Press release by Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

In a series of new studies just published, researchers from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) together with partners from Makerere University and the Association of Uganda Professional Women in Agriculture and the Environment (AUPWAE) analyze the progress and challenges of forest tenure reform and tenure security in Uganda.

Uganda’s constitution from 1990 ignited reforms in forest and land tenure systems, but several remaining stumbling blocks have slowed down the progress. Namely, lack of awareness of laws down to the community level and the need for streamlined processes and coordination.

CIFOR scientists examined how reform emerged and documented communities’ experiences through hundreds of interviews. The studies identify tenure reform impacts on the rights of women, poor men and ethnic minorities, as well as on their access to forests and trees. In addition, the publications suggest actions to improve tenure security of local communities.

Until now, few studies have focused on this topic. A colloquium held in Kampala to launch the research aimed to garner additional input and stimulate discussion and action on this issue.

“What is important to me in today’s meeting is getting your feedback on and your validation of these findings; how this can be of use to you in your work, and what is missing or emerging that this research and action did not capture,” said CIFOR scientist Esther Mwangi at the event. “It takes a village to raise a child and hope you can do the same with this research.”

At the Kampala colloquium, an expert panel discussed the result of the studies and the situation in Uganda with a lively group of policy makers, government representatives, researchers, NGO practitioners and journalists.

During the opening of the event, Lucy Iyango, a representative of the Minister of State for the Environment, said, “My hope for this colloquium is that you develop three key actions or interventions so we can take this research up at the strategic policy level – so it does not remain in this room.”

Through the rest of the day, event participants did just that, debating and deciding on the best action points to bring to the Ministry of Water and Environment.

Research methodology

The research focused on four districts in Uganda, with different kinds of forest management and tenure systems: Kakumiro, Kibaale, Lamwo and Masindi.

The study used a variety of research methods, particularly the unique Participatory Prospective Analysis (PPA) approach, which allows participants to assess a problem, identify its drivers, anticipate and build scenarios to highlight how the problem might evolve, and to develop action plans. These PPA workshops brought together as equals stakeholders from local and national government, NGOs, local communities and academia.

Photo: CIFOR  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)