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Issue 07 | March 2023
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Welcome to Our Quarterly Briefer

In this Issue, we explore the question of disaster management in Uganda particularly at local government level. Themed ‘Disaster Management in Local Governments,’ this briefer was informed by the numerous disasters Uganda faced in the past few months ranging from Ebola, hunger, floods and mudslides. When disasters occur, all government Ministries, Agencies; Departments; local government and the community needs resources to respond and must be empowered to manage and reduce the impact of these disasters.

The National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management demands that local governments’ capabilities are enhanced to manage and effectively respond to disasters within their areas of jurisdiction. This Issue on challenges in disaster management at local government level focusing on climate change, community participation, and food security. In case you missed Issue no.6, please click here.

Here's a quick preview of what's inside:

How prepared are local governments to cope with climate-related disasters?

anna By Anna Amumpiire Akandwanaho, Research Fellow, ACODE

Local governments are the most accessible governing authority when disaster strikes. Given their proximity to the community, local governments have the advantage of responding faster and more effectively to local climate events than institutions and organisations at higher levels of the governance structure. Although local governments are at the forefront of dealing with disasters, prevention and preparedness; they lack funding specifically for these functions. Local Governments specifically have been faced with challenges in related to climate-induced disasters. These challenges include failure to get information about the magnitude of the disaster, future desatster projections, delayed response and inadequate financial support while responding to these disasters, and lack adequate coordination for preparedness and response to such disasters in the existing mechanisms. The limited funding or lack thereof at the local government level directed towards disaster management, preparedness and prevention has rendered implementation of the existing District Contingency Plans highly impracticable.

Harnessing community participation for inclusive disaster management in Uganda

Rebecca By Rebecca Nalwoga-Mukwaya, Research Officer, ACODE

Uganda’s Disaster Preparedness and Management Policy 2011 places the role of disaster management in the hands of the community and the role of government is supportive. Despite this, the Policy only mentions some roles of the community and not how the community should take charge of disaster management. Most of the interventions it mentions are ‘done for the people’ but not ‘with the people’. While Uganda has made commendable progress in policy development for disaster management, there has not been active participation of local communities in policy formulation processes. Policy development must be done together with the communities because policies directly affect them. This means holding consultative meetings and continuously reviewing them so that they are updated with the issues being faced by the communities. Even though the communities may be facing the same disaster, the manifestations over time change. While people should own the problems, consequences and challenges of any mitigation and/or preparedness initiative, it is necessary to see people’s involvement from a broader perspective, which is related to policy and strategy.

Local governments' response to food security: a case of Karamoja region

Walter By Walter Akena, Research Officer, ACODE

Food insecurity is one of the development challenges that Uganda faces, which calls for strategic interventions at all levels to enable the country to meet its obligations towards many of its hungry citizens. While issues of food security are often addressed at all levels of government, local governments play an important role in dealing with food concerns on the ground. To identify and prioritise actions aimed at promoting food security, local governments in the Karamoja region must have a clear understanding and appreciation of the structural and underlying causes of food insecurity. Karamoja region continues to have the highest food insecurity and malnutrition levels in Uganda due to factors related to inadequate food access, and poor dietary diversity caused by; structural poverty, insecurity and the adverse impact of climate change. Several efforts have been made by national-level actors including emergency food relief yet the situation has persisted.

Disaster management challlenges at local government level in uganda

Rebecca By Rebecca Nalwoga-Mukwaya, Research Officer, ACODE & Hamuza Wamono

Local government’s role in dealing with disaster response has been recognized as a key factor to build proactive communities especially in dealing with disaster management because this facilitates local ownership of disaster risk reduction and the local implementation of disaster management strategies in place. Floods, mudslides/landslides, prolonged periods of drought, and human and livestock epidemics have recently devastated several parts of Uganda with significant social and economic consequences. Disasters have an impact on the well-being and safety of individuals, communities, and countries as a whole. All communities are vulnerable to emergencies and disasters, including those caused by natural disasters, infectious disease epidemics, conflicts, technology advances, and other risks. This article explores the challenges that local governments face in disaster management measures.

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