The loss of Paul Gumonye Mafabi

The loss of Paul Gumonye Mafabi

24 September 2020

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Paul Mafabi chairing at the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP13) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

It is with great sadness that the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands learned of the death of Paul Gumonye Mafabi. The former director of Environment at the Ministry of Water and Environment and Head of Administrative Authority for Uganda of the Convention on Wetlands, passed away on the 15th September 2020.

Paul has been engaged in the Convention’s work for more than 20 years.  He was the initiator and then coordinator of the 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP9) to the Convention on Wetlands in Kampala, Uganda. It was the first COP ever organized on the African continent.

Paul chaired the Standing Committee from 2005 until 2008. He was a Standing Committee Regional Representative for the triennium 2018-2021.

Since 2005 he was very involved in establishing and then coordinating the work of RAMCEA, a regional initiative to build capacity and excellence in wetland management in East Africa supporting Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.

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Paul Mafabi (left) and the Heads of Administrative Authorities from the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania in 2005 at the first meeting of the Governing Council of the Ramsar Centre for Eastern Africa (RAMCEA), held in Kampala, Uganda

Under the leadership of Paul, Uganda was the first country in Africa to develop a national wetland policy, and with over 14 years' practical experience of learning from community-based wetland management, Uganda has taken a leading role in showing how wise use and conservation of wetlands is achievable. Uganda has demonstrated how sustainable support for people's livelihoods can go hand in hand with conservation of the biodiversity of these supremely rich areas.

Paul was a committed and tireless champion of wetlands. His leadership, wisdom and friendship will be missed.