Honourable Maria Mutagamba, Ugandan Minister of Water and Environment, began her opening address with an example of a consequence of climate change that is close to home for the majority of conference delegates – the drought that has been causing famine and electricity rations throughout Uganda over the past six months. The conference is not only timely owing to the very obvious illustration that the drought unfortunately provides, but also in light of the upcoming global summit in Copenhagen in December, where solutions found at this conference could potentially provide important innovations to be addressed during that global conversation. While mitigation and adaptation are both key themes of the Congress, Hon. Mutagamba stressed that adaptation is of particular importance for Africa. She examined six main areas that necessitate careful planning throughout the continent: survival, water harvesting, tree planting, the avoidance of deforestation, soil waste management, and the initiation of dialogue in the carbon market to ensure fairness for the African continent. Through working in these six key areas, those involved in the process must remain mindful of the individual African citizen. To show the Government of Uganda’s support for aiding the country address climate change, the Minister invited Congress delegates representing various District Assemblies to arrange a time when the Ministry of Water and Environment can visit their District to address consequences of climate change particular to that locality. While climate change is a global phenomenon, consequences can be unique to communities. Consequently, Hon. Mutagamba encourages communities to work alongside the government to find solutions that best address individual needs.
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