By Jumah Nsubuga
The East African Legislative Assembly currently sitting in Burundi capital Bujumbura yesterday adopted a crucial report of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Climate Change that urges Parliamentarians to fully participate in the consolidation of Africa’s common position on climate change and to focus on priority areas of interest within the international arena.
The report observed that climate change is hampering agriculture, affecting natural resources and largely degrading the environment and advocates for a multi-disciplinary approach towards mitigating on the adverse environmental impacts.
The report presented at the floor of the House by the chairperson of the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee Isabelle Ndahayo, states that East African Community has a unique opportunity to influence climate change negotiations given the institutional arrangements including the East African Legislative Assembly, Lake Victoria Basin Commission as well as the technical mandate as enshrined by the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.
The report recommends that a special Committee that adequately addresses technical and strategic issues on climate change be formed by EALA, and at the same time, the EAC Secretariat and the EALA should collaborate to ensure the full operationalisation of the EAC Climate Change Fund while the Council of Ministers should bring a Bill on the same to the House.
It further recommended that Members of EALA and those from National Parliaments actively accelerate the regional and national adaptation and mitigation responses informed by the best available scientific information.
The Uganda’s representative in EALA Mike Ssebalu noted that weather patterns were changing with the water levels falling to considerably low levels hitherto unseen, as he decried the scenario of unpredictability of climate and remarked that Parliamentary intervention was of the essence and relevant in dealing with the matter.
Mean while the Burundi representative in EALA Leonce Ndarubagiye noted that survival of human kind was key and reiterated that declining changes in the atmosphere would have serious repercussions on the environment.
On to the same development Rwanda representative in EALA Christophe Bazivamo remarked that climate change was a challenging issue impacting negatively on the region and the continent citing the devastating floods, drought, environmental degradation and other disasters affecting productivity which all need rapid measures to contain them.
Elsewhere the Kenyan representative in EALA Abubakar Zein Abubakar noted that the warming and rising of the sea level was a notable challenge, which if unchecked, water could lead to a situation that could escalate conflicts in the region.
Tanzanian legislator Abdullah Mwinyi remarked that it was important for the EALA Members to sensitize the publics on the effects of climate change.