The kyoto protocol and adaption to climate change in Uganda: The legal and policy framework
Climate change is one of the greatest environmental and economic threats facing the world today. There is a growing need to develop strategies that will reduce current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and curtail future emissions. The United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol represent an international strategy to combat these effects. Admittedly, these instruments have not, and cannot retard climate change to zero. Adaptation efforts should therefore equally be directed towards helping countries cope with the changing weather patterns. The Kyoto protocol has, to some extent tried to address this, especially in respect of developing countries. These instruments also require state parties to take action at the national level to realise their objects. Uganda, as a party to the Kyoto protocol, has developed a number of policies and laws for the implementation of the protocol at the national level. These laws however have some weaknesses in respect of climate change mitigation and adaptation, yet climate change adaptation is very essential for developing countries because they are often less able to cope with adverse climate impacts. The purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy of the Kyoto protocol in helping developing countries, particularly Uganda, adapt to climate change. Uganda is used as a case-study because of its tremendous steps towards climate change adaptation and mitigation, and secondly, because of availability of the relevant information to the researcher. This made the research more efficient on the part of the researcher. The study explores the strengths and weaknesses of both the Kyoto protocol and post-Kyoto arrangements as well as the national policy and legal frameworks. The study establishes that the Kyoto Protocol is a good foundation for future climate action but it has limitations in terms of enforcing compliance and the efficiency of the flexible mechanisms thereunder. The study also establishes that the post-Kyoto negotiations present an uncertain future for climate change adaptation and mitigation owing to diverse interests pursued by the developed and developing countries. The study recommends further financial assistance to developing countries to enable them adapt to climate change as well as their active participation in climate mitigation and adaptation strategies because their emission levels are steadily increasing. It also recommends changes in the enforcement and compliance mechanisms under the Protocol.