New climate change deal for Uganda

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Minister launches deal to help African region adapt with climate change

At Copenhagen on Tuesday 15th December, Welsh Environment Minister Jane Davidson today announced a new deal between the Welsh Assembly Government and the Mbale region of Uganda to help prepare the area for the impacts of climate change.

The Mbale Territorial Approach to Climate Change project is a three year partnership between Wales, the Mbale region of Uganda, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the DFID.

The UNDP runs the UN's global development work across the 166 countries. The Wales/Mbale partnership is one of five pilot projects which link regions in the developed world with those in the developing world.

The project will help Mbale both understand what climate change means for them and help them take the actions to enable them to cope.

Ms Davidson said:

"I am delighted to announce this project that will build on the already close links between Wales and the Mbale region of Uganda. We will be providing Welsh expertise and knowledge to help Mbale prepare its own plans to address and adapt to climate change. For many in the developed world, climate change can seem as a far away threat, but in Mbale they are already seeing its impact on their way of life at first hand. Most people in the region are subsistence farmers whose livelihoods are acutely sensitive to the changes in the weather that they have seen in recent years. Coffee is the region's biggest export, providing a livelihood for thousands of people. If temperatures in the area rise by just 2˚C, then they will be unable to grow the crop. Industrialised countries like ours have a moral duty to help these regions prepare their own plans to adapt and prepare for our changing environment."

Gareth Thomas, Minister for Development, said:

"This partnership will help some of the world's poorest people prepare themselves for the potentially devastating impacts of climate change.

"The UK is working hard at Copenhagen to help developing countries, such as Uganda, get the finance and support they both need and deserve to help prepare for an uncertain future."

One of the first projects under the scheme will be to work with a Fairtrade Coffee Co- Op in Mbale to run a tree nursery. The trees will provide much needed shade to lower the temperature for the coffee plants of 6,000 farmers whilst absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

The Chief Executive of Mbale District, Andrew Mawejje said:

"Farmers in our region have been dependent on the behaviour of birds and insects to know when the rains will come and when to plant their crops. Since our climate started changing around three years ago the birds and insects have also changed their behaviour. We have done little or nothing to cause climate change yet we are the first to suffer from its consequences. We are looking forward to working with the people of Wales. They will help us make the changes so that we can adapt to."

The Welsh Assembly Government has set an ambitious target of cutting carbon emissions 3% per year from 2011 onwards in areas it controls, enabling an 80% reduction before 2050. By 2020, we expect emissions in Wales to have reduced by at least 40%.

Notes to editors

For more information please call Leon Griffiths 029 2089 8329, Steve Robbins 029 2089 8665 or Sharon Rogers 029 2089 8636.

The Minister was joined by Jesca Eriyo, Ugandan Minister for the Environment, Ed Miliband, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Helen Clark, Administrator of the UNDP (and former PM of New Zealand) and Andrew Mawejje, Chief Administrative Officer of Mbale.

The Territorial Approach to Climate Change (TACC) programme will assist sub-national authorities (regions and states) in developing countries to design and implement their climate change strategies and investment plans.

UNDP is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. It is active in 166 countries.

Mbale is a region of Eastern Uganda with a population of around 750,000 the greater Mbale region is comparable to the size of Wales with an eco system based around Mt Elgon. A partnership between Pontypridd and Mbale known as PONT has created a strong link which now involves Glamorgan University, the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Corus, South Wales Ambulance Trust and South Wales Police. Over 300 visits have been made to the region to work on projects relating to health, education and livelihoods. 51 schools in RCT are linked with schools in Mbale. More info can be found at:

The DFID is providing =A3100,000 pa for the initiative to match =A375,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government and =A350,000 from the Wales based Waterloo Foundation.