Yeosu Korea Expo 2012: Uganda Wildlife Authority participates in International Expo
Yeosu, Republic of Korea May 12 – August 12, 2012
The International Expo officially opened on the May 11, 2012. The President of the Republic of Korea, His Excellency President Lee Myung-bak presided over the glamorous ceremony and urged the international community to jointly work together to protect and conserve the Oceans, Seas, Lakes for livelihood of the current and future generations. Uganda's participation at the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea has been spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives and the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB).
In attendance were Commissioners of Section and Pavilion Directors and Staff from 105 participating countries and prominent private sector players in South Korea and beyond. The International Expos are held on a rotational basis bearing in consideration the theme and different regions of the globe. The previous Expo was held in Shanghai-China in which Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) participated. The Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) was the main organizer for Uganda during Shanghai Expo 2010.
The Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea has attracted 105 countries that are participating under the theme "The Living Ocean and Coast." The Expo will take place from May 12 to August 12 over a 3 month period. Whereas Uganda has no coastline, Lake Victoria – the blue pearl of Africa is its signature mark in the pavilion.
Furthermore, with a third of its land area covered by water, her features such as lakes, rivers, swamps and streams qualified her to competently show case at the Expo under the adapted theme; "Uganda the Blue Pearl'' which is a constituent of the more renown - "Uganda the Pearl of Africa".
Participating countries at the Expo 2012 have been creatively clustered by Ocean proximity – Indian, Pacific and Atlantic blending geographical and cultural uniqueness in addition to separate stand alone Pavilions. The Republic of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are housed in the Indian Ocean pavilion. Uganda has been represented by; the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and the Uganda Africa Craft Exporters and Producers Association (UGACEPA). In Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea the 3 main strategic sectors considered were Coffee, Tourism and Handicrafts which explains the institutions that have formed the fabric of Uganda's presence.
The Uganda pavilion is decorated with some of the country's major attractions; Lake Victoria, River Nile, Ruwenzori Mountains and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. A huge Gorilla mould is a major attraction centre in the pavilion in addition to lobelia plants, and a Bamboo forest around. Many visitors take pictures at this spot.
Visitors are excited when they get to Uganda's Pavilion. The Uganda commercial section selling coffee and handicraft is among the most visited in the Indian Ocean pavilion. Participating countries have national days in which publicity is focused on that country. During a Country's National day, the gist of the Expo focuses on showcasing the best that the country has to offer in terms of culture, export and investment opportunities, business ties and the warmth of its people.
The Republic of Uganda National Day was held on Friday June 22, 2012. Uganda's delegation had a parade with the National Flag held up high. The Korean marines led a march from the VIP gate to the Expo Hall. The National Anthem was sung at a unique flag raising ceremony and later cultural performances in the Expo hall and Indian Ocean Joint Pavilion.
Some of the VIPs that have visited Uganda's pavilion so far include; Ambassador Julius B. Onen the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industry & Co-operatives – the Commissioner of Section for the Republic of Uganda, 2 high ranking Ministers from the Republic of Kenya; Mr. Moses Wetangula (Trade and industry), Mr. Danstone Maazo (Minister of Trade) and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bangladesh.
EAC BROTHERHOOD: The Commissioner General of the Expo.Organizing committee, Mr. Lee Joon-hee (behind in Spectacles), Minister Moses Wetangula (Minister of Trade and Industry) in the centre and Mr. Danstone Maazo (Minister of Tourism Kenya) visit Uganda's Pavilion. The Deputy Commissioner of Section and Pavilion Director of Uganda, Mr. Daniel Karibwije guided them around.
GORILLA TREKKING? Korean Visitors admiring a Mountain Gorilla Mould at Uganda Pavilion.
The Expo is expected to market Uganda Natural Resource Potential among the Asian and other countries in view to attract them to visit Uganda especially the Protected Areas, experience our cultural heritage displayed in artifacts, foods and dances and boost our economy by purchasing and drinking our home grown coffee, invest in the Tourism and agricultural sector and others
Pictorial view of events at Uganda's Pavilion Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea
Uganda's' Pavilion in the Indian Ocean Joint Pavilion
The Minister of Commerce of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh (Left) Mr.Ghulam Muhammad Quarder , Commissioner of Expo 2012 Mr. Lee Joon-hee (3rd from left in spectacles). 2nd right, Mr. David Kiwanuka, Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and the Chairperson of Uganda Africa Craft Exporters and Producers Association (UGACEPA) Mr. Alon Kabaale pose for a photograph.
NETWORKING: The Bangladesh delegation pays a courtesy call at the Uganda Pavilion in the Indian Ocean Joint Pavilion. This was during the Bangladesh National Day. Bangladesh is part of the Indian Ocean Joint Pavilion countries.
TOURISM PROMOTION ACROSS AGES: A young Korean girl delighted by 'Two Gorillas'.
PROMOTING TOURISM: Uganda Wildlife Authority's (UWA) Joshua Masereka poses with two young Koreans who visited Uganda's Pavilion. Cultivating the spirit of tourism among the youth is a strategic initiative by Uganda's Pavilion at Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea.
