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Climate change in Uganda: Understanding the implications and appraising the response

  • Goulden, M.
  • Hepworth, N.
  • Summary
Uganda's climate is naturally variable and susceptible to flood and drought events which have had negative socio-economic impacts in the past. Human induced climate change is likely to increase average temperatures in Uganda by up to 1.5 ºC in the next 20 years and by up to 4.3 ºC by the 2080s. Such rates of increase are unprecedented. Changes in rainfall patterns and total annual rainfall amounts are also expected but these are less certain than changes in temperature. The climate of Uganda may become wetter on average and the increase in rainfall may be unevenly distributed and occur as more extreme or more frequent periods of intense rainfall. Regardless of changes in rainfall, changes in temperature are likely to have significant implications for water resources, food security, natural resource management, human health, settlements and infrastructure. In Uganda, as for the rest of the world, there are likely to be changes in the frequency or severity of extreme climate events, such as heat waves, droughts, floods and storms. There is a strong case and demand from donors, government and civil society for DFID Uganda to engage on climate change issues. It is recommended that DFID Uganda respond to the challenges with a programme of support which combines technical assistance, strategic advice and coordination with a watching brief to monitor progress and changing needs in the dynamic institutional environment around climate change. This should be supported with adequate funding to resource the meeting of priority needs as they emerge, to support civil-society’s research and advocacy role and to contribute to the costs of adaptation actions on the ground. Such a programme fits well with wider DFID and UK-HMG policy and objectives around climate change. DFID should also undertake to screen their country portfolio to assess potential for integrated action on climate change issues and to ensure that it isn’t inadvertently contributing to increased vulnerability. It should also look to galvanise political leadership at a senior level within Uganda, consider the efficacy of donor coordination processes on the issue and support a research prioritisation exercise to focus international research effort to supporting Uganda’s needs. Careful collaboration with donor partners and government will be needed to align DFID engagement with existing initiatives. Based on discussions during the scoping mission, DFID engagement on the issue would be universally welcomed.
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    LTSInternational, Edinburgh (Scoping Mission for DFID Uganda, July 2008 http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/uganda-climate-change.pdf)