Saturday, 12 November 2011

Uganda's Vice President Flags Off Caravan of Hope ahead of COP17

By Maria Wanza

Uganda Vice President, Hon Ssekandi Edward Speaking During the Flag Off
Early this afternoon, His Excellency the Vice President of Uganda, Hon Edward Ssekandi graced the official flag off of the Trans African Caravan of Hope in Uganda which was held at the Makerere University. ‘The significance of the Caravan’s visit underscores the important position Uganda occupies in the promotion of environmental issues,” noted Hon Ssekandi in his opening remarks while speaking at the well attended activity organized by CAN Uganda.

The vice president, who is  a former two-term House Speaker and Lawyer, added that even though the government of Uganda had demonstrated a significant progress in issues of environmental management, more still needed to be done. The Vice president then handed the Ugandan flag to the Caravanites from Uganda trusting that the decisions to be made for Uganda would be for a good cause.

Loud and Clear Message
The meeting also saw Climate Action Network, CAN Uganda and Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, PACJA, present a joint statement where they urged governments at the COP17 end years of unacceptable uncertainty and   meet their moral historical, legal obligations, and commitment for action on climate change in accordance with the requirements of science and equity. Other demands included developed countries providing financial resources to address their climate debts, that global warming be kept well below the 1.5degrees Celsius point and that they halve their emissions by 2017. The Uganda government was particularly urged to take nationally appropriate mitigation actions.

This is what we want
During the meeting, Hon Mutebi, a former member of parliament sort to draw a picture of how dire the situation of climate change is. He said, 'Even if Africa planted trees and covered all its land, we will still not be able to handle the carbon emissions if the west doesn't stop polluting.' An even grimer picture was when he pointed out that the North Pole was in the next 10 years, in danger of losing a significant amount of ice. Mountains Rwenzori, Kenya, Kilimanjaro and Everest are already losing their ice caped figures.

Representing PACJA continental coordinator was John Bideri, who is one of the coalition’s steering committee members. During his speech he pointed out that the impacts of climate change in Africa are compounded by low adaptive capacity which he attached to inadequate finance and technical resources. Adding other issues compounding impacts of climate change were, ‘High levels of poverty, lack of awareness on the impacts, vulnerability and risks associated with climate change among others.’

Yes Sir, We Shall Be Heard
Mr Bideri urged that international action on climate change must address among others inter-related actions which include the need for a paradigm shift that supports strategies for achieving equitable development and the releasing of up to $30billion already committed by developed countries.

The Caravan now sets off for Kenya after kicking off in Burundi and later in Rwanda. Uganda was the third country on the list on its way to Durban, South Africa.

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