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Welcome remarks by Ronald Kaggwa, National Planning Authority
Members of the academia,
Members of the private sector,
Members of the civil society,
Government representatives present,
It is my great pleasure to join you all and deliver opening remarks at this ‘first Green Growth summit for Uganda’.
First of all, I thank our partners, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, together with the African Centre for Trade and Development, Non-State actors who are committed to advancing the vision of green growth in this country, for organizing this summit.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In 2012, the world leaders gathered at the Rio +20 conference with the objective of securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing progress and gaps in implementation, and addressing challenges.
One of the two themes of the conference were “green economy” in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
The discussions of the Conference mostly focused around leveraging actions across a broad spectrum of sectors to build the momentum for green growth, which could bring about socially inclusive and environmentally sound economic transformation.
Following the conference, it was expected that green economy should be a means for achieving sustainable development and adapted to national circumstances and priorities on a voluntary basis.
The Government of Uganda, through the National Planning Authority, then set out to develop an instrument that would support stakeholders in Uganda to transition from conventional development, towards a green economy. We started by commissioning a study to tell us if a Green growth development pathway is viable. This study confirmed that indeed following this pathway will be expensive in the short run, but the benefits far out way the costs.
With principles such as resource efficiency, equity and social inclusiveness, low emissions and sustainable economic growth, green growth presents an innovative growth path that simultaneously generates inclusive economic development and environment sustainability.
A focus on green growth is very critical in this era when it is very clear that human activities are responsible for climate change. Yet as a country, the impacts of climate change threaten to undo the development we have achieved. As the country rallies behind transforming from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country by 2040, the Government is taking steps to ensure that this transformation is cognizant of green growth tenets stipulated by all the SDGs, the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 2063 Agenda of the African Union. This implies that the envisaged economic growth must not only be socially inclusive but also uphold the integrity of the environment and natural resources.
A Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy 2017/18- 2030/31, was therefore developed and launched in 20-17. It focuses on five core catalytic investment areas of:
Sustainable agriculture. We would like to see increased access to irrigation technologies; better management of soil fertility; and increased actions along the value chains for strategic enterprises with a focus on product quality and quantity, market diversification, excellence in agro-processing and effective use of knowledge acquired from within the value chain.
Natural capital management. Within this investment area include tourism development – with its huge potential to create jobs and attract foreign exchange; forestry management; sustainable wetland management; and sustainable and optimal water resources management – promoting the blue economy
Green cities (urban development). the strategy focuses on efficient waste management (solid and wastewater) for at least five cities and 15 municipalities. This is one area where private sector can play a critical role in mindset change towards sorting of waste that can result in waste harvesting for various products. Other interventions include promoting sustainable procurement and interlinkages between the rural raw materials production base and industrial production in cities.
Energy for a green economy. Here we are advancing investments in renewable energy solutions. We have investments in hydropower that will ultimately increase access to electricity; but we need far more investments in cooking solutions. This is because, over 90% of the population uses biomass (charcoal and firewood) to put a meal on the table. Think about all the restaurants, hotels, schools, police etc, in addition to all the individual households; each using charcoal or firewood! We need to reverse this, fast.
The envisaged outcomes of the Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy implementation are: income and livelihoods enhancement; decent green jobs; climate change adaptation and mitigation; sustainable environment and natural resources management; food and nutrition security; resource use efficiency; and social inclusiveness and economic transformation at the sub-national and national levels.
To this end, Government of Uganda developed the Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy Action plan which is running until 2030. We shall convene then, take stock of gains made, and discuss prevailing challenges, in order to design another strategy that will see us into the year 2040. Just yesterday, various stakeholders convened in Mukono to validate findings for the Green growth Public expenditure review report. The report …. However, public expenditure alone cannot help us achieve our objectives.
I am therefore pleased that non-state actors (CSOs, the private sector and development partners) have taken the first steps to rally behind the implementation of the UGGDS by organizing this knowledge sharing platform – the Platform for Uganda’s Green Growth.
I look forward to the collective impact that we shall get together as we transition to a green economy.
It is therefore my singular honor to declare this Green Growth summit, open.
For God and my Country.