Climate Change threat in Uganda: CEO’s call for Urgent Action

Climate change is nolonger a distant threat. It is knocking at the doorstep of Uganda with dire consequences. The evidence is compelling, and the cost of inaction is staggering. 

National-level studies project that if adaptive measures are not promptly taken, the annual costs of climate change could skyrocket to an alarming range of US$3.2 billion to US$5.9 billion within the next decade. The sectors most profoundly impacted will be water, energy, agriculture, and infrastructure.

According to the Ministry of Water and Environment, the costs of inaction over the four-decade period from 2010 to 2050 are estimated to be between US$273 billion and US$437 billion. What’s even more concerning is that these costs will escalate over time, not only due to the intensifying climate impacts but also because of the increasing population.

These alarming figures underscore the urgent need for action to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change in Uganda. The consequences of climate change are not just environmental; they encompass a spectrum of socioeconomic issues, from food security to economic stability.

In response to this pressing crisis, the 14th Annual CEO Forum, held at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel, gathered over 100 business leaders and key decision-makers. The forum, operating under the theme “Navigating the Climate Crisis: A Call to Action,” was a call to arms to address the severe climate challenges facing Uganda.

Stephen Mukasa, the CEO Summit Uganda Country Team Leader, urged fellow CEOs to collaborate and adopt sustainable practices in their daily operations. He emphasized the importance of embracing the “Big ESG Idea,” which encompasses Environmental, Social, and Governance principles and various sustainability initiatives across different sectors. This, he argued, would enable businesses to share insights and take decisive action against the climate crisis.

As leaders, it falls upon the CEOs to explore innovative strategies, highlight successful initiatives, and commit to integrating climate-conscious practices into their organizations. This proactive approach is essential not only for the survival and prosperity of their businesses but also for the well-being of the Ugandan society.

Dr. Albert Byamugisha, the head of the National SDG Secretariat, commended the CEO Forum for providing a platform for business leaders to exchange ideas and address the challenges related to improving both the economy and communities in the country. 

He stressed the importance of aligning with Sustainable Development Goal 13, which calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The Ministry of Water points out that poor and vulnerable groups are at the highest risk, with potential damages to their assets, livelihoods, and food security. The vast range in potential impact emphasizes the need for immediate action to mitigate these impacts. 

These economic impacts are intricately linked to economic growth. If Uganda’s economy follows a growth path close to the Uganda Vision 2040, the damages would amount to approximately 2-4% of cumulated GDP over the period.

The CEO Forum, since its inception, has been a catalyst for change, driving the shift towards a purpose-driven attitude that goes beyond mere profitability. Constructive discussions and strategic solutions have emerged from the summit, addressing issues that affect economies and communities while contributing to the global fight against climate change.

This year’s forum discussed vital topics such as sustainable transportation, green financing, and strategies aligned with COP 28 objectives. Business leaders like Sanjay Rughani, the Standard Chartered Bank’s CEO and Paulina Chiwangu, the UN Women Country Manager,  emphasized the importance of humane policies, the empowerment of women and youth, and the power of collaboration in the fight against climate change.

In the face of climate change’s immediate and devastating consequences, the CEO Forum stands as a rallying point for collective action in Uganda. 

Diverse voices and perspectives are the key to resilient, adaptive, and sustainable solutions. The legacy of environmental stewardship for generations to come hinges on our ability to work together and take meaningful climate action.

Uganda is at a pivotal moment, and the call to action is loud and clear. The time to address the climate crisis is now, and the responsibility to act lies with all of us, from government bodies to business leaders and civil society. 

The future of Uganda and the well-being of its people depend on our ability to come together, innovate, and enact meaningful change

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