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Climate Change A Threat To Urban Development In Uganda

Climate Change A Threat To Urban Development In Uganda

Uganda is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and variability in Africa. Its economy and the wellbeing of its people are tightly bound to the climate.  In the coming century, Climate change has the potential to halt or reverse the country’s development trajectory.

One of the areas that is most affected is urban development. Uganda has experienced increased adverse weather patterns such as prolonged drought in the north, landslides in the east, and devasting floods among others. These events have disrupted infrastructure, livelihoods, health and sanitation in urban areas.

In addition, climate change has exacerbated the challenges of rapid and unplanned urbanization that Uganda has faced since the 1960s. The urban population has increased from 1.7 million in 1991 to 7.4 million in 2014. This has led to land degradation, weak enforcement of building codes and zoning regulations, and a lack of coordinated disaster response strategies.

A case study of Jinja Municipality, Uganda’s second largest city, reveals how urban residents make sense of climate change. Especially through their own narrative frames rather than through the lens of global climate change discourses. They attribute the onset of this change to moral and environmental failings of the present generation. They view it as more destructive than previous generations and unable to preserve resources for future generations.

The study also shows how it affects the livelihoods and generational responsibilities of urban dwellers, especially the poor. They face multiple, intersecting vulnerabilities that obfuscate not only their immediate future, but also the longer-term horizons for future generations.

The Ugandan government has stepped up efforts to mitigate and adapt. This is by developing policies and strategies such as the National Climate Change Policy (2015), and the National Adaptation Plan (2016).. However, there is a need for more civic participation and local knowledge in developing solutions that avoid the pitfalls of climate reductionism.

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