Climate Mitigation Food Security Trade Policy at Work

Climate, Food, Trade: Where is the Policy Nexus? – Uganda

In Uganda, the field studies undertaken in for this publication clearly indicate that there are strong intricate relationships between trade, climate change and food security. Various policies and legislations are in place in the three areas but the linkages among them have not been fully acknowledged. This is largely due to the already complex nature of any of the three areas on their own, which further complicates coherent policy-making and coordination among the relevant ministries and institutions. This publication is part of a series of five country studies conducted in the EAC member countries Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

Forword by Hon. Flavia Munaaba Nabugere, Minister of State for Water and Environment, Uganda

Climate change and its effects are already being experienced not only in Uganda and the East African region, but in many parts of the world. Frequent extreme weather events are affecting agricultural production structures and competitiveness. In Uganda the limited infrastructure is also being affected by these events, a situation that has direct implications for food security and trade. Climate change, therefore, has the potential to adversely affect the core elements of food security, which are availability of food; access to food; and stability of availability and access over time. By disrupting food production and thereby availability, livelihoods would be exposed to food insecurity.

Admittedly the impact of climate change will go beyond food security and should be assessed in its various dimensions. However, the issue of food security stands out and requires urgent attention considering that a significant proportion of the population in Uganda and the East African region are already food insecure, a situation that will only get worse unless comprehensive and coordinated actions are implemented.

Trade can and should be an important part of the response agenda. In the negative scenario, trade can further aggravate the situation, say through carbon emissions associated with production and transportation related to trade. On the positive side, with the right policies and measures, trade can be a vehicle through which adaptation to climate change may be achieved and thereby food security. This can only be attained if linkages between the three issues of climate change, food security and trade are well understood in order to arrive at appropriate and holistic policies that in the case of Uganda will help attain the national Vision 2025 of poverty reduction through environmentally sustainable development. This study underscores this point by calling for enhancement of the capacity of policy makers and technocrats to appreciate and understand the nexus between climate change, food security, and trade, and how their inter-linkages can be translated into policies and negotiating positions in various forums such as UNFCCC and WTO.

I must congratulate CUTS International, Geneva and its partners undertaking the PACT EAC project, for undertaking this important study which will be a basis for enhancing capacity at the national level to deal with the challenges occasioned by climate change on food security, and to leverage trade for this purpose. At a personal level, I am glad to have participated in some of the project events such as the Regional Annual Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda in September 2012 that brought together a wide spectrum of stakeholders to deliberate on these critical issues and from which inputs on the way forward were derived for this study.