'Pledges shouldn’t just be pledges anymore'

Published: Mon 4 Dec 2023, 9:50 PM

Collaboration between countries is mportant, says Ugandan Ambassador

by

Abdulla Mohamed Al-Riyami

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NA271123-NET ZEROH.E. ZAAKE W KIBEDI, AMBASSADOR OF UGANDA TO THE UAEPhoto: M.Sajjad
NA271123-NET ZEROH.E. ZAAKE W KIBEDI, AMBASSADOR OF UGANDA TO THE UAEPhoto: M.Sajjad

Ugandan Ambassador Zaake W. Kibedi notes that COP28 is the time for creating effective implementation systems and clear deliverables

Uganda is perhaps not a place that most would consider as being at the forefront of technology and innovation. However, it is one of the few nations that has managed to power itself with 99 percent clean energy. According to figures from 2021, it also produces 0.14 metric tons of carbon dioxide per capita. This is a tiny figure, particularly compared to China, which has seven metric tons, and the USA, which produces 14 metric tons.

Zaake W. Kibedi, Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to the UAE, notes that the country’s environmental policies must be robust. After all, climate change is already severely impacting Uganda’s environment and the well-being of its citizens.

“Home to a predominantly agricultural-based economy, Uganda is highly vulnerable to climate change,” explains Ambassador Kibedi.

“It has the potential to impact our fisheries and water resources. And our forestry, energy and health sectors. This, in turn, hampers the government’s efforts to reduce poverty and improve the well-being of our citizens. We are incredibly focused on building Uganda’s resilience to climate change.”

Kibedi explains that Uganda used to have two defined rainy seasons. However, thanks to the effects of climate change, it can now rain at any time of year. This unpredictability has begun to hinder the agriculture sector’s production levels.

So, by implementing policies and collaborating with other countries, the Ugandan government aims to promote sustainable development and simultaneously mitigate the effects of climate change. It has partnered with the National Environment and Management Authority to develop strategic ways of supporting farmers and making their day-to-day practices more sustainable.

Due to Uganda’s rapidly growing population, the amount of land that each farmer owns is also reducing with each passing generation. Kibedi hopes that by participating in COP28, the country will discover new technologies that enable each farmer to make maximum use of the land that is allotted to them.

He says: “We’ve invested heavily in renewable energy over the past ten years, including solar energy production. Our main energy source is hydropower, and the UAE is supporting us with our efforts. UAE company AMEA Power has expressed interest in setting up a renewable energy plant in the northeast of Uganda, and Masdar is investing heavily here, too.”

Kibedi adds that the UAE has ensured that COP28 is different from any other COP that has ever come before.

“Whereas other COPs were filled with pledges, COP28 created effective implementation systems and clear deliverables. Very few stakeholders were included at other COP, but as many as possible are being included this time around, including special programmes for youth and women,” he notes.

Kibedi concludes by declaring no standard template for adapting sustainable practices. Every country needs to have its unique model.

He says: “Collaboration between countries is so important. After all, life is all about learning. For instance, Uganda excels in producing clean energy, but many other countries are ahead of us in sustainable agricultural production. With over 100 countries present, COP28 is a great chance to showcase our capabilities and learn from other nations, too.”


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