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Parliament forms new committee on Climate Change, outlines plan to save forests,wetlands

He said the committee will do among others roles to scrutinize the bill presented before parliament in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Coordinate parliamentary activities related to climate change, Make recommendations to parliament on legal and institutional mechanisms to address climate change and to provide a link between parliament and other institutions in mitigating the effects of climate change as well as fast tracking the efforts of ensuring proper land use management and planning, reducing wetland encroachment and reducing substances that can deplete the natural ozone layer.

By:Nasser Kasozi

The new parliamentary standing committee on climate change has unveiled its plan of action where it will engage with government and stakeholders to come up with alternative means of development not to consider destroying forest cover and degrading the environment that might lead our beautiful pearl to a desert.

Addressing the media at parliament on their inaugural press briefing committee chairperson Lawrence Biyika Songa representitive of Ora County said as a committee, they will put up a spirited fight against forest giveaways work with stakeholders conserve and save all forests and natural resources in the country including wetlands, forests like Bugoma and Zoka that are now threatened by human activities.

“This committee is going to work hand in hand with other committees such as the Committee on Natural Resources to conserve our environment, Bugoma is one of our natural resources and we shall within our means do our best to save that forest and many others like Zoka,” Songa said.

In the exercise of its functions under article 90(1) of the constitution of the republic of Uganda, parliament on 23rd of May 2019, constituted a committee to specially deal with climate change issues in the country.

And accordingly rule 182A of the parliamentary rules of procedure, which created the committee, gave it specific functions to do oversight on responsiveness of government to matters of climate change, its mitigation and adaptation.

For the first time in the history of Uganda parliament a standing committee to oversee climate change issues is established of course to work in liaison with other committee including that of natural resources.

Lawrence Biyika songa said the committee will do among others roles to scrutinize the bill presented before parliament in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Coordinate parliamentary activities related to climate change, Make recommendations to parliament on legal and institutional mechanisms to address climate change and to provide a link between parliament and other institutions in mitigating the effects of climate change as well as fasttracking the efforts of ensuring proper land use management and planning, reducing wetland encroachment and reducing substances that can deplete the natural ozone layer.

“We must have a healthy ecosystem and this can be achieved through adaptation and mitigation by planting more trees and using effective and proper land use management and come up with solutions to absorb and reduce carbon dioxide emissions and maintaining the green cover on the earth without necessarily injuring the economy,” Songa said.

MP Songa said that the climate change committee will oversee and advise the government on many alternative investment options that do not have negative impact on climate and where possible a feasibility study and a cost-benefit analysis must be conducted to ascertain the comparative advantage of the investment vis-a-vis the impact on climate change and the eco system.

Mulindwa Soozi committee member and representative of Lugazi Municipality said that, as a standing committee need to use our natural resources to build our economy and we must use it wisely because you may build one sector and destroy another which will give you a lot of money. “We are going to reevaluate and assess the activities of the government. We shall also revisit these forests and ensure we protect and adapt accordingly,” Isaac Mulindwa said.

The committee among other mandates MPs want the government to focus on the 17 Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) most of who relate to climate change.

“It will be very important for the country to focus on these goals because the climate effect can crash the economy within a short time. We need to mainstream climate change in all sectors of the economy,”

Mulindwa Soozi said Uganda needs to have well planned smart cities with eco friendly plans built to perfection with forest covering the green and reduce substances that will deplete the natural ozone layer.

He added that, if forests are destroyed there will be no water to run into rivers and that means power generation and electricity will drastically get affected and of course this is an adverse effect to the economy.

To reduce climate change disaster Uganda has ratified on many treaties and conventions passed laws and even led campaigns to plant trees and reduce the adverse effects of climate change.

The government will soon table the Climate Change Bill, 2019 that seeks to regulate human activities on natural resources to avert the dangerous effects of climate change in the country and more so the tree planting fund act will also be tabled to address the negative effects of climate including the environmental degradation and help to greening of the planet.

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