Statement - 13th June 2012 - Bakkade Foundation Network
Climate change is defined as a long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in the average weather conditions or a change in the distribution of weather events with respect to an average, for example, greater or fewer extreme weather events. Climate change may be limited to a specific region, or may occur across the entirety of Earth.
Uganda is highly vulnerable to climate change and variability - its economy and the well-being of its people are tightly bound to climate.
Human-induced climate change in the coming century has the potential to halt or reverse the country's developmental trajectory.
Climate change can lead to increased food insecurity; shifts in the spread of diseases like malaria; soil erosion and land degradation; flood damage to infrastructure and settlements, shifts in the productivity of agricultural and natural resources, exacerbating poverty and triggering migration as well as heightened competition over strategic water resources.
These changes in climate could lead to regional insecurity.
BAFNET (Bakkade Foundation Network) is a registered non-profit, non-governmental organization formed to empower the elderly community and orphaned children in Uganda, to effectively enable them to take part in all societal activities that affect them directly and indirectly, thus boosting their socio-economic status.
The organization has a total of eighty (80) beneficiaries where 56 members are elderly and 24 members are orphans.
All these people are catered to from their homes and are spread in six districts of Uganda, which includes Kampala, Mpigi, Mityana, Mukono, Wakiso and Masaka.
These areas are affected by environmental changes – which also hinders BAFNET operations and planning.
BAFNET has a small piece of land where food is grown. The harvest is then given out to elderly women and orphans throughout our area of operation, but due to various changes in the environment, we have experienced various shifts in agricultural productivity of which has lead to the organization not meeting its expectations as far as feeding these marginalized people is concerned.
BAFNET, through its sanitization campaigns, laid interventions to improve water harvesting as well as improved provision of water for production to counter water scarcity as a result of prolonged droughts. Various wells have been renovated and cleaned.
The level of Lake Victoria is highly sensitive to changes in climate. However, recent claims that the drop in lake level is due to climate change should be viewed with skepticism. Approximately half of the drop in level between 2000 and 2006 can be explained by excess releases at the outflow of the lake made in order to meet power generation demands, whilst the other half appears to be due to climatic factors.
It is not yet possible to conclude that climate change is affecting lake levels - Lake Victoria has a long history of high variability in water levels in response to natural climate variability. Instead, it appears that lake levels are returning to the lower levels experienced before the unusually high levels of the 1960s and 70s.
There is uncertainty as to whether lake levels in the future will be lower or higher on average than at present, but it is likely that variability in levels will continue – and may become more extreme. Fluctuations in lake level will continue to have an impact upon the generating capacity of Uganda's hydroelectric facilities and on infrastructure around the lake, such as domestic water supply, irrigation, and transport infrastructure. The effect of lake level fluctuations and increased temperatures due to climate change on the fishery and ecosystem of the lake is less well known.
The resilience of the Lake Victoria ecosystem to climate change can be increased by reducing the impact of other stresses such as overfishing, soil erosion, and pollution.