AFRICA - The UK has announced a £250m (about sh1trillion) direct aid investment to support programmes on climate and the environment in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In partnership with African governments and institutions, the aid seeks to increase resilience and support the transition of countries to low carbon economies.
The funding will also help build technical expertise across a range of sectors to deal with the devastating impacts of climate change; and moving to clean energy sources.
“We are facing a global climate emergency. Polluted air, rising sea levels, and increasing temperatures are felt by everyone in the world,” the International Development Secretary, Rory Stewart said.
“We must all play our part to protect the environment, wildlife, vulnerable families and communities - and this includes investing in renewable energy,” Stewart added.
A statement from the British High Commission in Kampala noted that climate change is the most challenge facing future generations – over the next century.
“Increasing temperatures and extreme weather across Africa will have a profound impact on the lives and livelihoods of communities, with potentially devastating consequences for regional stability, developmental progress, and future prosperity,” the statement noted.
In Uganda, there is an average annual temperature increase of 1.3oC, according to the Ministry of Water and Environment statistics. The country is predicted to experience temperature increases of 2.5 to 3.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.
In the last 20 years, western, northern and north-eastern regions of Uganda experienced more frequent and longer-lasting periods of drought.
Notably, between 1992 and 2000 there were seven meteorological droughts in the Karamoja region.
Rainfall patterns have also changed. For instance, March – April 2019 was unusually dry, while June-July, which are normally dry have had rains.
Speaking about ongoing climate resilience projects for Uganda, Tom Sengalama, Climate Change Adviser for DFID Uganda said: “UK Aid funds the Karamoja Nutrition Programme to treat moderately acute and severe acute malnutrition amongst children. An increase in malnutrition in dry conditions exacerbates malnutrition in an already vulnerable population that relies on scarce natural resources.”
Sengalama added: “The programme has a strong nutrition focus, and it contributes to building community resilience through a stronger health system that can deliver for the most vulnerable. In the coming years, the programme will strengthen the so-called early warning systems, these mechanisms help signalling a worsening situation at the onset, to be able to act early in response.”
UK Aid is also supporting renewable energy, such as solar, in Uganda, under the programme dubbed GET FiT.
“With an installed capacity of 158MW of renewable energy, the UK Aid backed programme has so far contributed 87MW of renewable energy to the national grid and generated 8,568 jobs,” Sengalama said
African nations are responsible for just 2-3% of global emissions, according to the statement.
“But the continent is set to be the worst affected by the devastating impacts of climate change – from changing weather patterns which reduce crop yields to natural disasters which threaten communities and livelihoods,” the statement added.
Globally, the UK has committed to providing at least £5.8 billion of International Climate Finance from 2016-2020 to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.
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