PROMOTING TOURISM TO MIDDLE EAST VISTIORS: A Cultural group from Qatar and a Ugandan poses for a photo at the Gorilla Mould in the
Twenty students and their patrons from four secondary schools which participated in the Wildlife conservation awareness essay competition recently have won a fully paid trip to the famous Murchison Falls National Park slated for 9th-11th August 2011.
The offer was made by the acting Executive Director, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Dr. Andrew Ggunga Seguya while presiding over the trophy and certificate awarding ceremony at the Uganda Museum last week .The theme of the essay competition was Wildlife and Climate change.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has completed and commissioned three blocks with self catering facilities in Queen Elizabeth National Park to provide additional accommodation for the increasing numbers of tourists visiting the country’s second largest and oldest protected area.
The blocks which formerly housed the senior staff of the organization in the Mweya Peninsular which is the hub of the tourism activities in Queen Elizabeth National Park, were renovated and improved with internally generated revenue.
Uganda Prime Minister has assured tourists that the on-going fighting in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has not affected Uganda's National Parks on the common borders.
Thousands of visitors from all walks of life last week thronged the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) stand in the Buganda King's palace, Lubiri Mengo in Kampala to learn about the unique eco- tourism products offered by the conservation agency in the country's different national parks.
Uganda Wildlife Authority on June 27, 2012 commissioned a shorter version of the Batwa Cultural Experience Trail in Mgahinga National Park, south western Uganda, which will offer tourists a chance walk through the cultural sites and footsteps of the first forest people.
The revamped trail leading to the famed Garama cave an over 200 meter long lava tube which served as council chambers, residence, stores and armory for the last king of Batwa was made possible with the support from US Mission in Uganda trough USAID which has invested $31,000 to train Batwa people to serve as guides and improve lighting, walkways an shelters along the trail. These new features are expected to add $12,500 a year to the tourism revenue with 50% of it going to approximately local residents.
Presiding at the official launch of the shorter trail, the Uganda minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Professor Ephraim Kamuntu could not hide his excitement by remarking that "the tourism product is unique, rare and the only one of its kind and whoever experiences it should share the memories with the rest of the world"
Professor Kamuntu who walked the entire 5.6km trail trough the dense forests of Muhabura ranges hosting troops of Golden monkeys and mountain gorillas, also observed that the product is an epitome of conservation in its original form. It is a bridge between the past, present and the future".
The minister, flanked by the USAID acting Mission Director, John Mark Winfield, was particularly impressed by Batwa demonstrations on old methods of making fire by rubbing two dry sticks against each other, harvesting of honey using smoke, fetching water using bamboo tubes among others. He however urged the Batwa community not to remain living in the past by making efforts to educate their children to discern myths from reality using modern science.
"Do not be prisoners of your past—balance between continuity and change as there is no culture that can survive without merging with modern trends," he challenged the Batwa community.
Mr. Winfield the acting USAID Mission director said Uganda was blessed with amazing natural resources and attractions which should be made known to the rest of the world. He said the American people were proud to be associated with this development that promotes tourism while preserving the culture and improving the community livelihood.
He added "Through our partnership with the ministry of Tourism and Uganda Wildlife Authority, we are in a unique position to help preserve the natural beauty of this country while supporting the tourism industry so vital to Uganda's development. We hope the new additions to the trail will attract more tourists to the park ad give Uganda a competitive edge in the global market."
Mr. Stephen Masaba, the acting Director Tourism and Business Services who represented the Uganda Wildlife Authority Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Seguya, said the new product was in line with the organization's strategy of diversifying tourism products to attract more visitors to the protected areas and keeping them longer. He hailed the partnership between UWA, Kisoro District Local Government and the United Organization for the Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU) saying it has greatly reduced the Human-Wildlife Conflict in the region. He also urged the international community to enjoy other tourism products offered by the Mgahinga National Park including the volcanoes hiking, Golden Monkey tracking, Gorilla Tracking, Forest Walk and caving.
Earlier, the manager Bwindi-Mgahinga Conservation Area (BMCA) Mr. Pontious Ezuma, gave the chronological background of the Batwa Trail development, the revenue sharing arrangements and the role of partners In maintaining the new product.
It is with great sadness that UWA management announces the demise of Ruhondeza the oldest gorilla silverback and leader of the first habituated tourism gorilla family in Uganda – Mubare in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP). He succumbed to death yesterday afternoon after a four month spell in solitary life. Ruhondenza as he is fondly known died at over 50 years of age in his nest in Rubona village, neighbouring the park.
Mt. Elgon is a home to over 300 species of birds, of which the endangered Lammergeyer is among, small antelopes, forest monkeys, elephants and buffalos. Its higher slopes are protected by national parks in Uganda and Kenya, creating an extensive trans-boundary conservation area, which has been declared by UNESCO as a Man & Biosphere Reserve.
UWA has embarked on a 10 day technical training for 209 Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) front desk Customs Officials in operational areas of Malaba, Busia and Entebbe Airport. The customs officials are being trained on necessary skills to identify wild fauna and genuine wildlife permits, understanding operational procedures for activities to curb illegal trade and develop an effective system of case referrals.
A total of 43 baby pythons aged just about three weeks were rescued from a village Mbizzi NNya in Mpigi District about 50kms from Kampala.
The UWA problem animal team was tipped off by a report on a local television, which alleged that the pythons were construed to be evil spirits by the community members. However, this is a normal ecological phenomenon which should not be spiritualized.