It’s the final day of the Summit, and so far we’ve heard the G8 leaders’ views on climate change and HIV funding. Richard M Kavuma hopes that in their quest for ‘alternative energy sources’ the G8 does not jeopardise Africa’s remaining forests.
Yesterday's communiqué on climate change talks about the critical issue of deforestation, saying:
“Reducing, and in the long term halting deforestation provides a significant and cost-effective contribution toward mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and toward conserving biological diversity, promoting sustainable forest management and enhancing security of livelihoods.”
This will perhaps irritate Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who has demonstrated a disturbing readiness to give away natural forests to private investors to develop sugar and oil palm plantations.
In another paragraph – this time on diversification of the world’s energy sources – the G8 leaders say they will promote biofuels as an alternative source of energy. But in Uganda there has already been evidence of the potential for conflict between these two aims.
In March and April this year Uganda witnessed the most passionate, non-partisan outpouring of public opinion against Mr Museveni in his 21 years in power when he sought to give away a quarter of the country’s most abundant natural forest to a sugar company.