Title: Drivers of wetland degradation in Western Uganda and Iceland, and how they are addressed in current policies and legal frameworks

Author(s): Zalfa Businge
Final project
Year of publication:
Document URL: Link
Supervisors: Isabel C Barrio , Victor Madrigal


Wetland degradation is a severe environmental problem in the world. In recent years, many studies have looked at the drivers of wetland degradation without considering how policies and legal framework address these issues. The goal of this study was to provide an assessment on the role of policies and legal frameworks in the management of wetland resources in western Uganda and Iceland. The study involved identifying the drivers of wetland degradation, exploring policies, and how they are prioritised in wetland restoration and management. A literature survey using scientific online databases was used to generate information for the study. This was supplemented with interviews with six wetland experts from Uganda and Iceland. The main drivers of wetland degradation identified were agricultural activities, overharvesting of wetland resources and infrastructure development. The drivers were related to socio-political dynamics and climatic changes. Wetland degradation results in biodiversity losses, increased greenhouse gas releases and spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Wetland management policies and legal frameworks in Uganda included the Constitution, a specific wetlands policy, and land and environmental laws and regulations; in Iceland, wetland management is regulated by the Nature Conservation law, the law on Environmental Impact Assessment, and the Act on Climate Change. The available literature indicated that both countries are taking wetland restoration issues seriously. The priorities for restoration included biodiversity conservation, the need to reverse the effects of climate change and to curtail natural disasters. The study revealed that collaborative wetland resource management backed with public sensitisation and awareness are essential for policy and legal framework implementation. Both countries need to increase information on wetlands, update wetland inventories, and effectively monitor wetland degradation and restoration activities.

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