“We need to ACT NOW. Our VOICES must be heard.”
As part of the marginalized and discriminated community in Uganda, who are greatly affected by the environment and climate change challenges, we need to collectively add our voices to the discussions at The Conference of Parties 27(COP 27) which seeks measures where we are now on climate finance, emission reduction and climate resilience development.

Climate finance refers to the local, national or transnational financing, drawn from from the public, private or alternative sources that seek to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will address climate change.
Emission reduction refers to lowering the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by individuals, organizations or a country.

Climate Resilience development means building the capacity to be able to reduce our vulnerability to climate hazards, cutting back greenhouse gas emissions and conserving biodiversity.
The Conference of Parties 27 (COP 27) summit is being hosted at Sharm El- Sheikh in Egypt from 6th to 18th November 2022. This will give a number key stakeholders an opportunity not only to attend in big numbers but also, to collectively evaluate the commitments and pledges made by developed countries at the COP 26 and front actions that better suit the current status of environmental and climate change emergencies we are witnessing in different regions of Uganda and in other African countries.

Even when there has been an improvement, Climate financing, one of the main area of focus at the summit has been an issue from 2009 where developed countries pledged $100 billion USD to help developing countries fight emissions and build resilience, has failed to become a reality.
Who suffers most when such pledges are not fulfilled in the global South especially Uganda?
Uganda as a country has been hit by different hazards due to climate change and is facing many crises in the different regions of the country ranging from; the drought we have witnessed in regions like Karamoja that has claimed many lives, the floods which hit Mbale, Kaphorwa, Pakwach and Kasese districts; the change in the weather patterns and increase in temperatures which is greatly affecting food and nutrition security in the country yet there is inadequate information about implementation of the 10% commitment by government at the Maputo Protocol towards agriculture, the increase in the cost of living due to the rise in prices, the debate going on about the East African Crude Oil Pipeline(EACOP) in the country, the Bugoma forest saga, heavy rainfalls which have destroyed people’s homes in districts like Kanugu in South Western region and the rate at which the different wetlands in the country are being occupied and encroached besides shortage in access to clean water.

This therefore requires us to be part of all spaces and actions that can contribute to sustainable solutions for better livelihood and growth in Uganda. As sexual and gender minorities need to keep track of issues and discussions concerning issues that fuel unequal distribution and access to resources and affect our livelihood. We contribute and be part of conversations in holding State actors and investors accountable to the people as per their commitments in order to build long term solutions to climate action emergencies and overcome the current barriers towards climate finance. This will also help in coming up with inclusive and diverse solutions as program and planning frameworks are developed.

This summit’s theme is; “Delivering for the people and the planet, aims at Implementation.”With the current climate emergency, there’s need to shift from negotiations and planning to actual action. We have all witnessed the gaps in implementation of the pledges from the previous COP summits.
After COP 26, the State came out and highlighted some of the area discussions that had been carried out during the summit. One of the focus areas was the adaptation to protect local communities and natural habitats, negotiating on how markets would work for emission reduction, negotiating to agree on a common time frame on how nationally determined contributions for emission can be implemented, negotiating a design to enhance transparent frame work to track and increase climate ambitions.
Uganda also highlighted the discussions about the target of $100 billion USD pledged by developed countries in public and private financing which was supposed to be achieved by 2022. This is meant to help developing countries expand their clean energies system for adaptation and resilience.
There is therefore an opportunity for African countries, to hold the developed countries accountable on their promise.

As LGBTQ+ persons, how does all this threaten our well-being?
Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SSD 2); focuses on ending hunger and achieving food and nutrition security. With the current trend there’s an increase in Food and Nutrition insecurity, our health and well-being has been greatly affected our productivity level and affecting our livelihood.
Emissions affect the access to clean water and sanitation, hindering us to achieve SDG 6 which aims at the availability of clean water and sanitation for all. Clean water and sanitation is an Sexual and Reproductive Health Right (SRHR) issues and many LGBTQ+ persons would be greatly affected ifthe availability and management of clean water and sanitation is affected.

We live in the different local communities which are affected by the ongoing displacements leaving many homeless. This fuels violence and gender inequality. SGD 5 aims at achieving gender equality however in times of displacements, the most marginalized groups suffer more like women, girls, LGBTQ+ persons, persons with disabilities and the elderly. We have witnessed this in our country.
Studies have shown that dirty energy exposes us to health hazards and also destroys the ecosystem which in the end hinders us fro achieving SDG 1. We can not end Poverty if our environment is destroyed because it provides livelihood to many of us directly and indirectly. Without forests and pollution of water bodies and air, poverty increases. Human inhabitants and natural habitats are interlinked and our well-being feeds directly from natural habitats like the wetlands, forests, oceans. Over time, we have witnessed the destruction of natural habitats and this dwells down to us the citizens. We feel the hit from their destruction and the most marginalized suffer more.
With the high level of Pollution in the country, our health and well-being is affected. Sustainable Development Goal 3 focuses on ensuring health lives and promoting our well being but how can we achieve that in polluted environments.

Issues of climate change put everyone in a vulnerable state. We can drive and create change for sustainable growth and livelihood if everyone is involved. We ought to add our voices and demand for the implementation of the different commitments, engage in discussions which contribute to our well-being and the protection of natural habitats.
Winfred Mugambwa
Executive Director
Rights 4 Her Uganda