13 November 2007

Uganda: Climate Change Increases Early Marriages - Report

Kampala — CLIMATE change has been blamed for increasing social problems such as early marriages, a report has stated.

"In times of food crisis, some parents distressfully marry off their daughters to secure dowry for survival," said the report launched by the environment state minister, Jessica Eriyo, at Fairway Hotel in Kampala yesterday.

"In some cases, women and men elope to avoid famine and poverty. Some rich men are often ready to take young women," noted the report, funded by the UN environment agency, UNDP, Global Environment Facility and Environment Alert.

The report titled: "Climate Change: Uganda National Adaptation Programmes of Action," stated that climate change increases early marriages, leads to high school dropout rates and exposes people to sexually transmitted infections.

It identified 'famine marriages' as one of the measures employed by people to address the impact of climate change.

'Famine marriages' take place during dry and festive seasons, where families marry off their daughters in order to reduce on the number of people to feed and to obtain money and gifts paid in form of dowry.

The report also identified bush-burning, carried out by pastoralists in order to improve pastures.

Other measures to cope with climate change, the report stated, include the migration of pastoralists, encroachment on wetlands, hunting of wild birds and animals and the reduction of the number of meals taken by households.

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