The overall theme of UWEWK 2022 is “Water and environment for peace and socio-economic transformation of Uganda

UWEWK 2022 Sub-Themes

1. Promoting peace and stability through water and environment resources

Today’s threats to human security and peace will be tomorrow’s global security risks. In an era of rapidly growing environmental and climatic hazards, there is a need for new approaches to livelihood security that integrates climate action, conflict prevention, dialogue, facilitation, and peacebuilding. Climate change is increasingly seen as a threat multiplier, especially since the regions already affected by fragility and conflict often face the gravest climate-related challenges, including growing water insecurity. In the absence of effective governance, this can potentially lead to escalating conflict situations. The growing natural and demographic pressures on water and environment resources demand a strong cross-sectoral collaboration. There is also increasing pressure on water and environment resources from rapidly growing populations, rising demand, expanding industries, and unsustainable land use. All these factors can trigger water scarcity, hunger, conflict and insecurity. At the same time, crises can also create opportunities for change, cooperation, and the inclusion of broader stakeholder groups. The growing pressure on water and environment resources is a challenge that should be at the crux of the climate and security debate. However, the traditional approach to security often fails to assess and address threats linked to natural resources and human development. There is a strong need for experts from different fields to work together to find solutions for climate-smart security.

This sub-theme seeks to raise awareness of the complex inter-linkages between threats to both the natural world and human security. It will explore the relationship between water, environment and peace, especially in fragile contexts.  The subtheme will further explore linkages between water, environment, climate change and foreign policy. It will also focus on benefits of cooperation over shared water resources, the role of improved water and environment management in fragile contexts and how water diplomacy can be a powerful tool for conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The role of security agencies, cultural and religious institutions, media among other in fostering water and environment in promoting peace and risk reduction and conflict resolution.

b. Building resilience to various risks and shocks

The provision of water and environment services has been affected by various risks and shocks such as COVD pandemic, climate change and environmental degradation. Ensuring that these services remain functional and deliver socio-economic benefits is a priority for Uganda. As the magnitude and complexity of the threats to water and environment resources posed by COVID -19, climate change and environmental degradation become increasingly well-understood and documented, there is increasing emphasis on more adaptive management. However, relatively little attention has been placed on building resilience to these threats so that they don’t continue to impact of provision of water and environment services and their management, despite their importance to human health and socio-economic development of the country. Climate change will, and already does, impact on people’s rights to water and sanitation by causing floods and droughts, changes in precipitation and temperature extremes that result in water scarcity, contamination of drinking water and exacerbation of the spread of disease. Climate change represents the most significant challenge of the twenty-first century and poses risks to water and environment services. Concerns for water supply include damage to infrastructure from flooding, loss of water sources due to declining rainfall and increasing demand, and changes in the water quality of water sources and within distribution chain of water, poor sanitary completion, poor operation and maintenance, and disruption of essential power systems.

This sub-theme will highlight the importance of water and environment as essential to ecosystem-based adaptation, green infrastructure and nature-based solutions to building resilience. Policy options to deal with shocks and build resilience of the people, ecosystem and the economy will be discussed. Public–private partnership opportunities will be explored in building resilience of water and environment systems. The sub-theme will also explore overall current approaches for mitigation and adaptation to climate change through interventions for water and environment management and opportunities provided through COP 26 Commitments. The expected output will be to build a case for visibility and awareness of neglected water and environment resources, towards sustainability amidst various risks and shocks including COVID-19

3. Financing Water, Environment and Climate Change

Uganda’s economy is dependent on its stock of environment and natural resources, requiring significant investments in water development and natural resources management if the country is to achieve its goals focusing on attainment of a middle income status. Concerns about limited and dwindling financing g for water, environment and climate change is increasingly receiving attention in the advent of heightened efforts to timely achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and Paris Agreement and Sendai Framework. Since the start of COVID pandemic, initial signals have indicated that the funding gap  is widening. The good news is that innovative opportunities exist to enhance funding for  the sector and harness co-benefits for climate and disaster resilience alongside pandemic containment and recovery packages. To exploit the financing opportunities, decision-making especially on financing water, environment and climate change needs to be more risk-informed and incorporate risks from multiple threats. Hence a clear policy framework for sustainable and viable long-term financing of Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, Environment and Climate Change programs is needed. Aspects such as financing sources and payment modalities (e.g. the polluter pays principle, the user pays principle, cost-recovery or water pays for water) and specification of the different economic and financing instruments need to be elaborated and popularised.

This sub-theme will focus on financing opportunities for water, environment and climate change in Uganda and the role of water and environment business incubation for job, employment and wealth creation in Uganda. Financing water and environment responses and interventions will require developing bankable water and environment investments, while creating jobs-such as green jobs, wealth especially for the youth and women, while ensuring sustainability of the resources. Focusing of financing will explore opportunities for innovative solutions to more efficient and productive development and management of water, environment and natural resources to enhance creation of employment opportunities. Governance models for sustainable financing will explore the role of water and environment in implementation of Parish Development Model, through supporting economic growth through community-level initiatives such as; crop production and productivity, hydropower generation and industrialization, tourism development, health, food security, and infrastructure development.

d. Partnerships and inter-sectoral collaboration in water and environment management and development

Partnership is an agreement to do something together that will benefit all involved, bringing results that could not be achieved by a single partner operating alone, and reducing duplication of efforts. A successful partnership enhances the impact and effectiveness of action through combined and more efficient use of resources, promotes innovation, and is distinguished by a strong commitment from each partner. Hundreds of partnerships have been formed worldwide during the past two decades. Some of them lasted only a short period; others have been operating a long time. Some concentrate on narrow local targets while others ambitiously try to coordinate broad policy areas in large regions where millions of people live and work. It is good to remember that a good number of partnerships have been created as part of a central government strategy to support the delivery of programmes at both national and local levels A partnership is often based on a formal commitment that has been established by a number of partners signing a contract. Bound by this contract such as Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreements among others. The partners will share a strategy and implement their coordinated working programme for a period determined by the partnership. Thus the partnership should be able to bring together different actors in collaborative action as well as in collaborative efforts to effect change.

This sub-theme will explore the role of partnership and intersectional collaboration in management and development of water and environment for sustainable development. It will explore how collaborative partnerships can improve financial resource base for water and environment sector and culturally aligned as priority area in Ugandan budgeting system. The sub-theme will also present case studies on building equitable and sustainable partnerships, success stories of collaborative intersectional partnerships among others. It will also discuss and evaluate various forms of partnerships such as investment partnerships; planning, monitoring and implementation partnerships; policy and regulatory partnerships; evidence generation partnerships;  coordination partnerships and assess how they can be strengthened to create and sustain synergies and collective action.