The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has appealed to youth to pick interest and take charge in the fight against climate change in Uganda.
Kadaga was speaking at a stakeholders’ breakfast meeting on the forthcoming UN-African Youth Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals, Friday, 21st April 2017 at Parliament.
Kadaga was impressed with the outstanding and active participation of young people under the Youth Go Green foundation at the COP22 – UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco in November last year, which earned Uganda an opportunity to host the conference in August 2017.
“I urge the government and especially the youth to embrace the conference much as it was not been budgeted for. We have a few months to prepare and we ask for all the support,” the Speaker said.
Kadaga said despite the drought and famine in some parts of the country, young people should demonstrate resilience in addressing these challenges, which are as a result of climate change.
“We have had a drought and an unpredictable weather. We do not know when it will rain. This is worrying to farmers especially for a country that heavily relies on agriculture,” Kadaga said adding, “I want to see the youth take charge and move to the field to do whatever it takes to save the climate.”
The Speaker said there will be a UN-SDG run as a climax event of the Conference from which the proceeds will be used to start nursery gardens in select primary and secondary schools.
The Minister of State for Environment, Hon. Mary Goretti Kitutu, thanked the youth for their initiatives and dedication in addressing the negative effects of climate change at the past COP22 conference in Marrakesh.
Kitutu said there is more youth can do to preserve the environment despite the fact that Uganda gives off the least emissions and yet is heavily impacted.
“I would love to see the youth team in action in the field making a difference. I have mobilised 40,000 trees to be planted in Kamuli and invite all the youth to join us in the tree planting exercise,” Kitutu said.
She added that the government needs the youth in the protection of forests and wetlands because they are energetic. “There is a country that took on an initiative that involved the youth in planting trees on all its hilltops. Let's work with the Ministry of Education and ask each child to come with a tree seedling to be planted on a hilltop,” the Minister said.
Kitutu added that the government would on 5th June 2017, during the World Environment Day, host a youth conference at Ntare High School with plans to mobilise each school in the country to have a fruit orchard.
James Okwi, the Director Youth Go Green foundation, expressed gratitude to the Speaker for involving young people in mitigating climate change.
He thanked the UNDP, NEMA, FAO, and the Ministry of Environment among other stakeholders for their support to the Youth Go Green foundation.
Okwi said the conference, which is slated for 24th to 27th August 2017 in Kampala will attract 200 youth delegates from all over the world.