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CHOGM 2007
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YoVoice - Survey
"Media and Development Workshop",
Final Communique of the Media and Development Workshop, where Yocomm presented a best practice case study to the delegates.
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His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic Uganda

His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic Uganda and Incoming Chairman in Office of the Commonwealth, welcomed participants to Uganda, and officially declared the CPF open. He noted that many NGOs are humanitarian groups, which champion causes aimed at ameliorating human suffering, work for the interests of the sick, disabled, orphaned, impoverished, displaced, and exiled. Among the other causes supported by NGOs are advocacy causes for marginalised groups: women, children, and the elderly.

Other NGOs, he noted, deal with environmental issues, such as forest protection, protecting the wetlands, wildlife conservation, and protecting the water-bodies. He stressed, that they strive to raise consciousness about the damage man is doing to these resources, and noted that these are all worthy causes and interventions.

Reflecting on his 42 years in public affairs, H.E President Museveni said he had worked on a parallel channel focusing on political and economic interventions to influence structural changes and cure inadequacies that cause injustice. He said “we the revolutionaries need you the philanthropists to save life and limb.” However, he noted that it would be a strategic mistake to imagine that societies can be sustainable run on philanthropy alone.

In order to redeem man from want irreversibly, he urged a social – economic metamorphosis. He said the transformation of society and economy will enable job creation including the production of goods and services for domestic consumption and export, and the generation of tax revenues so that the state can provide public goods. Stressing the importance of a holistic vision, he cautioned against the revolutionary and the philanthropist working at crosspurposes and creating unnecessary contradictions.

Regarding the threats to the environment in Africa, President Museveni highlighted three key threats, namely: subsistence agriculture that converts more and more land for agriculture in order to compensate for low productivity, and inheritance practices leading to land fragmentation; and the use of biomass for fuel wood. He stressed that environmentalists must support industrialisation to assist people to move away from an over-reliance on agriculture towards the enhanced use of industries and services. He said this requires massive support for electrification.
He noted that environmental damage, including the production of greenhouse gases, from industrialisation in Western Europe, North America and recently, in China and India has been driven by greed. On the other hand, he said, in Africa, environmental damage is often out of necessity and not greed; people without energy, out of desperation, destroy the environment through the use of fuel-wood. He said the People’s Forum should address the twin threats to the environment: greed for profits in developed countries and underdevelopment in the Third World, and stressed that the revolutionary and the philanthropist need to work together.

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