Updated: Jan 20
What is COP27? Sunday 6th November 2022 marked the first day of the Conference of Parties 27 (COP27). As all eyes turn to Egypt as world leaders and climate activists take centre stage. COP27 will focus on building on previous successes and paving the way for future ambition to effectively tackle the global challenge of climate change. The first Conference of Parties took place in 1995 to review national communications and emission inventories of present Parties. Since the first COP, climate change has gone from being a side issue to the main focus of this annual event. COP21 in 2015 saw all parties agree to work together to limit global warming, adapt to the impacts of climate change and to make money available to deliver these targets. The aim of COP27 is to put a spotlight on key issues from climate finance to adaptation to oceans and shipping. This will be the first COP to be taking place in Africa since 2016. The upcoming event has been referred to by many as the ‘African COP’, hoping to address issues which Africa and other developing areas are facing. So, what better time than to highlight the impacts of climate change in Uganda?
Here how climate change is impacting everyday life from our communities in Kampala
Impact of climate change in Uganda As part of our COP27 campaign, we want to raise awareness to 4 of the main ways Uganda has been impacted by climate change and the impact of this on our communities in Kampala. Climate change is impacting every corner of our world. In recent years, historic heatwaves have caused record-breaking wildfires across the world from Greece to the United States. From the UK to China flash flooding has wreaked havoc on cities unable to cope with the increased rainfall whilst unprecedented droughts have occurred from Australia to the Mediterranean. It is not unusual to see these natural disasters making the global headlines. But, it is poorer countries and communities that are facing the impacts of climate change on a daily basis. These daily struggles are not making the headlines.
Did you know that a disaster related to weather, climate, or water hazard occurred every day over the past 50 years? The majority impacted developing countries and did not make the headlines.
Climate change and poverty are inextricably linked. Between 1970 and 2019 more than 11,000 natural disasters were reported causing over two million deaths. 91% of the deaths were in developing countries.
Did you know Uganda is the 10th most vulnerable country in the world to the impacts of climate change?
Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change. Extreme weather changes have increased flash flooding, higher temperatures, prolonged droughts, all impacting human life on the continent on a daily basis. Africa is home to the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change, Uganda is 10th on this list.
This time, we want to make Uganda the headline by sharing with you 4 ways the country is being impacted by climate change and raising awareness of how this is affecting the lives of those living in Kampala’s slum communities.
Heavy rainfall is the norm in Uganda.
Uganda has always experienced a heavy rainy season. The season runs from March to May and from September to November. Over the past 35 years the rainy season has increased by two months and now commonly runs from March until the end of the year. The increase in rainfall impacts Uganda in many ways, one significant way is flooding. Flash flooding and slow-onset floods impact nearly 50,000 Ugandans every year. These are particularly common in urban areas such as Kampala. Poor sewage and sanitation systems in Kampala’s low lying slums means that flooding has a devastating impact on our communities and their livelihoods. Every year homes, schools, businesses and churches are destroyed by rainfall and flooding. Recovering from a flood is costly, many in the slum communities are unable to rebuild after extreme weather and become homeless as a result.
When Uganda is not experiencing extreme rainfall, the country tackles high temperatures and droughts. Between 2004 and 2013 draughts affected 2.4 million people living in Uganda. In the next 20 years, Uganda’s average temperature will increase by up to 1.5 ºC and, unless we do something about it, by 2080 the temperature in Uganda will increase by 4.3ºC.
Kids Club Kampala are investing in solar panels on our buildings.
Food and Clean Water
Extreme weather, both rainfall and temperatures rising, impact food production and access to clean water. More rain and more flooding mean that crops are washed away and livelihoods are destroyed. When the rain isn’t falling, Uganda experiences higher temperatures that are getting higher! This results in draughts that again prevent crops from growing and agricultural production. It is the poorest families who struggle to afford food when food becomes scarce.
A clean water pump helping with access to safe drinking water.
8 million Ugandans already do not have access to safe water and 27 million do not have sanitation facilities. But when there is a drought, natural water resources dry up leaving many more without access to water.
Rainfall is also a major risk to access to water in slum communities. The already underdeveloped water resources, sewage systems, and draining systems are exhausted during heavy rain. With this, there is an increase in diseases such as cholera and dysentery which spread even faster due to lack of clean water to assist healthy recovery. With both droughts and heavy rain set to increase with climate change, even more, will not have access to safe, clean water.
What exhausts these natural implications of climate change is the growing urbanization of Uganda’s cities. As extreme weather makes village life and farming almost impossible, more families relocate to the cities, many ending up in Kampala’s slums.
Uganda is home to 1.5 million refugees, fleeing from countries such as South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 80% of these refugees are based in settlements in the North, South West and Kampala, adding strain to the already overcrowded communities. Relocation to Uganda’s cities has increased by over 5% per year, that’s a rapid rate that means by 2035 30% of Uganda’s population will be urban dwellers. Kampala’s growth rate is bigger and faster than any other city in Uganda.
To put it simply, Kampala’s slum communities can not cope with the climate change-induced relocation. Limited food, water, flash flooding, and droughts will leave those living in slums particularly vulnerable. As cities and slums grow, freshwater is polluted and resources become strained with overpopulation.
Did you know Uganda has one of the fastest changing climates in the world?
Nature right on your door step.
Kids Club Kampala are investing in the future of Kampala. But, we need there to be a future to invest in.
References: COP 27 | UNFCCC Record-breaking 2021 wildfire season captured in satellite images | Space https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-climate-change-is-already- https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/09/1098662 https://gain.nd.edu/our-work/country-index/rankings/ https://reliefweb.int/report/uganda/impacts-climate-change-food-security-and-livelihoods-karamoja https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/country/uganda/vulnerability https://reliefweb.int/report/uganda/climate-change-uganda-understanding-implications-and https://unfccc.int/files/adaptation/knowledge_resources/databases/partners_a https://www.unicef.org/uganda/press-releases/new-government-report-climate-change-and-urbanization-increasingly-imp UNHCR - Uganda