US$4m dollar Early Warning System Project Launched in Uganda

Mar 24, 2014

Hon. Flavia N. Munaaba, State Minister for Environment receives the National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management during the launch of the Early Warning Systems Project in Mbale. Looking on are (L-R): David O.O Obong, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Water and Environment, Onesimus Muhwezi, the Team Leader Energy and Environment(UNDP) and Michael Nkalubo, Commissioner for Meteorology/Ag. ED, Uganda National Meteorology Authority.

Mbale - The Government of Uganda in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme on March 21, launched the Early Warning System (EWS) Project to strengthen the country’s capability to provide timely climate information to minimise the impact of disasters.

The project, "Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems project for Climate Resilient Development and Adaptation to Climate Change in Uganda" was launched in Mbale, Eastern Uganda.

The project’s main objective is to establish a functional network of meteorological and hydrological monitoring stations to help  understand better the weather and climatic changes overtime and provide timely information to avert any weather and climate change related disasters. It will also develop and disseminate weather and climate information and warnings to the government, private sector and the general public to enable early preparation against disasters such as floods and other severe weather and agricultural stresses.

Additionally, the project is expected to integrate weather and climate information into national policy plans such as the National Development Plan and the local government development plans.

Speaking at the project launch, the Minister of State for Environment, Hon. Flavia N. Munaaba, reiterated government’s support to the project in line with the National Development Plan’s first objective under the weather and climate sub sector which emphasizes provision of modern meteorological services to effectively and efficiently support the various social-economic sectors of Uganda’s economy.

The Minister also called on all involved in the sector to ensure active involvement of community members in the project as they are the most affected by climate related disasters. “As stakeholders, we may wish to dedicate ourselves in changing the way we do things as our communities cope with the increasingly changing climate patterns. Why can’t we for instance develop simple National tree planting policies to be implemented at all levels of our society? I have personally been a champion of tree-planting in my constituency.” she said.

David O.O Obong, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Environment, added that the project is part of the Government’s national adaption plan to mitigate climate related disasters. He said the project would greatly improve the existing infrastructure and help in mitigating the effects of disasters when they happen.

Speaking on behalf of the UNDP Country Director, Onesimus Muhwezi, the Team Leader for Energy and Environment, thanked Government for their commitment to help communities develop resilience and adaption to climate change. He noted that people’s livelihoods depend on climate change information which helps improve productivity and minimises risks on the environment. He restated UNDP/GEF’s continued support to the environment and energy sectors.

The Early Warning Systems’ project’s main goal of the project will be to strengthen the climate monitoring capabilities, early warning systems and available information for responding to climate shocks and planning adaptation to climate change in Uganda. Its two main objectives will be to; transfer of technologies for climate and environmental monitoring infrastructure and climate information integrated into development plans and early warning systems.

The project is part of the UNDP Climate Information and Early Warning Systems Africa Regional initiative which covers 10 Countries in Africa and is funded under the Global Environment Facility's Least Developed Countries Development Fund (LDCF) for climate change.

The four million US dollar will be implemented by the Ministry of Water and Environment, and will run for four years (2014 - 2017).