Museveni Warns IGAD On Drought

At the end of a four-day summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, (IGAD) last week, President Museveni warned that partner states were doing more to increase the incidence and intensity of drought than fight it.

Museveni said climate change was partly a result of lifestyle and industrial pollution, which all states were actively engaging in.

“We have our own mistakes as states that should be analysed collectively and also cut on the emissions in our countries,” he said at Munyonyo Speke Resort hotel on Thursday.

He was speaking at the second IGAD Summit of Heads of State and Government on the theme “Progress of the Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI)”.

The unhealthy habits that contribute to excessive droughts, Museveni said, include delay in electrification leading to the excessive use of bio mass for energy, primitive agriculture, and destruction of forests and encroaching on wetlands.

“There is a lot of overcrowding in agriculture. Even those that have nothing to do such as uncles, sisters, and brothers are participants yet the serious farmer is one in the family,” Museveni said. “This is really primitive agriculture that puts a lot of pressure on land.”

Recently, Hilary Onek, the minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, told a news conference that the environment was seriously eroded and depleted by people, who at times are not willing to vacate the wetlands and forests. In this regard, Museveni said adequate funding from states would help create a win-win situation for IGAD member states and the encroachers.

“We need to find ways of bribing peasants out of wetlands and forests since they should be recovered to protect the environment,” he added.

Museveni also urged IGAD partner states to invest in clean mechanisms such as reforestation, resilient programmes and students who are in position to take on science courses. According to Kenyan Foreign Affairs Secretary Amina Mohamed, droughts kill and displace many people in the region, with the most vulnerable being women and children below 16 years old.

She said in 2010-2011, 13 million people were affected by droughts in addition to 11 million people that have been killed by droughts since the beginning of the last century in the horn of Africa.

IGAD Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim called for the strengthening of early warning systems nationally and regionally to ensure that development funding is flexible enough.

“It is cheaper to invest in early warning and early action than it is to invest in emergency programmes therefore, there is need to invest more in preventive action,” Maalim said.

IGAD partner countries are Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Source : The Observer

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