Uganda launches Climate Change Adaptation Centres

Apr 29, 2016

Hon. Flavia Munaba, the State Minister for Environment unveils the plaque for the Climate Change Adaptation Centre in Sironko District. With her are Mr. Onesimus Muhwezi, UNDP’s Team Leader for Energy & Environment (left) and Mr. Paul Mafabi, Ministry of Water & Environment’s Director Environmental Affairs.(Photo credit: Monica Aturinda-Kyeyune, UNDPUganda2016)

Sironko- Two modern Climate Change Adaptation Centres which will provide climate change information to rural communities in Eastern Uganda have been launched.  

The centres located in Sironko and Bulambuli districts were set up by the Ministry of Water and Environment and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) project as part of the broader effort to contribute to a more progressive and sustainable climate change response for Uganda.

“Many times we have asked communities to adapt to climate change by word of mouth with no practical solutions, I am positive that the centres we are launching today will give our communities new innovative ideas that will enable them adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change,” said Hon. Flavia Munaba, Minister of State for Environment said while opening the centre at the Sironko district headquarter grounds on Thursday, 28 April 2016.

She urged policy makers to support projects such as EBA that are designed for rural communities because they help communities adapt to the changing climate patterns.

The EBA project has for the last four years been using new innovations to strengthening capacities of communities in Eastern Uganda to build ecosystem resilience by adapting to options such as sustainable land management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems so as to reduce their vulnerability to climate change with particular emphasis on mountain ecosystems. As the project ends, the new adaptation centres, which are well equipped with climate change information, are part of the innovations that will keep the communities engaged in the efforts to mitigate climate change and enable them to plan better.

Speaking on behalf of the UNDP Country Director, Mr. Onesimus Muhwezi, the Team Leader, Energy and Environment, said that the centres will be key in increasing knowledge on climate change impacts in the rural communities. Adding that addressing climate change from the grass roots was one way in which Uganda would be able to achieve sustainable development and reach middle income status by 2040.

Mr. Moses Kigai, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Sironko, applauded UNDP and the Ministry of Water and Environment for piloting the ecosystem adaptation interventions in the Elgon community where Sironko and Bulambuli district are located. He called on the community to make good use of the centres and even ask for more.

“Without clear information on climate change, it will be hard for us to survive the already existing effects of climate change such as the landslides that we have experienced in the past,” Mr. Kigai said.

The new centres which are fully furnished with the necessary tools such as computers, projectors, internet access, conference boards, and reference books will be able to accommodate about 100 people per seating.  They will be managed by the district local governments and the community will be able to use them for workshops, research and trainings on climate change issues.

The Elgon region was selected to pilot the EBA project and also host these centres because of the severe impacts of climate variability and associated economic losses it has experienced. These effects have been seen in the increasing frequency of landslides and erratic weather patterns.

An exhibition show held alongside the launch showcased the various benefits of the EBA project over the years with grantees from showcasing items such as energy saving cook stoves, locally made bee hives, honey and unbaked bricks all of which were introduced as a way of relieving stress on the environment through reduced use of land and cutting down of trees among other things.

The project also promoted conservative agricultural methods encouraging farmers to dig contours and plant vetiver grass to control soil erosion and pests on their farms in addition to protecting river banks which were getting silted with the soil run off from the Elgon ranges leaving behind degraded soils. 

The Uganda EBA programme was carried out in partnership between IUCN, UNEP, UNDP, and Ministry of Water & Environment Uganda with funding by the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) of Germany. The project is geared towards strengthening ecosystem resilience and reducing vulnerabilities of communities in Uganda to climate change.

Article by: Monicah Aturinda-Kyeyune, Communications Assistant, UNDP-Ecosystem Based Adaptation Project.

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