Climate Change Bill passed

Uganda will be able to implement climate change response measures in line with resolutions from international conventions like the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; once the National Climate Change Bill, 2020 is assented into law by the President.

This follows passing of the Bill by Parliament on Tuesday, 27 April 2021, with a number of amendments made by the House on the new law.

The new law will also provide for national participation in climate change mechanisms, provide for institutional arrangements for coordinating and implementing climate change response measures and provide for financing for climate change.

While presenting a report on the Bill, the Chairperson of the Parliament Committee on Climate Change, Hon. Lawrence Biyika Songa, said Uganda had failed to implement identified climate change policy priorities due to lack of a legal framework governing climate change interventions.

“Uganda ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1994, the Kyoto Protocol in 2004 and the Paris Agreement in 2016; but has not been able to domesticate these Agreements or Protocols to address the challenges posed by climate change,” Hon. Biyika Songa told the House.

Among the amendments made to the Bill include the establishment of a Climate Change Fund which shall consist of money appropriated by Parliament, fees and money charged by the Department under the Act, fines collected as a result of breach of the provisions of this Act, money collected from environmental levies as well as loans, grants, gifts or donations from Government and other sources made with the approval of the Minister.

This is in a bid to create a special mechanism for climate change financing and management.

The Bill is going to task the Ministry of Education and Sports to integrate climate change education and research into the national curriculum, so as to create climate change awareness.

The Bill will also provide for a time-frame when the Framework Strategy on Climate Change should be prepared after passing of the law, to ensure that it is reviewed timely and also ensure food security.

The Bill has been amended to provide for development of the National Climate Change Action Plan within one year after commencement of the Act, to ensure that it is reviewed timely or earlier when need arises but not after more than five years.

According to the Committee Chairperson, the Climate Change Action Plan shall indicate assessment and management of risk and vulnerability, identify greenhouse gas mitigation potentials and prioritise appropriate adaptation measures for joint projects of national and local governments.

“This will ensure that intermediate government agencies that are not operating at local government level can develop plans for adaptation and mitigation of climate change effects, as well as cater for inter-district and trans-boundary resources and projects,” said Biyika Songa.

Another amendment in the Bill is a provision to ensure internationally accredited verifier's are vetted for competency and compliance with the laws of Uganda by the Department before practice in Uganda.

The Bill has also been amended to provide for the Department to submit a biennial report on climate change to the Minister who shall submit it to cabinet for consideration and approval, and thereafter, lay it in Parliament.

The new law will grant the line Minister the authority to constitute a National Climate Change Advisory Committee comprised of technical experts, who will provide independent technical advice to the Committee and Minister on climate change science.

The established team will also provide information on technologies, interventional programmes on climate change and best practices for risk assessment, enhancement of the adaptive capacity to potential impacts of climate change.

The Bill has been amended to enable the line Minister, in consultation with the Chairperson of the National Planning Authority, to issue a certificate certifying that the Budget Framework Paper is climate change responsive and contains adequate allocation for funding climate change measures and actions.