Uganda: Make Innovations to Address Climate Change Effects - Government

Kampala — Government has urged Ugandans to take up innovations aimed at addressing the effects of weather changes if the growth path of the economy is to be sustained.

Gen Moses Ali, the first deputy Prime Minister, at the second national climate change symposium and expo 2019, in Kampala said there is no more debate on how climate change is affecting the economy, especially agriculture, infrastructure and health sectors.

"It is time for action which will help Uganda address climate change challenges. We recently experienced a disaster in Bududa District, where people and property were lost. This calls for urgent action more than ever before," Gen Ali said yesterday.

He said areas such as Kabale in western Uganda, did not have malaria cases but due to a warning climate, several malaria cases have been registered. "Climate change knows no boundaries. So we must act as one unit," Gen Ali said and asked the donor community to assist Uganda.

The second national climate change symposium and expo 2019 was organised by the Ministry of Water and Environment, Nation Media Group (NMG), and development partners; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), German Development Agency (GIZ) and Agricultural Business Initiative (aBi) under the theme: "Accelerating climate Actions through Innovations."

The innovations

The symposium sought to widen and diversify specific sub-themes such as gender and climate change, leveraging private sector engagement in climate action.

The green park of Africana Hotel, the host of the symposium, was splashed with innovations such as biogas technology, small irrigation systems, solar energy technologies both for lighting and flat iron product, among others.

Mr Robert Musabe, an exhibitor at the symposium, showcased his products whose raw materials are agricultural wastes that are turned around into carrier bags.

"After harvesting, we do not need to throw that waste away. Our products are from recycled banana peels, fibres. Sun dry them to come up with paper. It is the paper that we turn into carrier bags and we are supplying most supermarkets. No need to use kaveera anymore," Mr Musabe said.

Government banned kaveera because of the danger it possess to the environment.

Mr Gideon Muhindo, an exhibitor, showcased that with just two cows at your home, buying charcoal which depletes forest cover and your monthly electricity bills, will be no more if you turn to biogas technology.

"Our standard fee to construct a digester is Shs350,000 but you will have to buy your own construction materials. When you have this bio-digester you will have energy for cooking, electricity for lighting and feeds for pigs, poultry, pesticide fish and fertilisers from the bio digester," Mr Muhindo said.

Mr Tony Glencross, the managing director, Nation Media Group-Uganda, said in 2017, when the group first held the climate change symposium, adaptation to the impacts of climate change was key in the discussions.

Two years later, he said: "We are pleased that some of the recommendations reached upon are being implemented by government as the chief custodian of the environment. Some of the things being done such as restricting of entry of very old cars onto the Ugandan market is very much in line with reduction of the carbon content," he said.

"We cannot shy away from dangers that come with climate change if we can have each stakeholder playing their part. The government is so far doing fine, the development partners, it is exciting that we have some of them with us today, the civil society and every other person, we all have a role we can play to have a safer environment," Mr Glencross said.

Mr Daniel Omondo, the UNDP team leader of climate and disaster resilience, listed the support in wetland restoration, early warning systems, among others, to show commitment by the global body to help Uganda address the effects of climate change. "We commit and pledge to support government to address climate change especially its impacts on the most vulnerable people in the country," he said.

Climate change

Gas. Although Uganda emits negligible dangerous gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, they are responsible for the warming of the world and because of its few industries, it is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. This is partly because Uganda is dependent on agriculture which agriculture depends on natural factors.

However, since Uganda is fast losing her forest and wetland cover to agriculture, urbanisation and charcoal burning, its contribution to global warming cannot be taken for granted.

Development partner GIZ has been instrumental in supporting the renewable energy programmes in the country with the aim of reducing the cutting down of trees.

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