May 29, 2024

Uganda: Importance of Climate Adaptation Funding for Refugee and Hunger Response

Uganda Importance of Climate Adaptation Funding for Refugee and Hunger Response

Editorial

Entering a refugee settlement in Uganda brings a sense of hope. When both refugee and host community housing coexist, it showcases the positive impact of investing in a response for displaced people, offering them a sense of security during times of crises.

The World Food Programme is providing food aid and support for livelihoods to 1. 4 million out of 1. 5 million refugees in Uganda, despite receiving the lowest level of funding in history.

The World Food Programme is focusing on providing assistance to refugees in all 13 refugee settlements and nearby host communities in Uganda, which is currently our most underfunded effort in Eastern Africa.

A successful refugee response depends on individuals and communities who willingly welcome and support the most vulnerable people by offering their hearts, homes, and their country. Uganda, with the largest refugee population in Africa, provides a safe haven for those escaping conflict and environmental disasters, allowing them to recover and start anew.

The refugee policy has received significant praise for its inclusivity and progressiveness, however, the growing crises have resulted in a decrease in available resources.

Adhering to global agreements like the Kampala Convention to tackle the underlying reasons for displacement, including climate-related factors, and to offer refugees the necessary assistance to weather crises and become self-sufficient, a sustainable refugee strategy will only be achieved through an emphasis on climate adaptation.

In other words, it needs to ready refugees and host communities to protect the environment and adjust to evolving climate conditions. Investing in renewable energy is crucial to provide refugees with access to clean fuel that protects both their health and the environment.

It is crucial to promote and encourage the practice of planting trees to protect food systems, while also ensuring that refugees and host communities are involved in decision-making processes that affect their environment and well-being.

Climate change leads to an increase in tensions between refugees and host communities due to the destruction of land and crops, extreme weather conditions, and the potential for conflict.

Extreme weather in the Nakivale settlement, located in southwestern Uganda near the Tanzanian border, directly impacts the way people make a living. During the dry season, the treeless ground lacks shade to protect it from the intense heat of the sun.

Plants perish, food prices rise, and numerous people go to sleep without a meal. During the rainy season, homes and gardens are flooded by rivers and swamps, leading to damage of properties, houses, and agriculture, as well as spreading diseases like malaria.

Similar situations happen in Kyangwali refugee settlement, located in the Hoima district in the southwest, where the Bugoma forest is facing challenges in preserving its original beauty as people continue to encroach upon it for firewood, timber, and agricultural purposes. The land in the northwest, which is already predominantly rocky, is experiencing fatigue due to excessive cultivation.

It is both an international responsibility and a fundamental aspect of the Ubuntu ethos of the people and Government of Uganda to welcome those escaping crises.

Climate change is making the living situations of both refugees and those who are hosting them more difficult.

Uganda’s efforts to support refugees are significantly underfunded, and WFP can currently only provide assistance to the most vulnerable individuals in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency and the Ugandan government.

Approximately 14 percent of the refugees are identified as being at high risk and are provided with 60 percent of their food rations, while 82 percent are classified as having moderate vulnerability and receive 30 percent of their food rations. Roughly 4 percent of refugees are deemed to be independent and self-sufficient.

It is especially challenging for women escaping crises as they often bear the burden of securing food for their families, even in harsh weather conditions.

Funding should not only address immediate and sustained livelihood needs, but also ensure that all aspects of food supply chains receive the necessary support.

Investing in sustainable refugee response has a positive impact on individuals, families, communities, and the overall economy. In 2022, the WFP in Uganda distributed $42 million in cash-based aid to refugees and delivered 73,800 metric tons of food.

Additionally, we invested $71. 7 million in local procurement to assist smallholder farmers in producing higher quality food for the country and earning a sustainable income. More than 80 percent of WFP’s yearly purchases are made within the local area. Every dollar that WFP invests in purchasing goods and services results in a US$6 boost to the country’s overall annual output.

However, the issue still arises: can a prolonged reaction endure in a world that focuses on newer crises and disregards older but equally significant ones. Can we collaborate to develop a comprehensive solution that allows both people and the environment to thrive not only today, but also in the future. It is definitely time to advocate for increased investment to ensure the long-term sustainability of Uganda’s refugee response.