Kampala - The Government of Uganda with technical support from UNDP has launched the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Support Programme, to scale up public and private investment in climate change mitigation measures.
The launch follows the signing of the programme’s Partnership Plan and is part of Uganda’s efforts to address climate change and meet its obligations to the Paris agreement.
“Losses associated with climate change continue to grow. All these hazards call for urgent action more than ever before to address its impact,” Hon. Sam Cheptoris, the Minister for Water and Environment, said at the launch of the programme in Kampala on Tuesday October 23, 2018.
The Minister, in a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Chebet Maikut, the Commissioner for the Climate Change Department at the Ministry, said extreme weather conditions like flooding have damaged roads infrastructure and ruined crops leading to food insecurity.
He said the reduced snow cover on Mountain Rwenzori and increased spread of epidemics like malaria are indicators of Uganda’s vulnerability to Climate Change.
“To resolve this, we have to step up meeting our climate change commitments in Nationally Determined Contribution. The Government of Uganda is committed to reduce 22 percent emissions by 2030,” the Minister said.
The UNDP Deputy Country Director, Mr. Thomas Ole-Kuyan emphasized that reducing the economic and social cost of climate related disasters requires increased efforts to protect the natural environment while pursuing economic growth.
“Available evidence demonstrates that communities with better managed ecosystems are less vulnerable and adapt better to climate and natural disaster impacts,” Mr. Ole-Kuyan said, adding that priority should be made to reverse the current degration of forests and wetlands which leads to some of the devastating effects we experiencing today.
Agreeing with him, Ms. Edith Kateme Kasajja, deputy Executive Director of Uganda’s National Planning Authority (NPA) disclosed that the 2016/17 Uganda National Household Survey Report by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) showed an increase in poverty from 19.4 % in 2012/13 to 24 percent in 2016/17 – the “reversal performance” was partly attributed to the decline in agriculture production and productivity mainly driven by changes in the weather patterns.
“In absence of climate action, these economic and social losses will continue with a chain of dire effects,” Ms. Kasajja warned, adding that current projections show an increase in the frequency and intensity of climate change effects which Uganda must be ready to respond to.
She added that more needs to be done both in mitigation and adaptation to reduce Uganda’s vulnerability index to the impacts of climate change.
Through the NDC Support Programme, Ms. Kasajja revealed, climate actions will be integrated into the third National Development Plan that is currently being drafted, and will include mitigation measures, priority sectors and ensure gender responsive implementation.
The new NDC programme will also ensure increased Private Sector participation in efforts to address the country’s climate change challenges. Speaking at the event, Dr. Gudula Naigaga Basaza, the vice chairperson for Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) pointed out that private sector involvement was key because climate change is now the single biggest threat to its growth and the development of the country.
Under the new programme, PSFU will create awareness among private sector stakeholders about the impact of climate change on business sustainability, encourage investment in technological innovations that strengthen low carbon growth and facilitate more climate conscious purchasing decisions by consumers.
In 2015 up to 197countries including Uganda signed the Paris Agreement, an international climate accord to strengthen global response to the threat of climate change. Various countries which were parties to the agreement agreed to work towards keeping global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial levels.
In line with this global commitment, Uganda’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Support Programme seeks to help the country reduce greenhouse gas emissions in forestry and wetlands, energy, transport and agriculture sectors. This will catalyse investment towards realizing Uganda’s commitment for 22% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction by 2030.
Mr. Ole-Kuyan thanked the European Union, the governments of German and Spain for their continued partnership in support of climate change programmes.
“We believe that the NDC Support programme will contribute not only to the achievement of Uganda’s National Development Plan but also the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 13 on climate action,” he said.