Uganda started the process of developing a five-year National Development Plan (NDP) for the period 2009/10–2014/15 to replace the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) as a national development framework. The theme of the NDP is “Growth, Employment and Prosperity”.
This weather, climate and climate change report aims to inform the preparation of the NDP process and demonstrate the contribution of the subsector to the NDP objectives.
Weather and climate data contribute to Uganda’s development by providing decision-makers with information to make budgetary and enterprise plans. For example, air transport needs daily weather information, and energy development planning needs long-term weather and climate data.
It is in part through the limited capacity of the weather and climate services of the Department of Meteorology (MWE) that we are aware that climate change is already affecting Uganda and that some areas are more vulnerable than others. Weather and climate services are crucial to detect the impacts of climate change on all aspects of the Ugandan economy, and to forecast the onset of drought or flood periods. Such data are essential for planning strategies to avoid flood and drought occurrences from turning into disasters that threaten food security, livelihoods, health, power supply and infrastructure. They can also give us indications of whether and how our valuable biodiversity will continue to thrive in the changing ecological zones of our country.
This report aims to show policy-makers, national development planners and implementers the importance of weather, climate and climate change in national development, including the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Despite the knowledge that the impacts of climate change, aggravated by population pressure and environmental degradation, cost Uganda billions of shillings each year, there has been little attention given to the maintenance and improvement of the weather and climate monitoring infrastructure. There are some barriers for implementation including limited awareness of climate change at all levels and its devastating impacts on socio-economic development as well as the challenges, benefits and adaptation measures to climate change.
Since 2007, however, attention to the issue of climate change has increased. A National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) and its implementation strategy to address immediate and urgent issues of climate change have been developed and approved by the government. Uganda is a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and acceded to the Kyoto Protocol. In addition, several greenhouse gas inventory studies have been undertaken. Furthermore, a Climate Change Unit has been established in the Ministry of Water and Environment and the development of National Climate Policy is underway.
The NDP planning process provides an opportunity for developing strategies to address the identified gaps and challenges, and to enhance the contribution of the sub-sector to national development. In line with the NDP theme and objectives, and the MDGs, the following priority interventions have been identified:
Ø strengthening weather and climate change infrastructure;
Ø building and strengthening human capacity in weather and climate change monitoring and information dissemination;
• strengthening climate and climate change information management and early warning systems (EWS) to increase productivity of climate and climate change-sensitive sectors and communities;
• strengthening the establishment and implementation of regulations for climate and climate change, natural resources and climate-sensitive sectors;
• promoting the engagement of young people and rural households in climate change mitigation and adaptation;
• promoting investments (public-private partnerships) and value addition to climate change mitigation and adaptation in order to improve rural and urban livelihoods;
• promoting the development of commodity value chains for strategic natural resources and natural products;
• exploring and developing climate opportunities as a traded commodity and as a global public good
When these priority interventions are sufficiently budgeted for and implemented under the new NDP, Uganda will be less vulnerable in the long term to the negative impacts of extreme climatic events, and the sub-sector will make even more substantial contributions to growth, employment and prosperity. I therefore urge Parliament, all central and local government agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector, communities, individuals and development partners to support the implementation of these priority interventions.
Dr. Aryamanya - Mugisha, Henry (PhD)
National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)