Human induced climate change has the potential to halt or reverse Uganda’s development achievements. During the coming decades Uganda’s agricultural households will continue to face significant challenges, including a deteriorating natural resource base and eroding ecosystem services, and reduced access to land due to a rapidly rising population – in addition to the ongoing threats of conflict and economic crisis. While fully recognizing the importance of all of these factors, this assessment focuses on the additional pressure that Uganda’s agricultural households will face as a result of current and potential future impacts of climate change.

Climate change could also significantly increase hazards to the survival, dignity and livelihoods of individuals, particularly the poor and vulnerable as well as hard-won development gains. Natural and manmade disasters are increasingly a global concern; as their impact in one region can have a significant impact on another. Climate change could lead to regional insecurity through increased poverty and migration, as well as heightened competition over strategic resources such as water.

Uganda’s Vision 2040 calls for development of appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies on climate change to ensure that Uganda is sufficiently cushioned from any adverse impacts. The National Development Plan III provides for a development program focusing on Climate Change, Natural Resources, Environment and Water Management. The program goal is to stop and reverse environment and natural Resources degradation as well as the effects of climate change on economic growth and livelihood security. Under this program, climate change mitigation and environment management are highlighted as critical to achievement of increased household incomes and improvement of quality of life. At HELP Uganda, our activities on climate change include:

Carrying out awareness-raising activities
Promotion of recycling other than dumping
Promotion of energy saving strategies; modern energy saving stoves
Assisting CBOs and communities to formulate and implement projects related to climate change and biodiversity conservation

Uganda is one of the most bio-diverse countries in Africa, with biodiversity distributed across both terrestrial and aquatic habitats in diverse landscapes. Uganda is experiencing declining size and condition of key biodiversity habitats consisting of natural forests, wetlands, savannah woodlands, and grasslands. From 2000 to 2015, natural forests areas reduced by 80%. This trend has implications for biodiversity conservation since forests house over 60% of Uganda’s species.

Climate change effects that manifeste through increase in temperatures or changes in rainfall intensity, distribution, and patterns are likely to have a direct effect on ecosystem functions, services, and species distribution and survival.

The major drivers for degradation are high woody biomass energy demand, agriculture, settlements and infrastructure development, coupled with inadequacy in implementation, compliance and enforcement. Charcoal production, a major contributor of deforestation is escalating as a result of the high electricity cost.

Poor and vulnerable people typically live in rural areas, have large families, and derive their income predominantly from farming, with high dependency on natural resources. Recent studies indicate that subsistence farmers are the biggest threat to climate change.
Uganda is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa and the third largest worldwide and is hosting over 1.3 million refugees and asylum-seekers. The presence of refugees has added to existing pressure on the environment and natural resources, leading to an increase in degradation of terrestrial biodiversity habitats.