NEBBI. The prime minister of Lugbara Kari, Mr Ismail Tuku has called for the empowerment of cultural institutions to mitigate climate change.

Speaking during a consultative meeting at Desert Breeze on Monday Mr Tuku noted that the influx of refugees in the region has greatly affected the environment because there has been massive deforestation and as a result, many trees have been lost in the process.

“Cultural institutions can ably mitigate the issue of climate change but they have not been involved so much and they also lack the capacity and the right information to give to the community,” he said.

Tuku noted that there is a need to build the capacity of traditional leaders so that they can come out with pronouncements on environmental protection.

Mr Michael James Anewa who represented the prime minister of Alur kingdom observed that cultural institutions play a big role in the protection of the environment yet they have been rendered powerless

“Involve the cultural institutions fully because people listen to them and if they are given the right massages to disseminate to the community, a lot of change will be realized within a short period of time,” Anewa said.

However, Mr William Anylitho blamed the government for having double standards on the issue of climate change mitigation.

He argued that as civil society organizations, they have been trying to see that the budget on environment and natural resources is increased at the local government level but the government is busy giving out forest reserves to investors.

“The community depends on natural resources as their source of energy therefore, there is a need to get alternative sources of energy apart from electricity since not all can afford or have access to it,” Anylitho recommended.

He added that the government should set up stations within districts where community members are able to get information on climate change and their environment.

“There has been massive depletion of trees and give away of forests which has greatly impacted on the environment,” he said.

Mr Jackson Muhindo, a climate change officer with Oxfam said climate change is real and urged all stakeholders to wake up and mitigate the effects because everybody is now being affected.

“The seasons for cultivation can’t be predicted as our grandfathers used to do because of climate change which has been caused by our action on the environment,” Muhindo said.

“National Forestry Authority is being used for business, they are using the law called tree planting act to destroy forests in the region and the law is being implemented discriminately. Empower the communities and traditional leaders to monitor and protect the natural resources”, Muhindo suggested.