Environmentalists roots for Climate Change committees.

By Chris Mugasha

Following the increasing threats of Climate Change, environmentalists have asked government to form Climate Change Committees at the different levels.

Patrick Turyatunga the Sheema district natural resources officer wondered why government should wait for disasters to hit and then the current Disaster Management Committee sits to plan when the disaster has already struck.

Turyatunga said, “It’s high time we move away from postmortem approach.”

The current Disaster Management Committees especially at National and at district level only sit when disasters hit a district or a certain region. They sit only to devise means of handling the crisis that has hit.

The environmentalists observed that such Climate Change Management Committees should be empowered and assigned to; monitor issues of environmental protection/conservation in their respective areas and later give recommendations to government and other development partners. Such a committee should also monitor the human activities in communities which have triggered climate change.

The issue of climate change management committees is among the several recommendations made during the South Western region Sub National Climate outlook Forum for October-December seasonal rainfall outlook at Igongo hotel in Mbarara city recently.

Convened by Uganda National Meteology Authority (UNMA) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), it was attended by district environment officers, agriculturalists, natural resource officers, district Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) and health workers.  The theme for the event was; “Climate services for scenario planning and resilience building.”

“Efforts must be put in place to tackle climate change starting from the grassroots/villages,” said Baziri Mugyema a farmer from Kisoro district.

The environmentalists said most of the information, programs and activities concerning climate change have tended to remain in the ‘conference halls’ and amongst the elites instead of making such information trickle down to communities to reach the common person.

Environmentalists further said issues of enforcing the environmental protection policies should also be given to the UPDF since the recently established Environmental police have not acted.

Other proposals they compiled included; resettlement of people living in disaster prone areas (hilly), installing early warning systems in those disaster prone areas, constructing lightening arrestors in hilly areas and establishment of retention water bodies.

“Why should we fail to harvest such flooding water so that it irrigates our plantations during the dry season where we have seen visible crop failures in many parts of the country,” said a farmer from Sheema District.

Caption: A maize plantation in Kasese District that dried off recently due to lack of irrigation.

The trend

Lawrence Aribo a Principal meteologist at UNMA said human activities are to blame for the continued effects of climate change like global warming.

According to Aribo, everyone should get concerned and worried with the rate at which the temperatures are increasing. He warned that they (temperatures) don’t intend to decrease if interventions are not made starting from the grassroots level.

With every increment of global warming, extreme events in climate become more wide spread, Aribo said.

Aribo said that from 1991 to 2020 both the sunshine and rainfall patterns have been rapidly changing.

“From 2000 it has become to warmer and we shall burn if we are not careful,” Aribo stressed.

Anthony Kagoro a climate change specialist at Food Agriculture Organization (FAO)-Uganda said the prevailing extreme weather events should act as a pre-caution.

Dr Isaac Mugume the Director in-charge of Forecasting services called upon district leaders to use weather forecast information that UNMA always provides to plan for the districts accordingly.

Deus Bamanya a Director at UNMA told leaders that 90% of the information that UNMA provides is very reliable and should therefore guide the planning. End.

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