The Mbale Territorial Approach to Climate Change project is a three-year partnership between Wales, the Mbale region of Uganda and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The UNDP runs the UN’s global development work across 166 countries. The Wales/Mbale partnership is one of five pilot projects which link regions in the developed world with those in the developing world.
The project will help Mbale both understand what Climate Change means for them and help them take the actions to enable them to cope.
The First Minister said:
“I am delighted to announce this project that will build on the already close links between Wales and the Mbale region of Uganda. We will be providing Welsh expertise and knowledge to help Mbale prepare its own plans to address and adapt to climate change. For many in the developed world, climate change can seem as a far away threat, but in Mbale they are already seeing its impact on their way of life at first hand.
“Most people in the region are subsistence farmers whose livelihoods are acutely sensitive to the changes in the weather that they have seen in recent years. Coffee is the region’s biggest export, providing a livelihood for thousands of people. If temperatures in the area rise by just 2˚C, then they will be unable to grow the crop. Industrialised countries like ours have a moral duty to help these regions prepare their own plans to adapt and prepare for our changing environment.”
One of the first projects under the scheme will be to work with a Fairtrade Coffee Co- Op in Mbale to run a tree nursery. The trees will provide much needed shade to lower the temperature for the coffee plants of 6,000 farmers whilst absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.
Environment Minister Jane Davidson said:
“For millions of people around the world climate change is already a reality, not an academic concept. It is changing the way they live and how they provide for their families. This project will provide real, on the ground assistance, preparing communities for the changing world around them.”
The Chief Executive of Mbale District Andrew Mawejje said:
“Farmers in our region have been dependent on the behaviour of birds and insects to know when the rains will come and when to plant their crops. Since our climate started changing around three years ago the birds and insects have also changed their behaviour. We have done little or nothing to cause climate change yet we are the first to suffer from its consequences. We are looking forward to working with the people of Wales. They will help us make the changes so that we can adapt to.”
Gareth Thomas, Minister for International Development, said:
"This partnership will help some of the world’s poorest people prepare themselves for the potentially devastating impacts of climate change.
"The UK is working hard at Copenhagen to help developing countries, such as Uganda, get the finance and support they both need and deserve to help prepare for an uncertain future."
The Department for International Development is providing £100,000 for the initiative to match £75,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government and £50,000 from the Wales based Waterloo Foundation.
The Welsh Assembly Government has set an ambitious target of cutting carbon emissions 3% per year from 2011 onwards in areas it controls, enabling an 80% reduction before 2050. By 2020, we expect emissions in Wales to have reduced by at least 40% compared to 1990.
15 December 2009