The climate crisis is among the greatest human rights challenges the world is facing leading to inequalities, and threatening lives and livelihoods. Besides the direct human rights impacts of climate change itself, measures designed to mitigate or adapt to climate change can also negatively affect human rights. Therefore, it is essential to implement a human rights-based approach not only to protect people against the negative impacts of climate change, but also to ensure that actions designed to slow and respond to climate change, and to remedy its consequences, are undertaken in a way that safe guards and promotes human rights. Such an approach centers principles of equality and non-discrimination in both substance and process of climate policymaking, ensuring that people have access to information, ability to shape and engage meaningfully in decision that affect their lives and the means to hold governmental and corporate actors accountable.
Climate change affects nearly every aspect of our lives, with implications for a broad range of human rights. The right to food is affected by basically impairing the direct access to food, food production and price stability. Drought, flooding caused by extreme weather events, and slow onset events, such as desertification and changing rainfall patterns, all endanger natural and agricultural ecosystem. https://www.ciel.org/
There are various consultative workshops created by climate change specialists whose purpose is to prioritize policies and actions that state institutions should promote, highlighting the topic of climate change on the national development and institutional action agenda. The broad mandate of the human rights institutions is to protect and promote human rights through policy advise, empirical research and monitoring, human rights education, complaints handling; investigation the environment being part among others.
The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) as an institutional body created under Article 51 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 and the Human Rights Commission Act is mandated to investigate at its own initiative or on complaint, violation of any human right, hence Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) must continuously work with the commission.
As an organization that promotes the right to food and adequate living, CEFROHT was invited by the UHRC to discuss the relationship between climate change and food security. It was highlighted that in 2017, Uganda experienced food insecurity resulting into famine, which was attributed to drought, unstable rains and incidences of diseases and pests. Consequently, several households went without adequate food, and only a few households were able to afford three meals a day, thus unable to realize their right to adequate food.
It was also highlighted that increased focus on commercial mono-culture and cash crop growing, limited budgetary allocation to the MAAIF and the out-break of pest and diseases and the use of agrochemicals and inappropriate agricultural practices like clearing swamps and forests increase the risk of food insecurity.
Recommendations to the UHRC;
- Government should formulate policies to ensure sufficient food production, accessibility, affordability and storage; using agro-ecological practices
- The Ministry of finance, planning and economic development should increase funding to MAAIF
- The Ministry of finance, planning and economic development and the MAAIF should establish a national agricultural bank.
- The MAAIF should develop a harmonized policy on agricultural extension services to advise farmers on climate change adaptation and good agricultural practices.
- MAAIF should provide adequate facilitation to agricultural extension workers.
- The OPM together with MAAIF should construct national food reserves.
- District local governments should undertake empowerment of households to construct granaries for food storage.
- MAAIF should undertake to provide farmers with good high quality seeds, fertilizers and pesticides at a subsidy.
- MAAIF should undertake to establish village agriculture volunteers
- Operation Wealth creation should extend its focus to food crops production
- MAAIF should enforce agricultural zoning and undertake to sensitize farmers on which crops should be grown in a particular area.
- MAAIF should enforce the sugar policy
- Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic development should review the liberalization policy to allow for stabilization of farm produce prices.
- Parliament should pass the food and nutrition Bill 2009 into law.