Promoting local experience for national life-saving action on climate change in Uganda

Representatives from districts that are tackling debilitating impacts of climate change ranging from drought to floods, gathered today with civil society organizations, academics, donor partners and ministers to scale up action on adaptation as part of three days of events organized by the Government of Uganda with the support of the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). Participants hope to learn valuable lessons in accessing additional resources to adapt to climate change and potentially save lives.

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to share experience in investing in adaptation with the UNCDF Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL), a mechanism for channeling climate finance to local governments for locally led adaptation to climate change. It further contributes to the implementation of the Paris Agreements, Uganda’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions, the on-going National Adaptation Plan process and up-coming National Climate Finance Strategy 2023-2030 as well as cross-cutting priorities for the country through the National Development Plan III.

After one year of LoCAL implementation, attendees will share lessons learned and begin preparations towards embedding the financing mechanism into national systems for nationwide investment in resilience building.

“I’m excited about this week because we join as local governments the other governments that have been piloting LoCAL,” said Lokol Paul, Chairperson of Nabilatuk District in Uganda’s northern Karamoja Subregion. “These are communities that have been highly impacted by climate change, such as mine in Karamoja, and have been experiencing a lot of [climate] stress.”

“Having a project like [LoCAL] brings hope because … we will also use this project to address adaptive capacities and resilience capacities so that we lower the risk of people dying due to climate change,” he added.

The UNCDF LoCAL Facility channels climate finance to local governments for locally led adaptation using a system of Performance Based Climate Resilience Grants (PBCRGs) combined with capacity building and technical support, that has delivered positive results for millions of people around the world to date. LoCAL grants, made possible with funding from Belgium, Denmark and the European Union, are being dispersed to eight districts across Uganda for investment in locally identified climate adaptation projects such as flood protections or irrigation systems.

“As adaptation to climate change is inherently local, it is essential that climate finance and related support reach the most vulnerable communities of Uganda as directly as possible while supporting accountability,” said Sophie De Coninck, Global Climate Facility Manager and Head of the UNCDF Uganda Office. “Districts are well placed to make sure climate change strategies are implemented at the local level in a risk informed, inclusive and transparent manner.”

The three-day event in the capital Kampala brings together local, national and international stakeholders and is organised by the Government of Uganda via its Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and Ministry of Water and Environment, with support from the UNCDF. District Representatives from all the LoCAL-implementing communities – Kasese, Nebbi, Nwoya and Zombo – have been invited to share their experience and lessons learned. Their insights will inform the next phase of LoCAL scale up starting this financial year in four more climate change vulnerable districts: Bulambuli, Kitgum, Nabilatuk and Nakapiripirit.

The UNCDF LoCAL Facility is engaged with over 35 countries across Africa, Asia the Caribbean and Pacific, mobilizing over US$ 200 million in climate finance to date and realizing adaptation results for more than 18 million people. While a global facility, the LoCAL mechanism is designed to deliver on local needs by working with national systems to channel climate finance to the subnational level in developing and least developed countries. In the global context of a changing climate, this week’s events in Kampala are expected to advance further the implementation of Uganda’s Nationally Determined Contributions, National Climate Change Policy 2015 and Act 2021, National Development Plan III, the on-going NAP process and up-coming National Climate Finance Strategy for 2030.

The attendees from eight Ugandan districts took part in a pre-event ‘Stakeholder engagement with local governments on the upcoming National Climate Finance Strategy 2023 – 2030’, organized by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and with the support from UNCDF. In doing so, the districts and their communities were able to share their insights on what is happening on the ground, to inform the national strategy and help address any gaps. This in turn helps strengthen the vertical integration of those plans and strategies, making sure that climate finance can be channeled where it is most needed at the subnational level.

LoCAL activities in Uganda were designed with the financial support of the European Union, a long-time supporter of the UNCDF LoCAL Facility since its design and early pilots over a decade ago. In line with the Team Europe approach to coordinated European action on the global climate challenge, the EU funding is joined with additional support from Government of Sweden and Government of Belgium.

“We are delighted to work hand in hand with the Government of Uganda as they embark on this new period of adaptation action in the country,” said Caroline Adriaensen, the Head of Cooperation of the EU delegation to Uganda. “The EU and its Member States are committed to sustainable and locally led adaptation to the impacts of climate change that prioritizes the needs of the most vulnerable, and the UNCDF LoCAL Facility is a welcome and effective solution for delivering on this urgent and pressing need.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

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