Uganda: Press Brief by Hon Minister of Water and Environment, on the Pollution of Lake Victoria (20.02.2020)

Opinion: Hon. Cheptoris the people complain, because your not doing your job

 

“When I hear people complaining that our houses are being washed away by floods, I wonder! Floods have no eyes that when they are moving, they are looking for their homes. We are experiencing frequent flooding and loss of property, prolonged drought, drying of springs and wells because we have degraded our wetlands” – Minister of Water and Environment Sam Cheptoris (Irene Abalo Otto – ‘You’re to blame for devastating effects of floods, minister tells Ugandans’ 30.01.2020, Daily Monitor).

Some people shouldn’t quit their day-job, he should have continued with whatever he did before politics. Before he ever accepted the nomination and the opportunity to serve as an Minister in Government. Because your not cutting it, when your blaming the public for putting up structures. When your government clearly haven’t studied, gotten the public educated nor the ones allowing for the building to happen in the first place.

The reasons for the landslides aren’t only in wetlands, it is plenty of other reasons too. To much rain, to little safe areas and no education of the villages that get taken by the rain. Not like the public can just move and get shelter elsewhere. They got to get help and educated by the state. However, the state cannot afford, nor are they designing structures to resilience against the landslides nor the flooding in general.

That is the job of the Ministry and the ones involved in the Disaster Preparedness. Even with some help from the Office of the Prime Minister should help to resolve something too. But, it is much easier to throw the people under the bus.

I will quote one study, just to prove the ignorance of the presiding Minister.

PLOS Research Article from 2016 states this: “This study reveals that failure to overcome the effects to landslides and floods in disaster prone communities of Uganda are mainly due to deep rooted links to poverty, culture and unsatisfactory knowledge. Good farming practices and support from the government and implementation partners were shown to be effective in enabling the community to resist the effects disasters. This calls for support in designing more focused interventions targeting reduction of these underlying factors as well as involvement of all stakeholders in scaling the effective coping strategies in order to build resilience in this community and other similarly affected areas” (PLOS – ‘Coping Strategies for Landslide and Flood Disasters: A Qualitative Study of Mt. Elgon Region, Uganda’ 11.07.2016).

Since the study is about 4 years old, it is surely is relevant today. It shows the weaknesses in the stakeholders and within the government. That will all the occurring landslides and flooding, have not abided to it. They have not invested nor tried to comprehend the scale of an operation to help the ones in need nor build the strategies for resilience. It is easier to pin the people who build structures, than the ones who allow them and the ones who earn funds on building it.

The Minister should consider that. Not expect it. Since he could easily say this today. He might say something similar tomorrow. Peace.

New Study Finds Worrying Climate Trend in Karamoja Over Last 35 Years (20.03.2017)

Released in Kampala today, the ‘Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security and Livelihoods in Karamoja’ found that temperatures have been rising in Karamoja over the last 35 years.

KAMPALA, Uganda, March 20, 2017 – A new study carried out by the Government of Uganda and its partners has found a new weather pattern that threatens to worsen food insecurity in the Karamoja region if no action is taken.

The study found that the average monthly rainfall in the region increased over the last 35 years and that the rainy season is now longer by two months. However, the rains – which now fall from around March to the end of the year – increasingly varied in volumes. This unpredictability was found to undermine agricultural production, thereby threatening to aggravate food insecurity in Karamoja.

Released in Kampala today, the ‘Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security and Livelihoods in Karamoja’ found that temperatures have been rising in Karamoja over the last 35 years.

The rising temperatures threaten to increase the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves in the region, therefore reducing availability of water for crops and animals. This too undermines food security.

A large majority of people in Karamoja, particularly women, were not aware that changes to the climate had been taking place over decades, the study states. However, most of the people that had perceived changes to the climate had not taken any action to adapt, typically because they did not know how to do so. Where trees were planted as an adaptation measure, the sale of charcoal and firewood were also a common measure that people took in response to climate-related crop failure.

Sponsored by the Swedish Government, the study was carried out in 2016 by the Ministry of Water and Environment with support from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the CGIAR Consortium’s Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.

The Uganda Minister for Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris, said today, “These are significant findings that threaten any hope for Uganda achieving its Vision 2040 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), if no immediate action is taken.”

Cheptoris said that his Ministry was already calling for a national and regional response, advocating for climate change sensitive approaches across all Government sectors, educating the population about climate change, and undertaking emissions profiles.

“Karamoja’s population is heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture, which is highly vulnerable to climate change,” said El Khidir Daloum, WFP Country Director for Uganda. “However, little has been known previously about the impacts of climate change on food security, and in particular, the ability of households in the region to adapt.”

WFP hopes that the findings and recommendations of the study will contribute to efforts toward appropriate adaptation measures while helping to identify policies that will safeguard the most vulnerable communities in Karamoja.

The study recommended that the Government and its partners increase investments in water harvesting and agroforestry schemes, education of the people, improved access to climate change information and the cultivation of drought-resistant crop varieties.

Within the Ministry of Water and Environment, the study was carried out by the Climate Change Department and the Uganda National Meteorological Authority.