In the wake of Africa’s Climate Week 2021, Members of Parliament have called upon Government to embrace integrated approaches for climate-resilient development in Uganda.
The legislators also expressed concern over how natural resources were being managed in the country and their effect on climate and environmental sustainability.
According to the Chief Opposition Whip, John Baptist Nambeshe, Africa has become a dumping ground for the industrialized countries that are held responsible for almost three-quarters of global warming and environmental pollution, which has exacerbated the case of climate change on the Continent.
“The question of climate change is a global challenge that Africa has now concentrated its effort and attention, which is very important. However, the fundamental question that we should ask is how much is Africa contributing to the climate change challenge,” Nambeshe wondered.
The MPs were reacting to the revelation by the State Minister for Environment, Beatrice Anywar, that Uganda will virtually host the 2021 Africa Climate Week between September 27 and 29, 2021.
Anywar told the plenary sitting on August 25, 2021, that the high level climate change meeting will be held under the theme, “Partnering for transformation towards a low – carbon climate resilient and prosperous Africa; Managing risks, seizing opportunities.”
She said the event was meant to have taken place at Munyonyo Common Wealth Resort in March last year, however, it was postponed due to the COVID 19 pandemic outbreak.
She noted that the total cost of the week-long conference as of March 2020 was estimated at approximately Sh6.5b of which the Government of Uganda was expected to mobilize about Sh2.7b and the rest of the budget would be met by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other Development Partners.
Anywar pointed out that the event would raise the country’s profile, provide an avenue for regional discussions on Climate Change, facilitate the understanding of climate change policies and negotiation, promote collaboration between several organizations, engage women and youth leaders in climate action, boost the tourism among other benefits.
The Youth MP Northern region Boniface Okot informed the House the Youth Leadership in the country led by the Youth MPs and National Youth Council on 12th August 2021 ” International Youth Day” committed to planting 60 Million trees by 2025 to deal with the adverse challenges of Climate Change.
The Nakawa West legislator Joel Ssenyonyi raised concern over the drastic decline of the forest cover in Uganda. He challenged the government to champion integrated approaches for climate-resilient development.
“We normally have these big conferences and the real tangible value for them is not recognized. In 1900, our forest cover was at 54%. It has reduced to 12.4% as of 2017. If this trend continues, by 2040 we shall have zero forest cover. That worries me,” said Ssenyonyi.
Pius Wakabi Rujumba, MP Bugahya, Hoima district challenged the State Minister of Ministry of Water and Environment Beatrice Atim Anywar who she referred to as “Maama Mabira” to take action against encroachers of forests and wetlands.
“When I was at Makerere University we used to call Minister Anywar “Maama Mabira” because she fought hard to save Mabira forest. I don’t know what happened to her. Right now individuals are destroying Bugoma Forest yet she is on the steering wheel and nothing is being done,” said Wakabi.
Kalungu West MP, Joseph Ssewungu appealed to the government to consider reducing the cost of electricity to encourage the public to use power as opposed to firewood.
“The population is growing, but the cost of power is going high yet the government has invested a lot of money in building new dams,” he added.
The Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah urged the Members to encourage their public about the need and importance of tree planting. He told the MPs to encourage children to embrace tree planting so that they grow up with an attitude of tree planting
“The issues of environment are critical. When we don’t respond to what nature desires, it speaks out. It speaks out through landslides, floods, rising water levels and all kind of things, so when nature speaks silently, we must listen and take action,” said Oulanyah.