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FEATURE: Moving forward with Uganda’s national climate commitments


Joselyn Bigirwa, National Coordinator for ACCRA – the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance, reports on how Uganda is planning to deliver its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Earlier this year, the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA) undertook a project to support the Government of Uganda with planning for implementation of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), using the NDC Quick-Start Guide. The project team applied the Guide to develop a shared understanding of Uganda’s readiness to implement its NDC in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, governance, finance and measuring, reporting and verification (MRV), with gender as a cross-cutting issue. As the NDC process is relatively new to all countries under the Paris Agreement, the project also developed a matrix to identify synergies between NDC priorities and Uganda’s existing policies and plans, including the National Climate Change Policy, the National Development Plan II, Draft Green Growth Development Strategy and the SDGs, among others. This matrix was then used in conceptualizing and gaining a consensus on the priorities for inclusion in Uganda’s NDC implementation plan.

The approach taken was highly participative, with two stakeholder workshops providing ideas and consensus on current ‘readiness’ and input into the implementation plan.  With support from the Climate Change Department, Ministry of Water and Environment, ACCRA interviewed 15 different ministries, departments and agencies mandated to implement the NDC to collect information on the integration of NDC actions into sectoral plans.

The research revealed that there is generally a lot of effort being made at the sector level towards climate change priorities, and thus the NDC, however there is little co-ordination between the different ministries. In this regard, the modular approach of the Quick-Start Guide was very effective as it ignited a way of thinking about multi-sectoral approaches to NDC implementation, especially among the key sector representatives. During the process of identifying immediate, short and medium-term priorities, it was encouraging to see that NDC actions were mostly well aligned with existing national and sector policies. Sectors were also able to align some of the interventions in their sector strategic plans with the NDC actions, which can be pulled together into ‘bankable projects’ and used to develop proposals for funding.

The project also revealed a number of challenges to implementing Uganda’s NDC.

The interviews made it clear that many technical staff working in these ministries were not aware of the NDC document or process. This signaled that internal communication structures need to be strengthened; and there is a need for improved co-ordination between the Climate Change Department, which holds the responsibility for NDC implementation, and other key actors, such as the National Planning Authority and Ministry of Local Government.

Another issue that emerged from the interviews was that ministries had little idea of the resources required to implement NDC priorities under their jurisdiction. In Uganda, it is the responsibility of ministries to cost actions in the NDC that relate to their mandate, and ideally this would have been done when the NDC was passed so that they could have been incorporated into the yearly budgets and sector development plans. Thus, costing of NDC actions remains a significant barrier that needs to be addressed before NDC implementation can be integrated at the sector level.

Furthermore, we noted that it is difficult for the Ministry of Finance to disaggregate climate specific resources from the usual sources of development finance, and so climate finance performance is not clear.  This could be addressed by strengthening communication and accountability mechanisms in each ministry to feed to the Ministry of Finance, which would then be responsible for synthesising and consolidating climate finance data for each sector. 

Based on the readiness assessment undertaken, the project identified key immediate, short-term, and medium-term priorities that could be included in Uganda’s NDC implementation plan. However, deeper analysis of the actions listed in the NDC and a proper costing exercise are needed to inform a robust national NDC implementation plan.

Given the lack of knowledge and understanding of the NDC across the different ministries, we also recommend that a wider group of stakeholders, including urban authorities and local governments, are engaged in future discussions on NDC implementation in Uganda. Furthermore, taking the discussions beyond government, to include private sector and NGO actors, would ensure that NDC implementation is advanced in a more inclusive, participatory manner.

 

Image: Uganda, credit Peter Bury.

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