Interactive Workshop in Uganda Identifies Possible Priority Action to Strengthen Learning and Skills Development to Address Climate Change

19 September 2012, Kampala, Uganda. Building capacities for low-carbon and climate-proof development are key objectives of Uganda’s National Development Plan 2010-2015. The national education and training system plays a key role in meeting these objectives and delivering learning and skills development in support of a green transformation. In this context, the technical mid-term workshop for the national UN CC:Learn Project in Uganda, 19-20 September 2012, Kampala identified concrete action to strengthen institutional capacities in the country to deliver learning, focusing on the education, agriculture, energy, water, forestry, environment, tourism, works and transport sectors. Under the theme “Designing Results-based Action to Strengthen Human Resource Capacities to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development”, the workshop brought together more than 50 participants from various government sectors, education and training institutions, Members of Parliament, private sector, and civil society. Participants also defined a number of individual learning and skills development activities to support institutional reform and capacity development.

In her opening remarks the Hon. Minister of State of Environment of Uganda, Ms. Nabugere Munaaba Flavia highlighted that human resource capacities in the country needed to be strengthened to effectively take advantage of the opportunities of a green transformation. As a concrete action to meet this challenge, the Minister proposed the creation of a rural skills development center focusing on training youth. Her remarks were complemented by a presentation later in the day by Eng. Dr. Adam Sebbit, Department of Mechanical Engineering who pointed to the job opportunities of a green economy. He said: “We should consider that national learning institutions are ‘change agents’ that can actively promote green skills and occupations.”

The two-day event was an important step in the development of Uganda’s National Strategy to Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development that is expected to be presented at the 18th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP18) in Doha, December 2012. Mr. Paul Isabirye, Coordinator, Climate Change Unit, Ministry of Water and Environment and National Coordinator for the UN CC:Learn Project, commended the high commitment of sectors and stakeholders in the Strategy development process and stressed the importance of linking the National Strategy to other ongoing and planned initiatives such as the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) and the National Climate Change Policy. 

The workshop built on preparatory project activities carried out earlier in 2012. Mr. Bob Natifu, Senior Climate Change Officer - Outreach, Climate Change Unit, highlighted some of the milestones in the process including the National UN CC:Learn Planning Workshop and an assessment of national learning needs and capacities to deliver learning action involving over 100 institutions. In terms of the results of the assessment, Dr. Robert Wamala, School of Statistics and Applied Economics, highlighted that climate change mitigation and adaptation topics were relevant for nearly 90% of the responding institutions. However, half of them did not receive/organize any staff training activities related to climate change over the last 10 years. Similarly, 50% considered human resource capacities to be insufficient to perform climate change related tasks. 

The main element of the workshop were working group sessions to identify possible priority action to strengthen climate change learning in different sectors. Before splitting up into working groups, Ms. Amrei Horstbrink, UN CC:Learn Secretariat introduced the methodology for developing results-oriented priority action in the context of the National Strategy. The first working group session then focused on the education sector, identifying priority action for primary and secondary education, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and tertiary education. As an input to the working groups, Mr. Patrick Sempala, Principal Education Officer, Ministry of Education and Sports provided an overview of the education and training system in Uganda and introduced the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development. Ms. Prossy Mulyowa, Curriculum Specialist and Coordinator, Climate Change Education at the National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) presented current efforts to integrate climate change in primary and secondary education. Prof. John Kaddu pointed to relevant initiatives at the tertiary level, including curriculum review and development, fellowship programmes and climate change research. The second working group session dealt with priority action to strengthen climate change learning in the agriculture, energy, water, forestry, environment, tourism, works and transport sectors. 

Possible action that emerged from the discussions included inter alia (not exclusively): 

  • The development of a skills development strategy for clean technologies; 
  • A policy on integrating climate change learning into TVET; 
  • Scaling-up current efforts to integrate climate change in primary and secondary education; 
  • Training for artisans on producing energy-efficient stoves; and 
  • Launching of climate change awareness-raising campaign using mobile phones. 

In wrapping up the discussions Mr. Philip Gwage, former UNFCCC Focal Point of Uganda, emphasized the need to clearly link the priority action included in the National Strategy to other relevant capacity development frameworks such as the United Nations Joint Programme on Climate Change in Uganda. The workshop was officially closed by Mr. Michael Nkalubo, Commissioner for Meteorology, Ministry of Water and Environment.

About UN CC:Learn

UN CC:Learn is a partnership of 32 multilateral organizations which supports Member States in designing and implementing results-oriented and sustainable learning to address climate change. The Secretariat for UN CC:Learn is provided by UNITAR. An important aspect of UN CC:Learn is to support countries in developing a National Strategy to Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development, through a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder process. During the course of 2012-2013, Benin, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Malawi, and Uganda are participating as UN CC:Learn pilot countries. Core funding for the 2011-2013 implementation phase of UN CC:Learn is provided by the Swiss Government.