Delft, the Netherlands, 25 Sep 2020

Obituary Paul Mafabi

With sadness and regret we learned of the death, on 18 September, of Mr Paul Mafabi, who was a long-standing friend and supporter of IHE Delft.

Paul was a driving force behind the Uganda National Wetlands Policy. This policy has been an example for many other African countries in their efforts to protect wetland ecosystems for the benefit of biodiversity conservation and national development. He established the Wetlands Inspection Division when he was Assistant Commissioner for Wetlands and later became Director of Environment at the Ministry of Water and Environment.

Internationally, he also made enormous contributions, including as coordinator of the 9th Conference of the Parties of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Kampala in 2005, and as Chair of the Ramsar Standing Committee in 2006-2008. He also had advisory roles at IUCN and Wetlands International. 

His relationship with IHE Delft started a long time ago, when he was a student with Prof. Patrick Denny in the UK, who headed the current IHE Delft Aquatic Ecosystems Group until 2003. After that, we collaborated with Paul in many ways, including activities in the Ramsar network and through his contributions to our training activities. For example, in 2008 he took time from his busy schedule to go to IHE Delft partner, Egerton University in Kenya for a day, to share his Ugandan experiences on wetland management and policy with participants from all over Africa in our Refresher course on wetlands and livelihoods. 

He contributed to various publications about Uganda’s progressive wetland policy, the development and implementation of which he was so closely involved with. Paul's dedicated  efforts for the protection and "wise use of wetlands" were recognized and appreciated by so many colleagues, from young practitioners in Uganda to policy makers across Africa. 

Our condolences and sympathy go to his family and wetland colleagues in Uganda and elsewhere.

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