President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said Uganda is committed to ensuring sustainable use of the environment and natural resources, saying these are at the heart of sustainable development and essential for development and socio-economic transformation. economies, ecosystem health and human survival.
Officiating at the closing of the 3-day Inter-Ministerial Conference on Migration, Environment and Climate Change in Munyonyo, Kampala, H.E. Museveni noted that issues concerning migration, environment and climate change are not new to Uganda and the people, the majority of whom are vulnerable with limited ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change, have continued to experience an increase in the frequency and intensity of floods, droughts and landslides associated with the impacts of climate change.
“In 2010, we had to relocate and resettle around 3,000 people from the Mount Elgon sub-region, from Bududa district in eastern Uganda to Kiryandongo district in western Uganda after their homes were devastated by the landslides of March 1, 2010,” Museveni said. said.
According to President Museveni, Africa is disproportionately susceptible to the impact of climate change, resulting in the loss of lives and livelihoods from damage caused by climate change-related disasters.
He said East Africa and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other African countries are highly dependent on natural resources which must be protected at all times.
“Climate change and weather conditions put our communities, agriculture, health, water supply, hydropower generation, road infrastructure and housing at risk and make us more vulnerable. We cannot afford to do nothing,” Museveni said.
He reaffirmed the commitment of African countries to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063, affirming that adaptation to climate change is key to coping with the impact of climate change at all levels, including addressing loss and damage and increasing the resilience of communities, infrastructure and ecosystems.
“No country can meet the challenge of climate change alone. We must work together to increase adaptive capacities while minimizing the negative impact of climate-related displacement and involuntary migration,” he added.
President Museveni rallied delegates to protect wetlands and plant more trees in their respective countries to guard against environmental disasters.
He added that wetlands, forests and open water bodies in Uganda contribute 40% of the rain the country receives, while 60% of the rain comes from the oceans.
He said parts of West Nile in Uganda receive more rain partly because of the wetlands in South Sudan and the forests in Congo.
“So by interfering with forests and wetlands, we ourselves destroy 40% of the rainfall in those areas. So, countries of the great lakes, you really have to be careful! Here in Uganda, I am waging war to make sure no one farms in the wetland.
The president again advised farmers to stop growing rice in the swamps as economic activity has a negative impact on the environment.
“The marshes are tributaries of the Nile. So when you grow rice in the swamps, you are committing a very big crime. And it’s us, not the Europeans. This must stop! Museveni warned.
HE Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of South Sudan who also addressed the conference, praised climate adaptation measures and called on countries to devote more resources to financing climate change.
He said that the government of South Sudan has submitted its national adaptation plan to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The three-day Regional Inter-Ministerial Conference on Migration, Environment and Climate Change aimed to raise awareness of the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on human mobility, ahead of the 27th Session of the Conference of the United Nations Parties on Climate Change (COP27) which will take place in Egypt from 7 to 18 November.
The conference held under the theme: “Enhancing cooperation in relation to climate change induced human mobility, including migration, displacement and planned relocation” was also addressed by the Executive Secretary of IGAD, HE Eng. Mahboub Maalim, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Mr. Ovais Sarmad and the Egyptian Ambassador to Uganda, HE Ashraf Mohamed Nabhan, among others.
The conference also saw heads of ministerial delegations sign and adopt the Kampala Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change, an important step in addressing and responding to the impact of climate on migration, displacement and human mobility.
It attracted high-level representatives from countries such as Burundi, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda. The others were Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania.
The East and Horn of Africa is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate variability and change.
The region regularly faces a wide range of natural hazards and slow-onset events and processes leading to different forms of human mobility (displacement, migration, return and planned relocation).