The National Planning Authority and the Ministry of Water and Environment recently issued a set of guidelines that require all districts and sectors to incorporate climate change impact mitigation and adaptation in their plans and budgets, as part of plans to increase effective intervention.
The guidelines will also require every government institution to allocate funds for climate change activities in their budgets and programmes. The procedures are meant to operationalise the national policy on climate change and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to which Uganda is signatory.
Uganda is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as evidenced by extreme weather disasters such as the devastating landslides in Bududa District, floods and hailstorms that have ravaged several districts over the years.
The new guidelines, if implemented, will go a long way in addressing the effects of climate change – a term that refers to the significant and lasting change in the global weather conditions over a long period and mainly resulting from human activities, according to the State of the River Nile Basin 2012. It also states that climate change manifests through changes in average temperature and precipitation, which are important drivers of the water cycles.
As a recent report by the Uganda National Meteorological Authority indicates, Uganda’s woes with climate change are far from over. Due to continued change in climate, says the report, areas around the Lake Victoria Basin and western Uganda region, which usually experience dry spells between June and August, will receive more rain this time, just like the northern region and parts of eastern Uganda. This climate outlook is based on predictions approved by World Meteorological Organisation and other world forecasting centres.
Climate changes pose numerous challenges for Uganda. Many years of development are likely to be reversed by disasters linked to climate change. For instance, repeated disasters in eastern Uganda have led to destruction of infrastructure such as roads and displacement of people. The government should, therefore, ensure that these guidelines are followed by the different institutions so as to mitigate climate change impacts and save people’s lives and property.