Climate action should learn from the COVID-19 response nationally and globally. Globally and in Uganda Government’s responded urgently and suddenly through issuance of the directives and guidelines. In Uganda these were strongly enforced and have greatly contributed towards prevention of the spread of the virus in the community. Besides, even the population is very responsive in adhering to the presidential directives and MoH guidelines. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the possibility of mobilizing local action and funding ahead of foreign funding for supporting implementation of Government responses to prevent further spread of the pandemic. Thus, to date about 28 billion Uganda shillings in-kind & cash (out of the targeted 170 billion) has been mobilized into the COVID-19 National Fund. In light of these lessons, the appeal to leaders (i.e. political, technical, religious & cultural) at all levels is that similar focus, commitment and approach should be deployed in the efforts for advancing investments in climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Moving forward, progressive easement of the total lockdown should not only focus on releasing of the sectors and institutions to get back to work, as if the operating environment has not changed. The Government will provide further directives and guidelines to follow by the populace to safe guard public health and contain further spread of the virus. However, it’s important that all sectors and institutions urgently consider development and implement post COVID-19 recovery plans, strategies & budgets. However, these should be climate proofed as climate change and associated impacts are still with us and will certainly negatively affect the implementation of these plans. The guidelines for mainstreaming climate change in sector plans, programs and projects, recently developed by the Ministry of Water and Environment are a useful reference for achieving this. Details
By Dr. Joshua Zake (Ph.D.),
Executive Director, Environmental Alert.