Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Memorable quotes at Climate Change African Initiative Congress in Uganda

Some memorable quotes on climate change at the African Initiative Congress held in Uganda.

By Esther Nakkazi

I too have attended so many conferences but this one is different, the excitement in this hall.... never have I seen so many people raise their hands to ask questions and contribute or place yellow cards on the information boards, this has truly been a new model of participation; John English the Executive director CIGI.

We should build capacities of communities at risk and strengthen knowledge sharing to tap into the indigenous knowledge. Stories from the vulnerable communities are very useful; Gilbert a presenter from Kenya.

May be to solve climate change Uganda should reduce on the number of vehicles in the country? They consume fuel and emit gasses;A female participant.
We could explore cars that use water but not to ban cars all together; responded a participant.

Some of the climate change adaptation strategies include marrying off young girls to older men. Some family do it in order to survive hunger.  If Egypt is using the water (from River Nile that has its source in Uganda) why shouldn’t we also use this water? Participant from eastern Uganda.

If a wetland is not gazetted it is still a wetland and should not be reclaimed; official from National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

We have increased prevalence of HIV because of climate change. In my district (Busia) - we have rural-urban migration due to climate change. When people move to the town, they get new partners but still go back to their wives in the villages, which creates a social network with many partners to facilitate spread of HIV; Busia environment officer.

There are some good things that are happening because of climate change but they are never talked about. For instance in Arua mango trees are fruiting twice as a result of climate change; Participant from Arua district:

We need to differentiate between the impact of climate change and environmental degradation. The former exuberates climate change. They are equally terrible. Kabale’s temperatures were 9 degrees Celsius in the 1960’s and the mist used to dissipate at midday. It is now dissipating at 9.00am. What else do we need to see to believe climate change; NEMA official.

When I fly I always see clouds foaming on forests but they are not on buildings. There was a company that came to parliament to sell solar lanterns most of my colleagues just passed by not interested at all; Jessica Eriyo, state minister for environment.

How are we going to transfer resources from polluters to non-polluters. We should talk about how this is going to be achieved and not leave it to politicians; Dr. Richard Taylor, Department of Geography, University College of London.

We formed the parliamentary forum on climate change for Members of Parliament who have a passion for it. As a committee on natural resources we thought issues of climate change would be lost to more pressing issues like oil, energy and minerals. This kind of forum is intended to bring people together and supposed to use their expertise on issues of climate change.

We might be the first parliament in Africa to form this kind of committee. Uganda holds the chair of the African Union committee on climate change. We have the moral obligation to not only set the pace but an initiative to form the first proactive forum for parliamentarians on climate change in Africa. We are doing this so that our brothers in other African parliaments follow suit.Winnie Matsiko, Member of Parliament.

We need to streamline and integrate climate change into our school curriculums. There is no institution or faculty in Uganda offering climate change courses. We can do more to strengthen the educational responses to this so that the issues of environmental change and climate change are part of us; Student participant.

Tree planting is an expensive investment. It is very hard to motivate everyone to plant trees. Those who have planted trees are going to be billionaires in the next decade.We want to formulate a policy on tree planting. It is an expensive venture but we want to scale it up and also set up a tree fund; Jessica Eriyo.

We have created a dialogue, which should be emulated in our districts. As people go to Copenhagen to seal the deal just know that we have sealed the deal because right now we have exchanged ideas and agreed to work together: Prof Nelson Sewankambo, the chairman African Initiative.

This is a major landmark in the history of Africa, climate change and in Uganda. We have each benefited. It is rare to have a conference full to the end and an attentive audience. This shows the importance of the topic and the problem; Jessica Eriyo.

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