By Gerald Tenywa
Uganda and other countries counting the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are facing the bitter reality that it has failed to address climate change, experts say.
Speaking at Makerere University during a two-day conference organised by USAID on “Education and Research for Improved Adaptation to Climate Change in the Agriculture Sector”, development experts and the academia noted that countries have failed to address the issue of climate change.
The meeting attracted academicians, NGOs, media, local and central government and donors.
“MDGs did not deliver sustainable development and that is why we are talking about climate change,” said Charles Sekyebwa, a lecturer at Uganda Martyrs University.
As the World approaches 2015, the goals set by world leaders at the turn of the century to address problems afflicting the world are being assessed locally and globally.
At the same time experts are engaged in developing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a successor to the MDGs. There are eight MDGs – of these, goal number seven has a target on climate change.
Lecturer Sekyebwa warned against replacing natural systems with man-made systems, pointing out that this is likely to crash like the economic meltdown that hit the world five years ago. He pointed out that indigenous species of trees and crops are being replaced by exotic trees.
“We have been able to thrive on an enabling environment but the change from natural systems to manmade systems is not sustainable,” he said.
At the same meeting, Paul Hatanga said climate change is a complex matter that touches many aspects of governance, poverty and development. In order to address it, many aspects of development have to change, he mentioned.
Solomon Musoke who is the district environment officer for Buikwe said addressing climate change has to be made relevant to local farmers. “What is it that farmers are going to lose?”
Professor Goretti Nasanga of Makerere University said research indicates the climate change debate is based on western knowledge, which has failed to integrate indigenous knowledge.
“They are driving the agenda and we are not questioning all this,” she said.