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‘They’re in Dubai pubs’ — Uganda’s 600-member COP28 delegation sparks criticisms

‘They’re in Dubai pubs’ — Uganda’s 600-member COP28 delegation sparks criticisms
December 06
13:54 2023

The Ugandan government is facing criticisms from opposition groups and the public over the quantity of its delegation to the United Nations climate change conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

With 600 representatives, Uganda is among the African countries with the highest number of delegates at the conference.

According to Daily Monitor, a local media organisation, up to 375 of the delegates are bureaucrats, contrasting with the government’s commitment to run an austerity budget and cap foreign travels.

Uganda is battling revenue constraints, a scenario that has forced public spending cuts.

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On Tuesday, Ismail Kiirya, president of the Uganda Young Democrats (UYD), said most of the delegates from the country were not active participants at the conference.

“The aim is not the stipulated purpose of the conference but just to give trips to people,” Kiirya said.

“What’s the use of a pharmacist in a climate change conference? When you critically go on the ground to find out about the conference, they are in bars and happening places.”

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Also speaking at a press conference, Harold Kaija, secretary-general of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), condemned the government’s lack of fiscal responsibility.

Kaija said the money spent on the delegates, which amounted to 10 billion Ugandan shillings, “could have funded the construction of at least 10 schools”.

Other African nations including Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania have also been under fire for their large COP28 delegations.

But the governments of the said countries have countered the accusations, saying only a small percentage of the delegations were funded by the federal bureaucracies.

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