The long-awaited 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference is upon us. Uganda is privileged to host distinguished legislators from all over the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth fraternity. The conference will be held this week from September 22 to 29, 2019.
Hosting such an important delegation of important persons gives Uganda both an opportunity but also a challenge. It is an opportunity to market Uganda’s tourism and hospitality, attractive investment climate in the areas of education, agriculture and many other fields. At the same time, it places upon us a critical challenge as hosts to treat our guests with utmost kindness, respect, humility and offer the best service.
The 64th CPC is running under the Theme; ‘Adaption, Engagement, and Evolution of Parliaments in a Rapidly Changing Commonwealth’.
Whereas the theme and programme of the conference is addressed to dynamics in Parliaments, participants will also tackle the very important subject of climate change.
As our readers probably know, Commonwealth Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean are at the forefront of the torture of climate change. The increases in the frequency of extreme weather conditions such as droughts, violent storms, excessive rains are all too familiar with us and the havoc that they have wrecked on man kind. The recent havoc wrecked by hurricane.
The destruction caused by hurricane Dorian that hit the Bahamas recently and other tropical storms that have ravaged nearby island states, is a present reminder of the harsh impacts of climate change.
Unfortunately, it is the poor and vulnerable ordinary people of the commonwealth that face the wrath of climate change.
Coincidentally, Members of Parliament from the Commonwealth family have participated in numerous negotiations, budget processes, and other policy formulation for a to address the challenges of climate change. Sadly, very little and in many cases nothing appears to be coming out of their negotiations.
The ordinary people have therefore become suspicious and sometimes resentful of politicians who attend such conferences pretending to care about their plight but in actual sense, do nothing as the multi-faceted challenges of climate change multiply.
Uganda is no exception to this talking shop phenomenon. Our MPs have failed in their watch-dog function of ensuring that government brings and follows policies that seek to cushion masses against the ravages of climate change.
Take tree planting as an example, MPs are witnessing with reckless abandon the destruction of forests, wetlands by ordinary people as well as the government itself.
We wish to plead to the delegates of the 64th CPC to have a new sense of resolve to introduce benchmarks for tracking actions to address the challenge of climate change. Unless they have these targets, climate change will become like a cancer that kills its victims without them knowing what to do about it.
On a lighter note however, we wish to congratulate the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga and the entire organising team for your efforts in making the 64th CPC a reality and memorable occasion.