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Illinois Wesleyan University

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies


This research examines the complex and inter related relationship between conservation and development of wetlands in Kampala. Development and conservation are two concepts that are often at odds with one another. However, in a natural resource rich country such as Uganda development is benefited by carefully considering the role of conservation. As a student of Sociology at Illinois Wesleyan University, the researcher is especially interested in the use and miss use of wetlands as well as the decision making process in building on wetlands.

This paper examines specifically Uganda's wetland policy and how it is currently being implemented, specifically in Kampala. Another objective of this paper is to learn about how Kampala has been affected by wetland policies, both environmentally, as well as financially. Finally, this paper seeks to find out what conservation plans are underway to save the remaining wetlands of Kampala.

During the practicum period of March 28th to May 6th research was conducted on development, conservation and policies regarding wetlands in Kampala. This case study makes use of qualitative research methods to examine the environmental and economic effects the wetland policy has had on Kampala City. This research was conducted through in-depth policy analysis and literature reviews as well as site visits to wetlands in Kampala and interviews with those working on policy and the ground.

The research found that although the protection of Kampala's wetlands is an important priority for many, lack of resources, accountability, and conflicting interests often leads to the miss use of the wetlands. The policy calls for a stop of draining of wetlands and cultivation but these activities have continued simply because there is no government or institution watching the wetlands and the activities that take place within them. The institutions and government organizations that are in charge of wetlands are accountable to no one, so they can choose to conserve as they see fit, leaving wetlands vulnerable to development. Finally, there are many conflicting interests in wetland protection, development of wetlands offers short term solutions to important social problems such as unemployment but also creates long term problems such as flooding.

Due to these problems there are several recommendations that need to be made for the government to put a stop to corruption, increase political will to protect this resource and to change for how wetland protection institutions are run. Another key recommendation is to empower the stakeholders of the wetlands to live in union with their surroundings so that they can benefit from them in the present and also preserve them for future generations.


Environmental Sciences | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Sustainability


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