Uganda, like the rest of the world, continues to face significant climate change challenges which affects the natural resources, far-reaching effects on human beings and the environment. In 2008, Members of the 8th Parliament formed the Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change‐Uganda (PFCC‐U) to respond to the pressing environmental, social and economic issues presented by Climate Change.
On Wednesday, 14 August 2019, a Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change was officially launched and it will be chaired by Hon. Lawrence Biyika Songa. The standing committee will scrutinize all bills related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, make recommendations to Parliament on legal and institutional mechanisms to address climate change among other mandates.
The Committee which was initially formed earlier in May 2019 seeks to interact with all stakeholders mainly line ministries, departments and agencies of government on climate change, civil society organizations, private sector and development partners that champion climate change.
The chairperson of the committee assured Ugandans that the committee will treat the matter of climate change as a national emergency and employ a strict code of operation to enforce compliance with guidelines set in the law. He further added that the noble task to restore our environment is one they are dedicated to achieve.
When asked on the impact of refugees to the environment in refugee hosting communities where they cut down trees for domestic use, he told the meeting that they will work with Refugee agencies to ensure that tree planting exercises are introduced.
Hon. Isaac Mulindwa Ssozi, a member of the Committee, hinted on land use and sand mining which is degrading the environment. He said that laws that are in line with mining do not recognize sand as a mineral and implored the committee to look into this.
The committee will resurrect the Tree Fund that was established in the Forest and Tree Planting Act 2003 but is not functional. The desertification rate in Uganda is appalling, in 1990, the forest cover was at 24% and now, it’s estimated to be at 11% according to the committee report.