Uganda now joins the rest of the continent being the latest to pass the Climate change in August 2021. With Uganda being a signatory to the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto protocol, the law will provide the force of law to these agreements on combatting climate change.
The Act will now provide mechanisms for climate change response and its accompanying institutional arrangements, measuring reporting and verification of emissions as well as financing for climate change in Uganda. The law, therefore, prioritizes some key actions for Uganda in terms of response to climate change.
In responding to climate change, Uganda has positioned herself to also respond and plan for an energy transition through prioritizing investments in clean and renewable energy, investing in green jobs, infrastructure development. Uganda has now integrated environment, renewable energy, and climate change into the new 5 year National Development Plan.
Key provisions in the law.
The Act will give force to the participation of Uganda to participate in climate change processes at all levels. By assenting to the Act, Uganda will now be in a position to develop plans and strategies to respond to climate change at the national and district levels which will then stimulate action and financing for climate action in Uganda.
Through the Act, Uganda will now be able to set up institutions to execute actions in response to climate change. The key among them is setting up the Climate change department which will execute and support the planning, implementation, and reporting of key climate actions in the country. Department will also play a critical role in the reporting of the Uganda Nationally determined contributions(NDCs).
In terms of the institutional frameworks, the Act also provides for the creation of a National Climate Change Advisory Committee to provide independent technical advice,e and clarify the responsibilities of District and local governments with respect to climate change. Uganda will also institute a judicial court in charge of climate issues to prosecute climate change issues. This also includes providing for multi-sectoral collaboration including partners the technical working group on climate change and strengthening the climate change departments as well as functionalizing the Parliamentary Forum on Climate change.
The law also clearly provides for channels and avenues of consultation with communities on climate change issues. For instance, communities will participate and give their views in multi-sectoral climate consultations. Communities also get to add their voice in the development of NDCs.The Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change also offers the opportunity to engage legislators in assessing and monitoring the climate change Act.
Monitoring and reporting of climate change commitments
As is required under the Paris agreement, Uganda’s NDCs will capture the monitoring, reporting, and verification of climate actions on mitigation, adaptation, and financing. Uganda’s participation in compliance emissions trading mechanisms; voluntary emissions trading mechanisms;non-market approaches; and cooperative approaches aimed at contributing to mitigation and supporting sustainable development as elaborated in the Paris Agreement.
The proposed law specifically provides for amendment of the public finance law to require all government ministries and agencies to specifically budget for climate change activities. These budgets will be vetted by the National Planning Authority Strengthening government institutional frameworks for adaptation and mitigation actions for approval by the Ministry of finance.
Key lessons by CSOs from engagement in the development of the Act
In the development of the Act, consultation with the public was critical. civil society also provided key input to the process at all stages. Some of the key takeaways during the engagement include:
- Strengthening consultations with all categories of stakeholders leads to the timely generation of data and content for policy formulation like the way the Ugandan government meaningfully involved all stakeholders.
- There was good coordination and engagement of key stakeholders including key interest groups and marginalized communities. This receptiveness of the government of Uganda during the development of this Act provided an opportunity for inclusiveness and success in the process.
- Climate Action requires quality tools to capture the progress of action and reporting and this informs programming.
ACCESS coalition supports Uganda in the processes and will closely with communities to enhance the capacity of the CSOs in Uganda to Act and respond to climate change. Our role will facilitate advocacy in the adoption of clean technologies and halting investments in fossil fuels. The coalition also aims to respond to the monitoring, verification and reporting components of the SDG7 and 13 as provided for in the policy documents.
ACCESS coalition supports Uganda’s action to enhance action towards responding to climate change and a just energy transition.
Ruyoka Raymond, ACCESS coalition.