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MPs Beefup Fight Against Climate Change, Demand for Bigger Budget

Climate change experts and parliamentarians are pushing for mainstreaming of climate change issues within government budgets and recommended the use of certificates of compliance before budget approval.

This was the key message from the workshop on climate change achievements, challenges and efficacy of Parliament interventions during the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference on Thursday, 26 September 2019.

Discussants recommended the establishment of national climate funds to solve challenges of financing climate mitigation and adaptation actions.

The panel, chaired by Uganda’s MP Lawrence Biyika Songa, included United Nations Environment Programme expert Robert Ondhowe; Alex Nimusiima the Coordinator of the Meteorology Unit and Mohammad Semambo, a senior Climate Change Officer.

Winifred Masiko , a former Ugandan legislator with gender and climate change expertise, was also part of the panel.

Commonwealth parliaments were urged to address the constraints to concrete action on climate change: “There are challenges of uncoordinated interventions, understaffed institutions, dependence on donor funds; incomplete mainstreaming of climate change and the absence of climate change bills,” said Nimusiima.

He urged parliaments to facilitate public participation, ensure integration of climate change issues into committee programmes and focus on increasing adaptive capacity.

Ondhowe said they have observed a non-holistic approach to climate change, with most Commonwealth countries implementing piecemeal interventions.

“The budgetary oversight function which is forgotten should be urgently considered and to have a climate change certificate before any budget is passed,” Odhowe said.

Masiko pointed out that the poor and marginalised, especially women, are impacted most by climate change, because they mainly rely on natural resources.

Semambo cited the limited funding for climate change actions as the main challenge governments face on the subject.

He decried the lack of climate change laws to hold ministries accountable for mainstreaming climate change and to hold companies answerable for emissions.

Hon. Songa, who heads the newly created Committee on Climate Change in Uganda’s parliament, warned that nature was angry with humans and that it was fighting back.

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