Strategic Plan 2017 - 2022
The Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC) is a leading Ugandan research institution working primarily for biodiversity conservation and the sustainable management of natural resources in and around the protected areas of the Albertine Rift ecoregion – a global biodiversity hotspot. It was established in 1991 as a semi-autonomous research institution and field station of Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) to carry out ecological and sociological research, monitoring and training. The institute is located at the eastern border of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Ruhija, Kitojo Parish, Ruhija Sub-county, Rubanda District in southwestern Uganda. The institute’s main functions are to initiate and implement research and monitoring projects and programmes, train graduate students, researchers and conservationists/practitioners, offer scientific advice and expertise to conservation agencies, and provide a base and research facilities for independent researchers. Since its establishment in 1991, ITFC has fulfilled a variety of vital biodiversity and ecosystem research and monitoring functions and has built a highly creditable track record of conservation achievements. Because of the importance of the areas in which ITFC is working, these successes are of global as well as national and local significance. ITFC has a number of loyal and committed local and international backers and stakeholders who recognise its value and some depend on the institute’s outputs. Growing human pressures on the natural resources of the Albertine Rift ecoregion has only served to enhance further the value of ITFC’s work. The institute also has a significant, if not fully realised, role as an educational facility for MUST’s and Makerere University’s biology graduate students. Indeed some of ITFC’s Alumni are now based in universities, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), National Forestry Authority (NFA) and National Environment Authority (NEMA) and are able to influence national conservation policies in Uganda. Despite these achievement records, ITFC is now at a defining moment. Globally, research is taking new directions addressing emerging issues and conservation challenges that the institute must align with as a forward-moving institution. Our external donors and international bodies are shifting their funding priorities and geographic area of focus and the grants in the environment sector have become highly competitive. However, the growing demand for data and information in response to the ever changing natural resource management challenges hints at the value and enduring need for ITFC’s research and services. This five-year strategic plan (June 2017 to June 2022), therefore, aligns the institute’s research priorities to emerging areas of conservation research as well as meeting the requirements and services expected by our primary stakeholders. In order for ITFC to set up its direction and paths for the successful progression over the next five years, furthermore, the need to establish ITFC’s research priorities and effective use of natural resources that meet the requirements and services expected of a reputable research institution and its stakeholders, the ITFC staff conducted strategic planning processes that started in May 2016 and ended May 2017. This involved visioning interviews and/or sessions with current and former staff/students, partners and stakeholders through emails and face-to-face interviews. This five-year strategic plan identified factors necessary for conducting conservation research and monitoring at the scope, scale, and quality required to produce relevant, efficient and effective outputs to address the needs of ITFC, its stakeholders and partners. Specifically, this plan: Assesses the institute’s strengths, weaknesses, uniqueness, and value to those who utilize and benefit from its research results and services; Identifies threats, opportunities, and trends related to the institute’s ability to carry out its mission now and in the future; Ascertains the emerging conservation issues and challenges which the institute should address and the key success factors required to meet the challenges; Specifies an integrated key implementation actions that address opportunities and deficits that need to be addressed during the next five years all organized into six overarching strategic objectives that encompass the institute’s outputs and operations. These are: Knowledge of species and habitats increased • Graduate students and conservation practitioners trained • Institute’s staff, facilities and equipment sufficiency ensured • Information to support decision-making provided • Institute’s visibility increased • Institute’s sustainable funding secured; Establishes a monitoring and evaluation plan for assessing the progress in the implementation of the plan as well as the timelines, responsibilities and budget estimates for sustaining plan actions and processes. Implementation of this strategic plan will be a concerted effort across institute management and research staff. To be fully realized, strong support from MUST and donors is needed.
- Reports