In-depth

Bee keeping is helping
Adoption of improved bee hives to increase honey production in the Mountain Elgon area in Eastern Uganda by the Ecosystem Based Adaptation project is providing communities with alternative sources of incomes, helping to reduce the cutting down of trees. (Photo: EBA/UNDP-Uganda)

Uganda’s environment is currently typified by adverse alterations in rain and dry seasons. In a country where irrigation-based farming is practised by few, diverging weather patterns have rendered year-long planning on farms nearly impossible with many farmers finding difficulty in predicting rainfall patterns.

An increasing population is not only creating a time bomb in urban areas with expanding slums but is also threatening protected green zones, with a rise in demand for fuel and other energy forms. Uganda’s forest cover, for instance, reduced from 4.9m hectares to 3.6m hectares between 1990 and 2005, according to the 2012 Uganda Bureau of Statistics Statistical Abstract. It is a reduction of 36 percent in 15 years. This predicament is largely caused by climate change effects, limited controls on protection of biodiversity and gazetted greenbelts plus a failure to have environment-sensitive national policies as environment issues are not effectively integrated into national planning and implementation.

UNDP’s Energy and Environment programme is working with government of Uganda and other stakeholders to develop and implement interventions designed to scale back the effects of climate change on top of helping farmers adapt to its consequences.

The Uganda National Adaptation Programmes for Action report of 2007 placed Uganda as vulnerable to climate change effects, especially in the forms of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and heavy rainfall, landslides and heat waves. Prolonged droughts have created water shortages, especially in the cattle corridor (a semi-arid area stretching from the North East to the South West) leading to loss of animals and low milk production. Support is also provided to promote sustainable land management to overcome land degradation in the cattle corridor areas.

Climate Change effects have manifested themselves through rising temperature levels, reducing rainfall levels plus extreme conditions like floods and landslides. The programme is supporting Government to develop measures and respond to climate-change-priority interventions. These include promoting tree growing on farms, promote community best practices of collaborative water resource management, developing and promoting drought tolerant and early maturing plant varieties and animal breeds, among many others.

Support is offered to Government, through Ministry of Water and Environment and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), to incorporate environment issues into national and sub-national plans and policies. At sub-national level, the programme is implemented through District Environment Action Planning processes for local development plans and programmes. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is supported to mainstream sustainable land management plans into local government plans, especially for districts in the cattle corridor. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is also supported to integrate energy concerns, especially of sustainable resource exploitation, into national and sub-national policies. Emphasis has been put on promoting sustainable charcoal production and raising awareness on problems related to unsustainable resource exploitation.

The programme works to conserve biodiversity, especially by promoting the protection of gazetted areas. Emphasis has been put on forest reserves, in particular the Albertine Rift Forests, and wetlands. Support is given to communities living around the areas to get involved in conservation activities, on top of redrawing boundaries and creating conservation strategies for the areas.

As Uganda is a signatory of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the programme is supporting the safe use of chemicals and disposal of chemical waste in agriculture.

Our Priority Areas

Tree planting
Tree planting is part and parcel of UNDP's environment projects and is helping to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, in addition to giving tree farmers an alternative source of income. (Photo: UNDP Uganda)

UNDP, in partnership with other development partners, is providing support to the Government to develop interventions for better management of the environment and natural resources in the following priority areas:

  1. Sustainable land and rangelands managemen
  2. Mainstreaming environmental concerns into all policies, plans and programmes at all levels (national, district and community)
  3. Biodiversity conservation
  4. Climate change
  5. Management of chemicals and chemical wastes
  6. Renewable and clean energy

Ongoing Projects

Wetland protection
About 13% of Uganda's territory is covered by wetlands. UNDP is working with government of Uganda and other stakeholders to develop policies and regulations to protect wetlands from encroachment (Photo: UNDP Uganda)

These include:

  1. Conservation of biodiversity in Albertine Rift Forests of Uganda.
  2. Extending protected areas through community-based initiatives.
  3. Enabling environment for sustainable land management (SLM) to overcome land degradation in the cattle corridor of Uganda.
  4. Mainstreaming of sustainable land management activities in six cattle corridor districts.
  5. Territorial approach to climate change (TACC) for the Mbale region.
  6. Improving policies and strategies for sustainable environment, natural resources and climate risk management.
  7. Strengthening sustainable environment and natural resources management, climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  8. Promoting chemical safety for children at work in rural agricultural communities.
  9. UNEP/UNDP/IUCN Ecosystem based adaptation programme for mountain ecosystems.
  10. EU/UNDP support for national climate change capacity building.
  11. Building drought resilient dryland communities in the Horn of Africa

The projects under initiation include:

  1. Addressing barriers to the adoption of improved charcoal production technologies and related sustainable land management practices through an integrated approach
  2. Strengthening climate information and early warning systems in Eastern and Southern Africa for climate resilient development and adaptation to climate change 
  3. The joint UNDP-UNCDF cleanstart initiative aimed at supporting 48,000 low income households in Uganda to access clean energy through microfinance
  4. UNDP-South-South energy initiative with the aim to support southern oil and gas producing countries to manage their hydrocarbon resources and achieve equitable and sustainable development
  5. UN-Sustainable Energy For All Initiative country support project in partnership with the EU and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.