Uganda at COP26:
Uganda’s Approach at Greening the Economy
Despite all the ongoing debates and negotiations, the question that lingers in many peoples’ minds is: “What do all these discussions and agreements mean to the ordinary citizen who is struggling to cope with the changing weather, seasons, losses and damages to their crops, death of their animals and human diseases because of the changing climate?”
It is against this background that this COP26 side event was organised by the NDC partnership together with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Uganda. With keynote and influential speakers ranging from the Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development Hon. Matia Kasaija, the Director-General, The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) Dr. Frank Rijsberman, Ms. Janet Rogan the COP 26 Regional Ambassador for the Middle East and Africa, Dr. Jorg Linke an expert on climate change from GIZ and Dr. Pablo Vieira the Global Director, NDC Partnership Support Unit.
From the hon. minister’s speech, it was echoed that Uganda is vulnerable to climate change as the wellbeing of its people is bound to climate. The COVID 19 lockdown saw several people heavily rely on natural resources for their livelihoods as businesses were closed all over the country. The discussion from Dr. Albert Musisi a commissioner in the ministry elaborated on Uganda’s economic growth strategy that is aimed at building resilience, resurgent GDP growth, raising of per capita income, ensuring equitable distribution of income, and maintaining macroeconomic stability.
The COP26 side event -Uganda
During the discussions, there was optimism and willingness to provide more financial support to Uganda by the international community as stated by Ms. Janet Rogan who expressed her appreciation of the crosscutting approach between the Government of Uganda and the United Kingdom. This can be seen through the country’s National Development Plan III that mainstreams the climate SDGs in the nation’s planning process.
The adaptation discussions focused on the country’s goal of adaptation. Enshrined in the Paris Agreement, Uganda submitted her NDC with the goal of adaptation as a priority of the country, which depends heavily on agriculture, is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This was evidenced in the country’s priority interventions where climate finance was top on the list.
The Director-General Dr. Frank Rijsberman – GGGI gave his remarks at the event
“The NDCs submitted by 29 partner states of the GGGI has a potential to create 10 million employment opportunities if put in action. Opportunities for the vulnerable rural people are even higher as these can engage in green investments and at the same time tackle climate change,” said Dr. Frank Rijsberman the Director-General, GGGI. He went on and emphasized the need to engage young people in green businesses such as briquette making from agricultural and solid waste as these are cost-effective. It was also emphasized that the involvement of the private sector is key in climate finance as consensual funding may not fully address the financing gap that is being faced in developing countries. As such, more discussions with the private sector should also be prioritized to secure additional funding by developing countries.
At the climax of the event, Uganda was congratulated on integrating climate into the country’s development plans and recognizing the need for its macro-economic recovery and inclusive growth strategy for the country. It was good news at the end to hear that from this COP26 deliberations, a delivery plan had been put in place to improve access to climate finance for developing countries like Uganda. This was announced by Mr. Juvenal Muhumuza a commissioner with the ministry.
“Climate change does not respect borders; it does not respect who you are – rich and poor, small and big. Therefore, this is what we call global challenges, which require global solidarity,” shared Ban Ki-Moon, President of the Assembly and Chair of the GGGI Council and 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations.