By Diana Taremwa
As Uganda’s long rainy season commences, fears are rife that the country is headed for yet again above normal rains, raising fears of possible flooding and landslides.
A disturbing reminder of the negative impacts heavy rains have had in the past, such as the two devastating floods that hit Kasese district last year , leaving close to 20 people dead, while several were displaced from their homes.
The Landslides in Bududa district that covered up five villages in Namurumba, Bushiyi and Matuwa parishes leaving 17 people badly injured and over 3,ooo people displaced.
Government was forced to spend huge amounts of money to relocate these to Masindi and Kiryandongo districts, yet this could be avoided with better climate change mitigation practices. In Masindi, these people are facing social issues, rejection, and alienation from families which has even worsened their situation.
The costly measures for responding to these climate disasters has continued to strain the country’s national budget.
These climate disasters only reinforce the need for us all to call for action on mitigate climate change.
Uganda is a member of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change and other international bodies that work to combat climate change and as thus government is taking action to address climate change although there’s more effort needed.
Recently,the National Planning Authority and the Ministry of Water and Environment issued a set of guidelines that require every government institution to allocate funds for climate change activities in their budgets and programmes. The procedures are meant to operationalise the National policy on climate change.
However, implementation of these guidelines is yet to be seen considering that the country has many good laws that always fail at implementation, nevertheless these guidelines are a good start in addressing climate change.
Government has also prioritized exploitation of its vast potential 5300MW clean renewable energy sources in a move to reduce popular traditional use of biomass energy(firewood and charcoal) blamed for depleting forest cover, contributing to green house gas emissions and exposing the country to environmental dangers.
Climate change in Uganda is a reality that every individual in their communities has a role to play to combat; we cannot carry on doing business as usual because the world will be a very different and much tougher place to survive if no action is taken. What we think of now as extreme events will become the norm.
Climate change adaptation and mitigation should be factored into all development plans so as to ensure that the impacts do not reverse decades of development progress in Uganda .
This will also draw Ugandans closer to the vision 2040 of: “A transformed Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country within 30 years.”
The writer is a programme Assistant-Renewable energy efficiency and Climate change