UWEWK 2023 THEME

The overall theme of UWEWK 2022 is “water and environment for climate-resilient development

UWEWK 2023 Sub-Themes

1. Policy, Legal and institutional frameworks for climate-resilient development, 

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he effects of climate change such as rising sea and lake levels, river flow regimes, droughts and floods threaten to slow down or, in some cases, reverse recent gains in economic and social development of Uganda. Integrating water and environment security and climate resilience into development activities is key to achieving long-term sustainability.  However, this requires shifts in policy direction as well as legal and institutional setups to warrant sustainable mechanisms and funding for economic development. Additionally, it requires much higher levels of investment than at present. Current policies, laws and institutional arrangements lack in-built climate resilience strategies and tools required to ensure planned and coordinated adaption and mitigation of the climate changes effects.

Addressing climate impacts in isolation is unlikely to achieve equitable, efficient, or effective outcomes if not considered way back from the context of policy, law and institutional framework. Thus, integrating climate resilience into growth and development cooperation among sectors and within existing Government of Uganda development policies such as Parish Development Model can be tapped to support the integration of climate resilience into growth and development planning. Similarly, a cross examination of the current legal and regulatory instruments for example the multi-purpose use of peatlands or wetlands for climate change mitigation alongside flood control and rice growing can be openly discussed and adjustments made to favour such combined uses. Equally, institutional set-ups maybe adopted to allow for cross-sectoral and joint planning on the use of these natural resources. For example, a river system may have dams constructed along it for energy generation while accessible for flood control or as a water source for water supply or irrigation for commercial agriculture. A systemic approach to climate resilience implies that the individual effects of any single policy, legal and institutional condition can be difficult to disentangle.

This sub-theme therefore seeks to broaden the understanding of the interrelationships and dependence of the Policy, Legal and Institutional Frameworks to cushion Uganda’s water and environment sectors against climate change impacts as it continues with her social-economic growth and development.  This understanding that climate resilient development is a continuum that cuts across and integrates various instruments and framework should form the foundation of Uganda’s social-economic development. This eventually enhances water and environment security for climate resilient development.

2) Climate resilient communities, ecosystems, and infrastructure.

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limate change has pushed millions of people to migrate when they reach the limits to adaptation, further intensifying intrastate and interstate competition for food, water, resources, and livelihood opportunities. Massive human climate-induced migration has/can have a “spill over” effect across national borders and within the states leading to heightened geopolitical tension and other global security concerns.  Climate change is increasingly seen as a threat multiplier, especially to fragility and vulnerable communities often face the gravest climate-related challenges, including growing water and food insecurities. The cost of achieving water and environment security for Africa is estimated to be tens of billions of dollars annually. Climate change will affect many different economic sectors both directly and indirectly, and the characteristics of economic systems will play an important role in determining their resilience. These effects will occur within the context of other developments, such as a growing world population and increasing pressures on natural resources. Building climate resilience communities will therefore be a crucial aspect for economic development in low and middle-income countries such as Uganda.

This sub-theme will focus and broadened the understanding of the interrelationships between communities, ecosystems, and infrastructure. It will, , highlight the importance of nature-based solutions which have emerged globally as one of the sustainable and cost-effective ways to ‘fix’ the broken urban water cycle; create a balance between green and grey infrastructure; and ultimately, integrate communities, nature and heritage.  It will also explore the benefits of community-led interventions with some interventions being indigenous i.e., in nature-built with the knowledge and strength within the community and its resources while others require external support in terms of knowledge and other resources. Community-based approaches are becoming increasingly widespread in climate change adaptation initiatives and approaches. Such actions and programs deal with natural disasters, promote sustainable agriculture, ensure water and food security, environment protection and conservation and develop resilient livelihood solutions in climate vulnerable communities. Therefore, community-based approaches with direct engagement of the vulnerable population, using principles of resilience, incorporating tools, local innovation, and knowledge, culturally appropriate, etc. are critical complements in fostering sustained community resilience. Community-based approaches create innovative opportunities for building climate resilience. Local initiatives can also address other pre-existing socioeconomic issues that are part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

3. Capacity and partnerships for climate-resilient development,

UThe effect of climate change on key sectors hampers efforts to reduce poverty and to improve people’s livelihood, household incomes and access to sustainable water, sanitation, hygiene, environment conservation and protection, housing and urban development and disaster management services, among others. Yet these sectors/institutions are faced with challenges of capacity to plan and implement climate resilient developments. These challenges call for interventions that target capacity building and intra/inter sectoral partnerships, including community involvement at all stages, to accelerate achievement of the objectives of NDPIII and SDGs by 2030. The partnerships and capacity building of institutions, networks, forums, and many others

This sub-theme will focus on profiling Uganda’s climate change stressors, underpin wider efforts to end poverty, improve health and advance sustainable development through building capacity of institutions (public and private), people and communities for climate resilient development. Identifying interventions and laying strategies to train and raise awareness as tool to ensure availability and sustainable management of these resources is essential for achieving SDGs. The role water and environment resources in strengthening the social, economic, and environmental resilient systems in the light of rapid and unpredictable changes will also be explored.  How to bridge the data and information gap such as community data (Community Information System), governance, administration, mind-set change, and knowledge is needed for a systematic review of partnerships and capacity building policy options and other gaps.

4) Innovative financing mechanisms

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n economics of climate change study conducted by the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) reveals that the cost of inaction (not adapting to climate change) is very high, estimated to reach between US$ 3.1 and 5.9 billion per year by 2025, compared to climate finance needs estimated at USD 3.9 billion (USD 258 million per annum) by 2030.

Although the current level of spending on the full spectrum of water categories is difficult to estimate, most capital investment is funded by governments, Official Development Assistance (ODA) and non-OECD sources, while recurrent expenditure comes mainly from user charges and government budgets. Specialised climate finance currently remains a minor source. Innovative approaches to financing water, sanitation, environment, and climate change are needed to make sufficient funding available. Financing strategies will benefit from a blend of traditional water finance sources alongside specialist climate finance. The circumstances for financing water for climate resilience are very varied, and thus financing strategies should include innovative approaches to make sufficient affordable funding available. In considering innovative financing for receptive sustainable climate resilient development, the following options could be explored

This sub-theme will dialogue and bring forward the innovative climate resilience funding approaches and strategies blended with traditional finance sources (combining different funding sources) alongside specialist climate finance. It will further explore Investments for water and environment security and climate resilient development and financing away from the recurrent expenditure that comes mainly from user charges and government budgets such as subsidies and taxes, public goods, insurance policies, commercial loans, and equity among others. It will also focus on innovative solutions for more efficient and productive development and management of water, environment, and natural resources to inform and guide planning and prioritization of the country’s strategies and plans to enhance climate resilience of water and environment infrastructure developments. To leverage climate and disaster resilience finance, decision-making especially on financing water, environment and climate resilient infrastructure needs to be more risk-informed other than disaster-solving. To ensure the sustainability and long-term financial viability of Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, Environment and Climate Change programs in Uganda, a clear policy framework for financing is needed. The balance between pre-disaster and post-disaster investment needs to be examined more explicitly. Pre-disaster investment needs to be considered within financial strategies for climate resilience.