Climate change in Uganda and its mitigation measures

Residents carry their belongings away from a flooded area of Namirembe Landing Site in Masaka District on May 11, 2024 after Lake Victoria overflowed its shores. PHOTO/ ISSA ALIGA

What you need to know:

  • The government needs to educate, improve awareness, human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Sustainable land management. This helps to reduce flood risks, store carbon and maintain biodiversity.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenge the World faces today. Its impacts are far-reaching and extremely devastating, particularly to Uganda. Sustainable goal no.13 calls upon all countries to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. 

Uganda among all other countries have also taken the obligation to strengthen resilience and adoptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters, integrated climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

However, in Uganda this has remained in discussion and on paper but not practically implemented since we see issues of loss in the forest cover, floods, landslides, pollution of lakes and rivers with plastics and polythene, encroachment on the national parks etc. 

The country experiences the effects of climate change which has been manifested in the uncertainty of rainfall, increase in the levels of temperature poor air quality below the WHO standards, frequent floods and landslides, recent examples being Kasese District, Bukedea and Sironko that led to loss of property, lives and homes.

This has been common in the mountainous areas of Rwenzori, Elgon particularly in the districts of Bududa, Sironko, Mbale, Kasese, Butaleja, Buliisa, Pakwatch etc. The reduction in the agricultural yields, food insecurity as well as droughts with regular incidences of extreme temperatures has also been the raging effects of climate change. 

Climate change has also continued to affect the development gains with droughts that have caused drainages and losses. Precipitation of the country is high variable, monthly and annual precipitation has been seen to increase in some areas of the country with decreases in others. It is noted that northern and northeastern areas have realised a decrease in the rainfall patterns.

Rainfall has increased significantly over time and consistently for the western shores of Lake Victoria and the central western region.  Uganda continues to experience extreme weather patterns, which has led to landslides, floods particularly for the country’s mountainous regions and related districts. 

Uganda’s vulnerability is caused by its high level of poverty and its high dependence on climate sensitive sectors of agriculture, fisheries, tourism and forestry.  Climate change mitigation is achieved by limiting or preventing greenhouse gases by enhancing activities that remove gases from the atmosphere.

Climate mitigation can be applied across all sectors such as energy, transport, building, industry and agriculture. We should therefore do the following to mitigate climate change:

The government needs to educate, improve awareness, human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Sustainable land management. This helps to reduce flood risks, store carbon and maintain biodiversity.

There should therefore be implementation of policies that promote sustainable land management techniques such as terracing, contour farming, reforestation. These practices can help to prevent soil erosion and water retention. 

Wetland management and restoration. Conserving and restoring wetlands which play a crucial role in climate regulation and water management. There is need to develop and implement policies on climate change to the development plan of the country.

Involvement of other actors such as civil society organisations, local government, local communities who are expected to work with government to implement the strategies and policies.

Activating the local institutions, for example the district disaster management committees, environment committees, training the personnel in these institutions on their roles and responsibilities particularly on climate change in order to enhance climate change mitigation actions.

Increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy. Many people rely on solid fuels for cooking such as wood, charcoal and coal, which cause deforestation, air pollution and emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Implementing climate-smart agriculture techniques such as agro forestry, water management, crop diversification and conservation agriculture to help farmers to increase farms productivity and resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Restoration of the degraded land of natural forests since forests are carbon sink that absorb carbon and store it in soils, trees, and foliage.

Design policy and regulatory frame works that facilitate deployment, integration and trade of renewables – based energy, improve socio-economic and environmental outcomes and promote equity and inclusion.   

Modern Gumisiriza, Executive Director,  Youth for Nature Conservancy, [email protected]