KAMPALA- The Ministry of Water and Environment has started implementing a $775,000 (about Shs2.9bn) support the nationally-determined contributions or NDCs Support Programme given by UN Development Programme (UNDP) to countries to make progress on their commitments under the Paris Agreement.
Funded by the European Union, Germany and Spain, the project seeks to strengthen Uganda’s capacities in “integrated governance, gender mainstreaming, climate actions, transparency systems, climate finance and private sector engagement.”
“This support is timely in helping us address the current climate challenges,” Water and Environment Minister, Mr Sam Cheptoris said in a speech read by the Ministry’s Commissioner in charge of Climate Change, Mr Maikut Chebet.
The Paris Agreement, which Uganda ratified, was made during the UN Climate Conference (COP21) in France in 2015, with signatories committing to reduce emissions and keep annual global temperature rise below 2 degrees centigrade.
The parties also agreed to strengthen the ability of countries, especially poor ones like Uganda, to deal with climate change impact and funding climate change activities.
Uganda committed to reduce its emissions by 22 per cent by 2022 and has listed increasing wetland and forest cover as key to attain the reduction.
“Other impacts of climate change have included the severe floods in eastern and western Uganda …there is also loss of snow cover which is significantly reducing in its size on Rwenzori Mountain because of increasing temperatures,” Mr Cheptoris said.
Uganda briefing paper at the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in 2016, noted that the snow on Mountain Rwenzori has melted from 7.5Km in 1905 to 1.5km in 2006.
With increasing temperature, the worst, the delegation noted, is still to come.
Ms Almaz Gebru, the UNDP country director said that reducing the economic and social cost of climate disasters requires increased efforts to protect the natural environment.
“Available evidence demonstrates that communities with better managed ecosystems are less vulnerable and adapt better to climate and natural disaster impacts,” Ms Gebru said on Tuesday in Kampala.
“Priority remains to reverse the current degradation of forest and wetlands. This loss is what leads to some of the devastating disasters we are experiencing today across the country,” she said.
Uganda is currently facing one of its worst environment degradation with forest and wetland cover reducing to less than 10 per cent in the last 30 years.