UNDP Country Director's Remarks: Developing Uganda's Green Growth Strategy

Oct 30, 2015

Mr Onesimus Muhwezi, Team Leader, Energy and Environment, signing a #GreeningUganda painting as a sign of UNDP Uganda's commitment to continue supporting Government of Uganda, and to work in partnership with all stakeholders to combat climate change and move the country to a green development pathway. He read the speech on behalf of Country Director, Ms Almaz Gebru. Looking on is Minister of Water and Environment, Hon. Prof Ephraim Kamuntu (right) and H.E. Kristian Schmidt, European Union's Head of Delegation in Uganda (Photo: UNDP Uganda 2015)

Hon. Minister of Water and Environment, Hon. Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu

The Ambassador of the EU delegation - Development Partners Present

Development Partners-The Ambassador of France,

Invited guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

UNDP is very pleased to co-host this climate change dialogue, together with the European Union Delegation, and the Government of Uganda.

Let me take the opportunity to congratulate Government of Uganda on making the strategic choice to move towards green growth, and a greener economy.

The importance of anchoring Uganda’s development on an environmentally sustainable pathway at this time, cannot be overstated.  When fully realized, we should expect to see dividends in preserving the natural heritage and beauty of this country, and ensuring the well-being and prosperity of the people of Uganda.

The concept of green growth is not new.  Green growth is defined as economic growth that uses natural resources in a sustainable manner. It challenges us to review the way we produce and consume – and whether these production patterns are sustainable enough to meet the needs of the present, and future generations.

The outcome of the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Summit, also recognized the vital role for Green Growth strategies, in successfully contributing to “eradicating poverty as well as sustained economic growth, enhancing social inclusion, improving human welfare and creating opportunities for employment and decent work for all, while maintaining the healthy functioning of the earth’s ecosystems”.

The Global Agenda 2030 – and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals – that was adopted last month, is also premised on the same. The new agenda aspires to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” by leaving no one behind. This dialogue is therefore timely and significant, as we begin a journey of localizing the SDGs.

It is in this respect that UNDP through its Low Emission Capacity Building Project, is very proud to partner with government and other stakeholders, in preparing a National Green Growth Development Strategy.

This Strategy will be aligned with Uganda’s development aspirations as presented in Vision 2040 and the National Development Plans and will take in to account low-carbon development and adaptation along with other co-benefits ranging from resource productivity to social inclusion.

The strategy is a response to the serious risk posed to the Ugandan economy by the increasing pressure on the environment. It also signals Uganda’s commitment to the global fight against climate change, poverty, unemployment-especially for youth and women while addressing inequality and exclusion.

Reducing emissions and adaptation to climate change are critical elements of achieving green growth. We are already seeing the devastating impact that climate change can have on people and communities, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. The typhoon that forced tens of thousands to leave their homes in the Philippines earlier this month and the drought close home, in Karamoja, are depressing examples that illustrate very clearly the impact climate change can have on communities.

From the experience of other countries, we are aware that transitioning to a greener economy is not a walk in the park. It will require taking some hard decisions and making some really tough choices. It is therefore important to develop resilience, especially among vulnerable populations in rural areas and ensure that more comprehensive social protection policies are in place and that poor and marginalized groups have access to new sustainable economic opportunities.

In the context of Green Growth, attention is now turning towards the Paris Climate Change Conference, where a global agreement on climate change is expected in December. To reach a global agreement, it is vital to recognize that we cannot address these global challenges in silos.  A renewed strong partnership – at all levels – is critical to its success.

It is my hope that the discussions today will actively engage stakeholders on how to make collective action in achieving vision 2040 while minimizing the levels of emissions and building resilience to climate change.

Let me use this opportunity to urge each of you to be a champion for the sustainable development goals, especially Goal 13 which challenges us to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.

 The SDGs do not only speak to Governments, but to all of us. We all have a shared responsibility to take individual and collective action. Taking action also means small things like to switching off the lights when not in use or to use sustainable briquettes for cooking.

As I conclude, let me reaffirm UNDP’s commitment to continued collaboration with other development partners, especially the EU Delegation and the Government of Uganda in building climate change resilient economy and moving towards a cleaner and greener growth to achieve Vision 2040.

I thank you

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