ADOPT A CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN UGANDA TO REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
By Guest Writer
OPINION: With severe pressure mounted on the environment today, there is a need to tackle pollution and waste so as to speed up climate action and keep a clean environment.
A circular economy dictates the elimination of waste and pollution through repairs, reuse, and reduction, the circulation of products and materials (of highest value), and the regeneration of nature through restoring the natural systems.
Thus, our economy needs to create value from natural resources in newer and innovative ways by incorporating growth to positive social and environmental outcomes, thereby enabling Uganda’s transition to a more resilient, inclusive, and low-carbon economy to attain the SDG goals on sustaining the mother earth.
The seven pillars of the parish development model (PDM) and circular economy may seem closely intertwined with the latter, which calls for actions in economic development, employment policies, training, social inclusion, transport, land development, and sustainable development that entails aspects of education, energy, and climate.
Therefore, the reduction of climate change effects and protection of the environment, plus increased employment in Uganda, should lead to the adoption of the 5R’s: rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle.
This would significantly reduce environmental pressures yet work to improve the security of the supply of raw materials, hence increasing competitiveness and stimulating innovation, resulting in economic growth and job creation.
In fact, the 2001 World Employment Report estimated that globally there are around 160 million unemployed people, with a particular concentration of these in the poorest nations.
According to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts, the unemployment rate in Uganda will reach 3.10 percent by the end of 2022. UBOS statistics also indicate that in 2021, Uganda’s unemployment rate increased by 0.17%, from 2.77% to 2.94%.
The youth unemployment rate during the same period increased to 4.33%, hence the adoption of a circular economy. ILO estimates that we could grow global employment opportunities by six million through activities of recycling, repairing, renting, and remanufacturing so that the outdated traditional economic models of extraction, making, using, and disposing get replaced.
Yet we are aware that decent jobs enable families to make decisions unrestrained by financial considerations, thus reducing tensions within the family and the community.
But as we can see, economic growth in Uganda came at the cost of depleting natural resources and the environment.
Whereas the concern of a circular economy would make better use of natural resources like water, air, forests, soil, metals, and minerals, Uganda finds herself entangled in unpleasable encroachments and unrespectable degradations, especially with the major natural forests of Mabira in Buikwe, Bugoma in Hoima, and Budongo in Masindi almost facing extinction because of human actions and less government intervention, yet SDG goal number 13 compels us to take action on climate.
Now, for better or worse, Uganda needs to define and refine herself by identifying herself with a circular economy to determine her regional and global competitiveness and intentionally make industrial systems regenerative and restorative.
A strong nation like Uganda can take care of its people much better. The country wouldn’t be stuck for many years with issues in the agricultural sector, manufacturing (agri-processing for value addition), and services if the adoption of policies wasn’t hazy.
The local content policy of “Buy Uganda, Build Uganda’’ and the utilization of the local skilled human resource in the construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas sectors are intended to limit the country’s dependency over other countries like China, Japan, India, and Turkey.
It can therefore be said that one of the best governance models for Uganda in meeting the aspirations of her people and addressing the many needs would entail having up-to-date, consistent, complete, and correct master data, using network analysis to capture missed revenue collection opportunities as well as detect anomalies.
Finally transitioning to a circular economy would require joint ventures and alliances to optimize human, financial, and technological capacities, a situation Uganda needs to draw more attention to in order to generate internal employment opportunities.
The author is Kajuma Kagaba Patrick, MPA Scholar, UMI.
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