Uganda gets resource centre for information on climate change

Wednesday August 5 2015

Karimojong farmers tend to their cattle. The

Karimojong farmers tend to their cattle. The cattle corridor that stretches from south-west to north-east is one of the areas in Uganda that are most affected by climate change. FILE Photo 

By Agatha Ayebazibwe

A resource centre, which avail answers to questions as well as science-based information and tools on climate change, has been launched.

It will cover adaptation and mitigation issues for resources managers, decision makers and the general public. Thus, contributing towards a more progressive and sustainable climate change response for Uganda.

Based at the Ministry of Water and Environment, and funded by the European Union, it is part of the efforts by UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for support towards a progressive and sustainable climate change response for Uganda.

Remains a challenge
The National Climate Change Resource Centre is part of the broader “Global Climate Change Alliance–Uganda: Agriculture Adaptation to Climate Change” project.

It is implemented by FAO in collaboration with the Climate Change Unit of the Ministry of Water and Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, farmer groups and the local governments of Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Luwero, Kiboga, Mubende and Sembabule districts.

Speaking at the launch of the Shs1.23b Centre, Alhaji Jallow, the FAO Country Representative, said that climate change variability remains a big challenge to food security and agriculture because of the impact on basic elements of food production; soil, water and biodiversity.

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“Climate change has direct negative effects on food production yet 80 per cent of Uganda’s population depends on agriculture for their livelihood,” he said.

“With the increasing negative effects of climate change, this could have disastrous impacts on lives of Ugandans and the time to act is now.”

Mr Jallow noted that the resource centre will be instrumental in climate change education and serve as a hub for resource managers, other government institutions and the public to understand and respond to climate change challenges.
Minister of Water and Environment, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu said addressing these challenges requires reliable information and communication flow.

Capacity to respond
“Therefore, resource centres or digital libraries for that matter are considered one of the most important resources within institutions to address this challenge. The need to develop an information sharing platform is urgent and key,” Prof Kamuntu said.

In his remarks, Kristian Schmidt, the head of European Union delegation, observed that climate change and environmental degradation have the potential to undermine efforts towards sustainable development.

The resource centre will thus help government strengthen its capacity to respond and mitigate such challenges.
It is expected to generate information and knowledge that farmers across the country can have access to and enable them design adaptation and mitigation plans that are evidence-based.
Climate change in Uganda has been manifested through unpredictable, intense and, at times, extreme weather events, such as drought, floods and landslides.

Most affected
The National Adaptation Plan of Action estimates that up to 90 per cent of the country’s natural disasters are weather- and climate-related.

The magnitude, frequency and severity of these hazards, especially drought, have increased over the past decades.
Recent drought and prevalent siltation of the valley dams and tanks have contributed to increased water stress in the livestock sector, increasing travel distances to and overgrazing around the few water sources in the districts concerned.
The “cattle corridor”—stretches from south western to north eastern Uganda covering 29 districts—dominated by livestock production with scarce water and pastures. This area is the most affected by climate change.

About the project

The climate change resource centre was funded by Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), an initiative of European Union (EU), which is aimed at supporting developing countries that are most vulnerable to climate change to overcome the challenges.

In Uganda, this initiative is aimed at building capacity of government to address climate change at policy and planning level, providing water for production and development of adaptation capacities in the central cattle corridor.

The resource centre is part of €14m (Shs52.7b) climate change project, which is funded to a tune of €11m (Shs41.4b) by EU with the other contributions from Ireland and Belgium, aiming at building capacities of communities, farmers and government to cope with climate change.

The four year project, whose implementation started in 2012, is in the final phase and has registered commendable successes in the districts where it is being implemented.

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