CAES holds dialogue with parliamentarians on climate change: Presents curriculum review efforts and research findings for policy guidance
Scientists from Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences(CAES) working on a climate change project on April 17th 2013 engaged Parliamentary committees of Agriculture, Natural resources and climate change to update them on what the university was doing in regard to addressing the impact of climate change.
The climate change policy dialogue was held at Imperial Royale Hotel Kampala on the project titled, “Strengthening East African Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation capacity through Training Research and Policy Intervention.
The a half day workshop was characterized by speeches and presentations on curriculum review efforts and research being undertaken to provide scientific evidence that could guide policy formulation in regard to climate change. The newly developed courses include a Master of Science in climate change and sustainability and two short courses.
In his opening remarks Ag. Principal CAES who is also the Principal Investigator of the project on Climate Change sciences said, the project was sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and had been running for the past three years with five major objectives.
“We wanted to have climate change advisory panel that will focus on climate change issues and guide the project, review the curriculum in the University to mainstream climate change in the teaching, do research in critical areas to be shared to see if the issues raised could guide policy formulation”, he said
Prof. Kyamanywa also said the other objectives were to create a regional form of practice that is, create a nucleus of people who can talk to each other on issues of climate change and to engage collaboratively on issues of policy.
He reminded legislators that before starting the project, the college had an opportunity of interacting with members of committees of parliament and agreed that some time in future they would give a feedback. He implored legislators to feel free to consult the college in case they had issues pertaining to agriculture and environment.
He reported that besides establishing an advisory panel and a committee of climate change experts and database on the website, the college had reviewed both under and graduate programs and streamlined climate sciences in the teaching saying the workshop was mainly to give feedback for members of parliament.
On behalf of the parliamentary committees of Agriculture, Natural resources and climate, Hon. Micheal Werikhe thanked the college for the organization and invitation of members of parliament saying as MPs, they needed to work with the university so as to come up with appropriate environment that is good for people.
“Climate change is one of the key factors that need concerted efforts because Uganda as an agricultural country needs to be conscious of the environment. Despite the fact that Uganda has oil, it can expire in 30 years but if Uganda is to be transformed, attention must be focused on agricultural development because it stays forever”, MP Werikhe stated.
Discussions were made with advice and take home lessons for the academicians and legislators in regard to how best the university and policy makers can address the issue of Climate change.
Emerging issues from the workshop included the need to put more emphasis
short courses to empower people at all levels, develop an agricultural system which takes care of climate change and incorporates the cultural systems that encourage farmers to be more conscious of their environment.
The other issue was the need to stimulate a debate on the aspects of communities benefiting from carbon trade so as to build capacity of small holder farmers and encourage them maintain multipurpose trees with high carbon absorption capacity.
On behalf of the parliamentary committees of Agriculture, Natural resources and climate change, Hon. Mboijana, thanked MPs and the college for the insightful presentations and discussions and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to have more insights on issues related to agriculture, environment and climate change.
She said, research was a cornerstone to which agriculture and agricultural development is based noting that over 80% of Uganda’s population depends on agriculture as their source of livelihood.
“When they talk about agriculture -research based technology, its all about people who depend on agriculture and if the college comes up with innovations and research it is about economically empowering the people” she said.
Mboijana pledged the committees’ readiness to look at the bills and policy proposals if the college plays its part adding that the day’s interaction should start a linkage of working together for the benefit of the people they represent and those who look to the intellectuals to improve their livelihoods.
The MP emphasized that whatever benefits people, was first priority and that whatever the university comes up with shall be really supported in parliament.
Ag Principal, Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa expressed happiness that the legislators managed to join the college in the policy dialogue and pledged continued consultations and dialogue with the legislators.