Thursday 23 June 2016

Challenges to climate change adaptation in Uganda.

Participants in the NAP Dialogue pose for a group photo.
Climate change is a national mayhem with area specific effects i.e. increased influx of pests and diseases, flooding especially in the low land areas of Teso, soil erosion and landslides in the hilly areas of Mbale, Bundibugyo and Kasese causing tremendous loss of lives and property. The effects of climate change have affected planning and budgeting of the country as they lead to double doing of activities especially during construction and planting which retards the realization set national development targets. Uganda is committed to the pursuit of climate resilient and low carbon emissions with the ongoing impact assessment of the level of vulnerability of Ugandans to climate change, and implementation of some of the National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) priorities, however these efforts are being influenced by a number of challenges many of which need collective efforts to be addressed.

During the National Adaptation Planning Dialogue held on 8th/06/2016 at Imperial Royale Hotel organized by ACODE, Action Aid and EMLI Bwaise Facility in collaboration with the Ministry of water and Environment, limited quality and quantity of data to assess the vulnerability of Ugandans to climate change was mentioned as one of the challenges to adaptation where there is scanty information regarding the vulnerability levels of Ugandans which affects the level of planning.

Mr Chebet Maikut, commissioner, Climate Change Department, Ministry of Water and Environment said that despite the USD 8.37 million from the least development fund and $ 4 million that is to support Uganda to build resilience on water supply and sanitation there is still inadequate capacity to mobilize and use resources for adaptation.

In addition, the inadequate ability by institutions to integrate climate change issues in to development plans i.e. district plans has affected the level of implementing national development plans. According to Aaron Werikhe, NPA, only 30% of the priorities in the NDP 1 was implemented due to lack of sector development plans that are in line with NDP and the limited coherence in the budget process. He said that planning and financing communicate to each other and failure to achieve the coherence affects the realization of the set developmental goals.

Despite the challenges, there is still hope for Uganda to adapt effectively to climate change if only; the government stops reliance on donor funds and think of local initiatives that can deepen financing, Uganda Revenue Authority strengthens its work of collecting more domestic revenue  to cater for climate change financing and strengthen coordination in institutions.

Possible and environmental level polluters should begin to pay revenue to the government that can be used to tackle climate change issues.

Agriculture being the sector most prone to climate change impacts, adaptive agriculture programmes should be put in place for example countries should embrace climate smart agriculture through increasing financing in the sector.

Fund climate resilient infrastructures, in Uganda a number of roads and bridges are being affected by the heavy rains which leave most of them flooded and others broken, therefore funding climate resilient infrastructures will help to reduce government spending on infrastructures in the long run.

A lot is required to address climate change impacts but more is needed to build capacity among Ugandans specifically in resource mobilization, integration of climate change issues in sector plans and strengthen coordination among institutions towards a common cause if the development targets are to be realized.