Museveni blames West for climate change

PresidentMuseveni (3rd right), South Sudan President Salvar Kiir (3rd left) and development partners during the closure of the Inter-Ministerial conference on Migration, Environment and Climate Change at Speke Resort, Munyonyo, Kampala on Friday. PHOTO / MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI. 

What you need to know:

  • The conference was organised by the Ministry of Water and Environment, supported by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) regional office for East Africa and Horn of Africa, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and East Africa’s Development Bank Regional Collaboration Centre based in Uganda.

President Museveni has blamed the increased emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide on Europeans’ greed to make quick money.

The President made the remarks at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala while closing a three-day Inter-Ministerial Conference on Migration, Environment and Climate Change on Friday. The conference was organised by the Ministry of Water and Environment, supported by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) regional office for East Africa and Horn of Africa, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and East Africa’s Development Bank Regional Collaboration Centre based in Uganda.

“We (Ugandans) can give testimony to the dangers of mismanaging the environment, but there is the global mismanagement by those [Europeans] who are emitting greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide,” Mr Museveni said, adding that carbon dioxide, “when used well… can be captured by plants and plants use it to manufacture food.”

According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), an annual average of 21.5 million people are forcefully displaced by weather-related events such as floods, storms, wildfires and extreme temperatures.

“These extreme temperatures have recently been cooking Europeans. Temperatures in London (UK), some parts of the US and Spain have reached 41 degrees centigrade. We have never had 41 degrees Celsius in Uganda like Europeans. People who do not listen cause a lot of problems for everybody, including themselves,” Museveni added. 

Organised under the theme ‘Enhancing Cooperation in Relation to Climate Change Induced Human Mobility, Including Migration, Displacement and Planned Relocation’, the conference brought together relevant ministers of environment and the ministers who manage migration and their technical experts from the 12 countries under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), the East African Community and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Horn of Africa region members states.

Some of the countries that took part in the conference include Djibouti, Burundi, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and other African member states.

Many African countries rely heavily on natural resources. The changing climate patterns have , however, precipitated threats in agriculture, health, water supply, hydropower production, road infrastructure and housing. 

A joint declaration by member states resolved to enhance regional cooperation in relation to climate change induced human mobility, including migration, displacement and planned relocation. The declaration, among other objectives, will provide a standpoint from which the 12 member states intend to articulate regional priorities with respect to the negotiations planned at the Conference of Parties (COP27), with particular focus on the adverse impact of climate change on human mobility.

The deputy director general of Operations of the International Organisation for Migration, Mr Daniels Ugochi, urged the Kampala Declaration signatories to strengthen support to people who are most vulnerable to climate change impact, including the youth.

“I hope this important regional call for action gives birth to a continental roadmap to a global world commitment ahead of the Conference of the Parties in Egypt,” Ms Ugochi said.  

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Water and Environment says the government has released Shs17 billion for construction of valley dams in Karamoja region. Environment minister Sam Cheptoris said the government released the money in May.

“In Karamoja, we need to plant as many trees as possible and ensure we have valley tanks and dams,” he said, adding, “We envisage that when we get funds, we shall concentrate on Karamoja. We have been having meetings on how to solve the issues of Karamoja.”

Mr Alfred Okidi Okot, the Environment ministry Permanent Secretary, told Sunday Monitor that they have completed designs and studies for developing Lopei, Karechekek and Kobebe dams.

“In each district, there will be one big dam to avoid movement. With the German government, we are constructing three large dams in Karamoja and construction should commence at the end of this financial year. We have worked with FAO, who identified resilient tree species that grow very well in Karamoja for afforestation,” he said.

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