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Uganda Signs Paris Climate Change Agreement

Friday, 22nd April 2016
Rt. Hon Ruhakana Rugunda Signing the Agreement on behalf of the Government of Uganda

H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, 

Their Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,

H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General,

Excellencies, 

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored and privileged to convey warm fraternal greetings and best wishes from H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, to Their Excellencies on this historic occasion of the signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. H.E the President was desirous of attending this event but has not been able to do so due to other equally important State commitments. H.E the President delegated me to represent him. I wish to start my remarks in the capacity of Uganda as the Chairperson of the Africa Group for this month.

Mr. President,

The adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 marked the end of a long process of diplomatic engagement and jostling over measures to include in the global package for addressing challenges arising from the effects of climate change. The Paris Agreement was a major milestone in our determination and commitment to take concrete actions to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2”ĘC above the pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5”ĘC above the pre-industrial levels.

Mr. President,

This Signing Ceremony of the Paris Agreement opens a new chapter in our global efforts to put into action the undertakings we agreed in Paris. The fact that many countries worldwide will today sign the Agreement sends a strong message of our collective resolve and firm commitment to implement that Agreement. All of us must commit ourselves to carrying this bold step forward by ratifying and eventually domesticating the said Agreement in order to give it the necessary legal effect under our respective national legislation. We re-affirm our commitment to implementing the various relevant measures and actions; as spelt-out in the Agreement.

Mr. President,

Despite all these on-going efforts, African countries are confronted with some real challenges in terms of gaps especially in areas of financing the various climate change priority initiatives; strengthening institutional and human capacities to effectively respond to these challenges; and accessing the vital necessary technologies critical for climate change mitigation and adaptation. This is the context in which we urge our developed country partners that have the required means, to come-in and partner with us in addressing these gaps; consistent with the relevant provisions of the Paris Agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing climate change. They should significantly mobilise and provide new and additional scaled-up financial flows; support enhancement of scientific and technological innovations; and increase assistance for human resource and institutional capacity-building to enable us to fully implement robust climate change actions. We believe that such support can contribute to significant gains in investments in green economy; restoration of our degraded ecosystems and strengthened community resilience to the impacts of climate change and disaster risks.

On the part of Africa, we are committed to promoting regional partnerships for addressing transboundary climate change challenges; including through pooling of resources, available capacities and skills; and sharing of relevant information and data. This is important for efficiency and cost effectiveness in the utilisation of the available limited resources.

Mr. President,

In my national capacity, I am happy to report that Uganda has taken a number of actions to operationalise some of the relevant commitments under the said Agreement. We have fully integrated measures to address the effects of climate change in our long-term national aspiration "Uganda Vision 2040”±; and the Second National Development Plan (FY 2015/16-FY 2019/20). The re-elected NRM Government, to be sworn-in on 12th May 2016, has prioritized climate change among issues to address over the next five years.

In this regard, building a sustainable green economy, including through focus on increased use of renewable sources of energy, restoration of degraded ecosystems and demarcation of critical wetlands and forest boundaries, will form a cornerstone of policy-action to be undertaken. Climate change measures are being mainstreamed in various sectorial policies, plans, programmes and projects of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Government is investing in the strengthening of institutional capacity of MDAs to deal with the effects of climate change. It is also committed to mobilizing to the extent possible domestic resources, capacities, and skills needed to address climate change.

Uganda, in accordance with her relevant national laws, has initiated the necessary process of ratifying and domesticating the Agreement.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I wish to underscore the seriousness of the effects of climate change and the urgent need to take effective concerted global action to address them. Any piecemeal or selective approach, in my view, will neither secure nor guarantee a safer planet for the present and future generations. It will not respond to the plight of the most vulnerable communities in poor countries and their yearning for salvation from extinction. These groups must be supported to survive, prosper and spur socio-economic transformation without leaving any one behind. 

Mr. President,

I thank you for your kind attention. 





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