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Govt Urged To Invest In Climate Change Mitigation

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Henry Sekanjako

The Government has been asked to increase funding towards climate change interventions for improved protection of the environment.

In the coming financial year (2023/24), the Government has allocated sh30b for the restoration of the environment. However stakeholders say this is not enough.

“Much as the Government of Uganda has proposed to allocate sh30b specifically for restoration of the environment through tree planting, additional funding should be allocated to strengthen other climate change interventions country wide,” said the members of the civil society movement under their body umbrella Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) in their statement to Parliament on Tuesday.

The position paper was in response to the FY 2023/24 ministerial policy statements to the Parliament’s committee on environment and natural resource.

The CSOs recommended that the Government, through the finance ministry, allocates additional sh1.5b to effectively conduct a resurvey and demarcate the encroached forest land.

Quoting the ministerial policy statements for the financial year 2023/24 for the Ministry of Water and Environment, the CSOs noted that restoration of the environment through tree planting requires sh20b for raising tree seedlings and sh10b for unpaid certificates for seedlings already supplied.

According to the CSOs, the budget committee report on the national budget framework paper 2023/24 also indicated a funding gap of sh1.5b that has partly limited the National Forestry Authority from fulfilling its mandate of resurveying and demarcating the encroached forest land.

“Partly, it has exacerbated the giveaway of some forests land like Bugoma forest reserve to private entities of Hoima Sugar Limited and MZ agencies for sugarcane growing,” Jeff Wadulo, a member of CSBAG, told MPs.

The CSOs expressed concern that continued loss of forest cover exacerbates the already severe weather patterns in form of prolonged droughts and floods.

CSBAG, however, commended the Government of Uganda, for issuing of financing climate change in compliance with the National Climate Change Act, 2021, provisions on climate change financing.

This, according to the CSOs, will ensure that ministries, departments and agencies’ (MDAs) workplans and budgets are climate change-responsive before the final approval of the budget processes.

Commenting on inadequate financing for climate change, the MPs implored CSBAG to propose ways of revenue generation by the Government to fund underfunded areas like climate change interventions.

“I want to implore civil society organizations to help in the area of resource envelope. Can you help the Government and advise on how to raise the resource envelope,” said Paul Akamba (Busiki county).

According to the legislators, there is need to go beyond agitating for increasing funding, but also fund ways on how to widen the tax base for improved funding of different programmes, including climate change interventions.

 Bunghoko County MP John Faith Magolo said: “About the inadequate funding towards climate change, what is your way forward, now that funding has not been provided?”

The shadow minister for environment Christian Kaaya Nakimwero ( Kiboga district) also added: “ Advise us on how we can raise funds particularly for climate change financing. How best can we tap into these resources?”

The MPs also appealed to the CSOs to follow up on issues of climate change to ensure that MDAs adhere to the climate change issues in their day-to-day activities.

In their position paper, the CSOs also raised concern over the delayed operationalization of the National Environment Fund.

They recommended that the Government  fast-tracks the allocation of 50% of the environmental levy as recommended by Parliament to ENR institutions to fulfill their mandates.

The fund is expected to constitute of monies from various sources, including disbursements from the government, environmental levies, fees charged for the use of environmental resources, fines and gifts.

The CSOs also appealed to the Government to increase financing for land administration and management structures by allocating enough resources to build capacity of land administration structures from $1.8m (sh6.8b) to $3.6m (sh.13.6b)

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