources Committee Lawrence Songa, said the country need to strengthen the Environment related Acts that are already in place.

“We should stop treating nature as property. As  Members  of Parliament on the committee,  we shall look into the demands and see if we can incorporate them  in the Environmental Bill,” said Songa.

BY SAMUEL NABWIISO