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COP26: Climate Finance must flow

Kate Airey, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, listens to a survivor of the Bududa landslides in eastern Uganda. Airey was on an excursion to the Mt. Elgon region on Oct.04 to see and listen to the voices of people who are suffering from climate change-related calamities. INDEPENDENT/RONALD MUSOKE

‘It should be turning point for Uganda and the world’

Kampala, Uganda | RONALD MUSOKE | When world leaders, scientists, business executives and activists converge in Glasgow this November for the latest round of climate change talks, the hope is that they will all speak with one voice and keep alive the goal of limiting the ever-rising global temperatures.

The UK alongside Italy will be hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, dubbed COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, between Oct.31-Nov.12.  In attendance will be more than 120 world leaders; heads of state and government including Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and influential figures like Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic religion. President Yoweri Museveni will also attend.

Not surprisingly, there has been a frenzy of lobbying and shuttle diplomacy around COP26.

Janet Rogan, the United Kingdom’s climate change ambassador for the Middle East and Africa, who has recently visited several African countries, was in Uganda from Oct.06-08.

Speaking Oct.07 to the press at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Kampala, Rogan who is also the COP26 Regional Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said if the world does not act now, people will face effects of climate change that are worse than the catastrophic flooding, wildfires, and drought being witnessed today.

“Every country has to reduce global warming by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases they produce through power generation, transport, and agriculture,” she said.

Rogan noted that the UK will be focusing on four key priorities; climate change mitigation, adaptation, climate change finance, and collaboration.

“Our final and fourth target for this conference is collaboration. No government can do this on its own. We want to be together so that the governments, private sector, civil society, communities, individuals and of course the media all work together on this with the right targets and ideas,” Rogan said.

Rogan who was on a three-day visit said she would speak with Uganda’s policy makers to encourage them to announce ambitious new climate change commitments ahead of COP26.

“As part of the preparations for COP26 as set out in the Paris Agreement on climate action, each country is supposed to report on its circumstances and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as produce an updated and more ambitious plan for future action with increased level of ambition. This is called the Nationally Determined Contributions,” she said.

And she met with the Minister of Finance, the State Minister of Environment, other senior government representatives, the Parliamentary Climate Change Committee, and several members of civil society.

She also visited local areas that are under threat from climate change to hear how local communities are adapting and also see how both Ugandan and UK businesses are putting in place new technology to address climate challenges.

Rogan visited a UK Export Finance funded project under the Ministry of Water and Environment, which is being implemented by the UK Company Nexus Green. The project intends to design and install solar powered irrigation and water supply systems at 687 sites across the country, providing water sources for women and youth, providing jobs, increasing farm productivity and resilience to effects of climate change.

She also met innovative local company Bodawerk, who are now producing zero electric bodabodas and agricultural machinery— the latter supported by UKAid funding.

Kate Airey, the British High Commissioner to Uganda who has just returned from an excursion to Bududa, eastern Uganda, one of the most vulnerable regions in Uganda, noted that  climate change is hurting Uganda. She noted how financing and making sure that money reaches those who need it most can make a difference.

“We have had a lot of engagement over the last few weeks all across the country and here in Kampala about the people’s needs and priorities and we will be feeding this into COP26.”

“It is not just a conference. This COP26 has the power to change lives and it is up to us to work collaboratively with other countries to make sure that we make the most of this opportunity,” Airey said.

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