Summing up 2008 for 2009 The Year 2008 started with fuel and food stresses (high prices) that have escalated to date. This has further been complicated by the global financial meltdown whose repercussions to securing sustainable development in Uganda and East Africa are yet to be fully understood.

International Women’s Day 2008: How far are Ugandan Women and girls being invested in? The theme for 2008 International Women's Day is: ‘Investing in Women and Girls’. The celebration will have an intense focus on financing for gender equality at the country level. In Uganda, women comprise 24% of Parliament and 40% of Local Council leaders which is a considerable framework to promote women’s visibility and voice in decision making, rather than an end in itself.

Rising food prices: Time for Governments to discipline the market The sharp increase in food prices over the past couple of years has raised serious concerns about the food and nutrition situation of poor people in East Africa that is only recovering from the effects of the recent Kenyan crisis. Today, in Uganda for example, one can only get essential commodities (like sugar, soap, cooking oil and paraffin) at prices that have at least doubled within less than six months.

East African Watchdog Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting held in Dar es Salaam The second PSC meeting of the East African Civil Society Watchdog Project for Sustainable development in the Lake Victoria basin took place in Dar es Salaam, April 12 – 13, 2007. It reviewed progress and made major decisions on the implementation of activities in the period April – May / June; June – December 2007.

SusWatch provides input to the EALA debate on the Lake Victoria Commission Bill On September 4, 2007, partners of the East African Civil Society Watchdog Project for Sustainable Development in the Lake Victoria basin (UCSD, TCSD and Kenya SusWatch network), and the East African Communities Organization for management of Lake Vic resources (ECOVIC) submitted comments on the Lake Victoria Commission Bill, 2007 Supplement to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) that has been under consideration during this period (10 – 29 September 2007).

The Ugandan Government is to drop plans that would have allowed a private company to grow sugar cane for biofuel production on a protected forest reserve. The decision was made quietly by Uganda’s Minister of Finance, Ezra Suruma during a trip abroad earlier this month. He said the government was committed to "conserving Mabira forest" and that other land would be found for sugar cane.

Outcome of the Commonwealth meeting in Kampala: reserve gazetted around Lake Victoria In honor of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2007) in Kampala, Uganda government has gazetted 80 square miles out of the 26,800 square miles as a Lucustrine Protected Areas (‘no take reserve’) effective December 2007. This reserve is meant to protect dwindling fish species, encourage research and to promote spot fishing.

Call for UCSD membership update before the AGM on June 28, 2007 UCSD still invites organizations to join it as part the process of updating before AGM and recruiting more members. Invitation will as a priority go to registered and paid up members. Regular membership is open CSOs and NGOs total membership and subscription fees total to Ugshs 45,000). UCSD would like to thank those that have so far paid up.

Not a sweet deal – ancient forests are lost once and for all!

Worried about the ban on polythene bags? Do not despair….! Recently Government of Uganda banned buveera (polythene bags) of not more than 30microns effective July 1, 2007 but with a grace period of up to September 2007 to allow traders clear their existing stocks. Many people may think it is impossible to live without the ‘bag beast’… probably having grown up using them. For inspiration, other parts of the world have since taken the bold step to stop using these bags, and are already sharing dividends.


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