Church of Uganda Joins Urgent Call for Climate Action


Today, the Church of Uganda, in collaboration with development partners within the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together ACT-Uganda Forum), has added its voice to this crucial conversation, emphasizing the critical need for immediate measures to address the climate change crisis.This is
like many other stakeholders across Africa which are united in a collective call for urgent climate action, as called by the ongoing Africa Climate week in Nairobi.

Uganda, like many African nations, faces extensive environmental degradation, including desertification, deforestation, forest degradation, wetland and riverbank encroachment, soil erosion, and declining soil fertility. Poor waste management, particularly the disposal of non-biodegradable products like polythene bags locally known as “Kaveera,” has significantly contributed to this degradation, posing a severe threat to Uganda’s climate and its natural resources and livelihoods.

Under the overarching theme of “cities, urban & rural settlements, Infrastructure & Transport” guiding this week’s events, waste management emerges as a central issue affecting Ugandan cities and urban areas while exacerbating the adverse effects of climate change.

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While officiating at the public open garbage collection event in Nakulabye slum, Kampala, Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, the archbishop of the church of Uganda, mentioned thst Uganda continues to grapple with waste disposal and management challenges, particularly concerning plastics and polythene bags.

According to the archbishop, the slow implementation and enforcement of the existing laws, like the National Environment Act 2019, and the National Climate Change Act 2021, has resulted in unmanaged garbage collection and widespread littering of waste materials in homes, streets, churches, schools, roads, markets, and public spaces.

“These actions have led to increased air pollution, water body pollution, flooding, and rising temperatures, adversely affecting human health and livelihoods. Without accelerated implementation of waste management laws and policies, Uganda’s efforts to mitigate climate change impacts will remain futile,” he added.

Acknowledging the government of Uganda’s commitment to legal and regulatory frameworks, including the Climate Change Act 2021, the archbishop calls for a collective efforts, and need for continued action to combat climate change, protect the environment, and secure a sustainable future for all.

“The government has established ministries, statutory bodies, and agencies dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With this I call upon the government, civil society organizations, political leaders, bishops, clergy, and Christians to take specific steps: Enforce the National Environmental Act 2019 and National Climate Change Act 2021, ensuring a clean and sustainable country. Prioritize funding for climate change adaptation and mitigation programs that contribute to a zero-waste economy,”

He adds that Ugandans should adopt environmental friendly practices, like 4Rs in their daily life: Refuse unnecessary purchases, Reduce waste production, Reuse items, and Recycle when possible. Promote waste segregation and separation in households to facilitate composting and recycling. To the local governments leaders, he call for support to communities through developing local bylaws that aid waste disposal and management.

The Church of Uganda has championed environmental protected through the formulating an Environmental Management and Climate Change policy that guides its commitment to environmental conservation and climate change mitigation. In 2020, the Church initiated campaigns promoting a Kaveera-free environment and tree planting. Numerous dioceses have implemented various measures in line with these campaigns, including tree planting on Church land, maintaining Kaveera-free Church compounds, and incorporating environmental conservation messages in sermons and communiques, and Kaziimba says these actions have significantly contributed to addressing the climate change crisis.

In the same spirit, Rev Andrew Agaba, the church of Uganda director for households and community development, highlighted that the church commits to plant 40 million trees on all bare church land, including it’s schools, health facilities and any other of such place where it is appropriate.

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