The release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report this year makes it more obvious than ever that countries must radically and rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change. Of paramount concern are the communities in the most climate-vulnerable areas; they deal with multiple shocks including Covid-19, its economic fall-out and climate change.
Uganda being one of the vulnerable communities, it has taken radical action towards combating climate change. The National Climate Change Bill was passed by Parliament on 27th April 2021. The Bill was assented to by the President on 14th August 2021 becoming law, the National Climate Change Act, 2021. By passing this law, Uganda has demonstrated steps taken to implement its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and its increase in ambition towards combating climate change.
The purpose of this law is to govern the country's national response to climate change. It intends to give effect to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. Section 4 of the Act gives these agreements the force of law in Uganda.
The Act mandates the creation of a Framework Strategy on Climate Change, as well as a National Climate Action Plan and District Climate Action Plans. It also contains a series of provisions establishing a transparent framework and a measuring of emissions, reporting and verification of information system.
Section 9 of the Act allows the Minister responsible for Climate Change matters (currently the Minister of Water and Environment) to develop further regulations regarding participation in climate change mechanisms such as emissions trading mechanisms.
Section 23 permits the Minister to make regulations regarding the duties of private entities and individuals. These regulations by the Minister are intended to prescribe climate change obligations on the parties, activities for which the parties shall be required to prepare mitigation and adaption plans, the nature and procedure for reporting on the performance of the parties with regard to the obligations and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating compliance with the Act.
Part V of the Act relates to the institutional arrangements for governing climate change, creating a National Climate Change Advisory Committee to provide independent technical advice and clarifying the responsibilities of District and local governments with respect to climate change.
Part VI relates to financing. The Minister responsible for finance in consultation with the Minister responsible for Climate Change matters will provide for climate change financing taking into account viable climate change mechanisms at national level and international climate financing mechanisms under the Paris Agreement. Still on financing, the Act amends the Public Finance Act 2015 under Section 30, requiring the Minister responsible for Climate Change in consultation with 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.
Section 26 relates to climate change litigation, containing broad provisions on standing to bring actions before the High Court against the Government, an individual, or private entity whose action or omission threatens or is likely to threaten efforts towards adaptation to or mitigation of climate change.
Section 29 mandates the integration of climate change education and research into the national curriculum by the Ministry responsible for Education.
In conclusion, Uganda has demonstrated its ambition towards fighting climate change with the passing of this law. This law lays down a good legal framework to combat climate change, which if fully implemented will yield good results.
Read the original publication at KSMO Advocates