Road to Paris COP 21: Uganda

Source: Childfund
Uganda has a fragile climate that is vulnerable to droughts and floods and that has affected the socio – economic development of the population negatively. Its people wellbeing is tightly attached to the climate, this has Uganda highly vulnerable to climate variability. Anthropogenic drivers are to make the situation worse, where temperatures will increase by 1.5 ºC in the next 20 years, with a 4.3 ºC increment expected by the 2080s.  African Crop Science Journal has confirmed the above scenario, It expects temperatures to increase from 1.4 ºC to 5.8 ºC  and it has warned sub – Suharan Africa especially Uganda to suffer severe effects. With high temperatures some pathogens are favoured this leads to the spread of diseases and pests, this also effects productivity of humans as well.  The research states that the average surface temperature is to slightly increase in all seasons i.e. maximum during March to May and September to October which are the rainy seasons is 10 ºC and 70 ºC respectively while the minimum is 1.6 ºC and 1.4 ºC. The dry season temperature is expected to decrease by 0.10 ºC, minimum will increase by 0.60 ºC. What is expected and what is happening now, the “difference is the similarity”, the effects are very visible in Uganda now.

A lot is being done to reverse the trend or speed in which these effects are manifesting to Ugandans. The most important is the formation of the Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change (PFCC) one of the fruits of civil society advocacy in 2008 by the 8th parliament members, it’s believed to be the first of its kind in Africa. Legislation is important in a fight of anything, when a countries laws, policy and legislation are behind that fight is won before it starts. The PFCC helps in the climate change mainstreaming into the National Development Plan. There has to a mechanism to implement these action plans, in 2008 a climate change unit (CCU) was created under the Ministry of Water and Environment. The unit later become a full department (CCD) to also help in the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. The climate change department is the only recognized national focal point of UNFCCC. Article 6 of the convention which seeks to promote national level action like public awareness, education and training on climate change is handled by the CCD. It is lacking if in some parts of Uganda communities believe that smoke bring about rains. This is achieved through making of charcoal, where timber is harvested from forests and then burnt, families with animals like cattle burn dung.

Road to Paris started with a regional round table in Kampala, Uganda on the 4th September, 2014. The French Ambassador Mrs. Sophie Makame “highlighted the consequences of climate change in East Africa and Uganda, warning that glaciers on the Rwenzori mountain ranges could disappear by 2020 and that irregular rain patterns were likely to affect food insecurity”.  With follow up round tables on 2nd October and 7th November, 2014 tackling protection and conservation of biodiversity.  During the round table it came out that African Heads of State should up hold their commitments made during the ELYSEE Summit in Paris, 2013 of limiting global warming below 2 ºC through reaching a binding agreement on climate change.

As a trade expert, trade negotiations are complicated but understandable, this is not the case with climate change negotiations, this is made to be true by several studies by Erling Moxnes that show misconceptions in the drivers of climate change, you cannot negotiate for something you don’t understand this puts Uganda or LDCs negotiators on the back foot. Capacity is needed to train well informed climate change negotiators if LDCs interests are to be kept and worked upon.

By Kateregga Dennis, BA(ECON), Dip. IEL 


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