Climate change is one of the greatest challenges affecting the world today. As the world’s climate changes and continues to change at rates unprecedented in recent human history, it is true that the impacts and risks related with these changes are existent.
Also in Uganda these changes are already influencing many systems essential for human livelihood, including water resources, food security and health. This causes a great challenge for sustainability of life, ecosystems, livelihoods and indeed the development of the economy in Uganda. Accordingly there is need to adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change as well as to facilitate the development of techniques that can assist increase resilience to the climate change impacts.
Uganda is one of the countries that are greatly vulnerable to climate change impacts, in respect of climate variability including increasing temperatures, increased frequency and intensity of rainfall, heat waves, droughts, floods and storms. The regions and ecosystems across the country, like the mountain regions, the lowlands and the cattle corridor, differ in their vulnerability and adaptive capacity. In general the sectors most vulnerable to climate change impacts are agriculture, water supply, health, transport, housing and personal safety and security.
The economy and the well being of the people of Uganda are tightly bound to climate, especially because over 80% of the population is rural and depending on rain fed agriculture, that is prone to impacts of climate variability. The climate change and variability in the coming century will inflate the frequency and intensity of extreme weathers events and has the potential to halt or reverse the country’s development trajectory. In particular this will reveal in increased food insecurity, shift in the spread of diseases like malaria, soil erosion and land degradation followed by landslides, flood damage to infrastructure as well as settlement and in lower productivity of agriculture and natural resources. The events of the past years clearly illustrated the magnitude of the problem. In Uganda the frequency of droughts has increased. An increase in intensities and frequency of heavy rains, floods and landslides as well as outbreaks of associated waterborne diseases with the floods were also observed. It will be the poor and vulnerable who will feel the increase of these impacts the hardest.
In line with the need of the country to address these impacts and the international commitments of Uganda the government addresses the problem and developed adaptation activities and programmes. The more active Uganda will be, the less it will cost and the better equipped Uganda will be to cope with future changes. Successful forward planning – not just responding to emergency situations – will ensure life and development sustainability. Hence adaptation needs to be integrated into good development practice so that development and adaption actions become mutually reinforcing.