The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 sets the tone for conservation of natural resources in the country. One of the national objectives under the Constitution is proper management of the environment. The utilisation of the natural resources of Uganda shall be managed in such a way as to meet the development and environmental needs of present and future generations of Ugandans.
Article 17 of the Constitution makes it a duty of every citizen to create and protect a clean and health environment. Further, the Constitution provides the right to a clean and healthy environment as a fundamental right. Article 245 of the Constitution goes on to give Parliament the responsibility using legal instruments to provide for measures intended to protect and preserve the environment from abuse, pollution and degradation, to manage the environment for sustainable development and to promote environmental awareness.
The Uganda Wildlife Act
The legal framework for conservation and management of wildlife in Uganda is laid out in the Uganda Wildlife Act and the Game (Preservation and Control) Act. The Wildlife Act was enacted in 1996 to provide for sustainable management of wildlife, consolidate the law relating to wildlife management and establish a coordinating, monitoring and supervisory body for wildlife conservation in Uganda.
The purposes of the Act are, inter alia, the promotion of conservation of wildlife in Uganda to maintain the species numbers at optimum levels, the sustainable management of wildlife conservation areas, the conservation of selected examples of wildlife communities in Uganda, the protection of rare, endangered and endemic species of wild plants and animals, the promotion of ecologically acceptable control of problem animals, the enhancement of economic and social benefits from wildlife, the control of import, export and re-export of wildlife species and specimens, the implementation of relevant international treaties and conventions and the promotion of public participation in wildlife management.
The Wildlife Act gives the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Board of Trustees the powers to make regulations for bringing its provisions into effect. The regulations may cover broad areas including the furnishing of returns by holders of licences, permits, or certificates under the Act, the forms to be used under the Act, fines and fees payable under the Act and the furtherance of public knowledge concerning the management of wildlife. It is not clear whether any regulations have yet been made under the Act as none could be found online during this review.
The Game (Preservation and Control) Act
The Game (Preservation and Control) Act was enacted in 1959 to consolidate the law relating to the preservation and control of game and to provide for matters incidental to and connected with such preservation and control. All the provisions of the Game (Preservation and Control) Act were repealed by the Wildlife Act except for its schedules. The schedules are important because they provide for the categories of wildlife which may be hunted in Uganda, a list of the game reserves in Uganda, fees for wildlife licenses and a list of animals protected by international convention.