By Noah Omuya |
I have seen the news from The Independent Magazine with a headline; Joe Biden warns Uganda on 2021 election irregularities. When I read through the article, one paragraph stated that “the US Department of State spokesman acknowledged the important role Uganda, and President Yoweri Museveni has played in regional stability, especially with AMISOM in Somalia, but said, “We can pursue our interests and values at the same time.” The question is, what are those interests that America refers to as “our interests?”
I think there is so much that America and Uganda could do together with other than wasting time with unrealistic “investigations.” For example, instead of “investigating” a past legitimate election, why not gather those resources and carry out joint research on probable adaptation and mitigation measures to climate change and global warming?
I have read President Joe Biden’s plan for a clean energy revolution and environmental justice. In that plan, Biden recognizes that from coastal towns to rural farms to urban centers, climate change poses an existential threat – not just to our environment, but to our health, our communities, our national security, and our economic well-being. It also damages our communities with storms that wreak havoc on our urban centers and social facilities.
During his election campaign, Mr. Biden called climate change the number-one issue facing humanity. This distinguished him sharply from his predecessor, who called man’s impact on the climate a “hoax” and rolled back environmental protections. Mr. Biden has already brought America back into the Paris Climate Agreement, an international accord to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
If you pay close attention to those observations, you notice that these are the same similarities with Uganda. For example, in Chapter 9 of Uganda’s Third National Development Plan (NDP3), a third in the series of six NDPs that will guide the nation in delivering the aspirations articulated in Uganda Vision 2040, Uganda has achieved a severe reduction in the forest cover as well as wetland degradation and encroachment leading to increased vulnerability to climate change.
In the regional and global development context, the Plan has also been designed with the regional and global development outlook. The key regional and global agendas informing the plan include; Africa Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030, EAC 2050, and other development frameworks. For example, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is likely to spur increased interest for foreign direct investment and open new markets for Uganda products.
The Plan aims to stop, reduce and reverse environmental degradation and the adverse effects of climate change as well as utilization of natural resources for sustainable economic growth and livelihood security. Similarly, Mr. Biden’s plan on climate change suggests that the United States must have a bold plan to achieve a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
According to NDP3, Uganda also intends to fulfill its international obligations concerning the reduction of national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change by allocating the necessary resources to implement the partnership plan.
Scientists have continued to warn that the coming decade will be critical for slowing heat-trapping emissions, potentially keeping average annual global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the mid-19th century.
Right now, the world is on track for an increase of 3 degrees Celsius, a level that ensures more destructive wildfires and hurricanes, devastation for coral reefs, and rising seas flooding the coastlines. However, Uganda’s contribution to global warming and climate change is minimal; and, it is forced to deal with the symptoms of processes caused outside its borders.
This is now where the USA and Uganda should work together, relate their development plans, and come to a common cause to fight the common enemy; global warming and climate change, not wasting time querying a legitimate election!
Mr. Noah Omuya is a Communications Assistant at the Government Citizen Interaction Centre, Ministry of ICT & National Guidance
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