Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo has warned that the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) will not approve funding and implementation of climate change projects in Uganda unless they meet the priorities of the National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs).
The projects would have to first be vetted and passed by the Ministry of Water and Environment together with the Uganda National Meteorology Authority (UNMA), said Justice Owiny-Dollo while presiding over the inauguration of the new board of directors of the National Planning Authority.
Justice Owiny-Dollo said the move is an effort for Uganda to step up its act in order to achieve the NAPA goals.
This has come just after climate change experts cautioned that despite Uganda developing her NAPAs in 2007 in response to the decision by the conference of the Parties (COP7), only about 50 percent of the projects in Uganda aligns with the adaptation interventions.
“The document – progress of implementation of the NAPA for Uganda – was not popularized,” said Chebet Maikut, the head of the United Nations Framework convention on climate change (UNICCC).
NAPAs identify and communicate priority interventions addressing a country’s urgent and immediate needs and concerns in regard to climate change adaptation.
NAPAs were the result of a global call made at the conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the establishment of the LDC fund to support preparation for the NAPAs in Least Developed Countries.
Delegates at the convention further requested the GEF to support the process.
According to Ms Christine Namaalwa Jjumba, a lecturer at the School of Forestry Makerere University, NAPAs are community led actions and area specific-oriented.
Ms Jjumba adds that to develop them, Uganda followed a guidelines criteria that is: the national level, the community level and urgency and immediacy.
Nine adaptation interventions projects were developed.
They include community tree planting: land degradation management; strengthening meteorological services; community water and sanitation; water for product project; drought adaptation; vectors, pests and disease control; indigenous knowledge and natural resources management as well as climate change and development.
Ms Jjumba said that priority was given to community tree growing in the highlands areas, which are prone to landslides as well as adaptation to drought in semiarid areas.
The most addressed priority areas were drought adaptation, climate change and development planning and water for production, while the least number of interventions were vectors, pests, disease control and indigenous knowledge and natural resource management.
The high number of interventions on drought adaptation was no coincidence and could be attributed to the fact that the priority areas were focusing on the drought especially those in the arid and semi-arid cattle corridor cone.
They affect the cattle corridor, lowlands, and even the Lake Victoria basin, according to Mr Maikut.
Further, development, production, and dissemination of weather and climate information including promotions of its utilization at various levels is of particular importance.
“This explains why several NAPA interventions are linked to strengthening meteorological services”, said Jjumba.
Funding for NAPA projects
Adaptation projects that are to be funded with GEF money have to be vetted and approved by UNMA.
Uganda received up to $30 million to implement her NAPAs priorities.
This money is also available to each of the 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) like Uganda under the GEF supported by the UN-FCCC.
“So far Uganda has accessed $13 million to implement some priorities of its NAPAs projects, which will make her communities stronger and more resilient”, said Maikut. $17 million more has been committed to the project.
Jjumba said there are some projects that have been implemented.
However, only 50 percent of all adaptation projects followed the NAPA guidelines.
Although adaptation projects can gain funding from other development agencies, the ones that apply for GEF monies will be obliged to be within the nine NAPA priority areas.
“The implementation framework also helps to coordinate the implementation of the NAPAs in a manner that would ensure effective utilization of available resources while avoiding duplication and stifling bureaucracy”, said Allan Bomuhangi a lecturer at the School of Forestry Makerere University.
He explained that in the framework, it is clearly stated that addressing one or more of the nine priority interventions would make a community less vulnerable to climate change and become more resilient.
Improving resilience of a community improves access to basic needs like water, food, health and educational services and also facilitates production and diversifies livelihoods of its people.