On 11 November 2020, the Climate Parliament held a national virtual parliamentary roundtable with parliamentarians from Uganda. The event was co-organised with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), supported by the European Commission, Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) and co-sponsored by the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). This was an occasion to discuss opportunities for Uganda to accelerate its transition to clean energy.
Mr. Daniel Martin from UNIDO informed MPs that UNIDO and its partners, along with the Ugandan government, are in the process of developing renewable energy programmes for Uganda. The aim of these programmes is to offer support in developing proposals, to forge contacts with investors and developers, and to provide technical assistance and training. UNIDO has strengthened its efforts with the Private Finance Advisory Network (PFAN). PFAN is a multilateral public-private partnership initiative that brings together renewable energy projects with investors. Mr. Sergio Missana, Executive Director of the Climate Parliament, presented a series of action ideas that Ugandan parliamentarians could consider in order to advance the transition to renewable energy. To avoid a climate catastrophe, this transition needs to occur at a greater speed and scale, he said. Mr. Missana pointed out that MPs play a key role in ensuring that governments increase their ambition to transition to clean energy. MPs could ask ministers if Uganda has engaged its neighbours in discussions on energy trading. They could ask ministers if they plan to initiate or expand renewable energy auctions and instruments, with the aim of de-risking investments. Additionally, they could ask ministers what actions they are taking to accelerate the electrification of transport. Moreover, they could ask whether the government is working on a national strategy for the expansion of renewable energy mini-grids in rural areas. Finally, legislators could ask their government what measures it will adopt to increase NDC commitments for the next UN climate summit (COP26).
Parliamentarians drew attention to a newly proposed bill on climate change in Uganda. The bill is currently under discussion at committee stage. It may include the revisions of Uganda’s NDCs, which currently aim for a 22% reduction in emissions by 2030. Parliamentarians are aware of Uganda’s potential for the transition to renewable energy. However, access to finance, as well as existing infrastructure, remain a barrier to the implementation of renewable energy programmes. Parliamentarians welcomed the support of the private sector. In addition, they said, power supply has been a barrier to the implementation of projects, such as the development of industrial parks. Some parliamentarians pointed out that the transport sector is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and they have not seen a governmental effort to address this. They concluded that the political will is critical to help the country achieve more ambitious climate actions.