Skip to content
Key findings
  • Seven in 10 Ugandans (70%) say that crop failure has become more severe in their area over the past 10 years, and 53% say the same about droughts. o Increasingly severe droughts are reported most commonly in the Northern region (71%), while large majorities in all regions except Kampala say crop failure has become more severe.
  • Many Ugandans report having to adjust their lives in response to changing weather patterns, including changing the types of crops they plant or the foods they eat (54%), reducing their livestock holdings or changing grazing patterns (43%), using less water or changing water sources (40%), reducing or rescheduling outdoor work (39%), and moving to a different place (23%). o Residents in the Central region are most likely to say they have made changes in their crops or foods (63%), livestock holdings or grazing patterns (55%), and water use (56%).
  • Two-thirds (66%) of Ugandans say they have heard of climate change.
  • Among those who have heard of climate change: o Three-fourths (76%) say it is making life in Uganda worse, up from 43% in 2019. o More than eight in 10 blame climate change on human activity (68%) or a combination of human activity and natural processes (16%). o Three-fourths (76%) say the people, businesses, and government of Uganda are primarily responsible for causing climate change. o Eight in 10 (80%) say the government must take immediate action to limit climate change, “even if it is expensive or causes some job losses or other harm to our economy.” The same proportion call for climate action by developed countries, including climate aid to Uganda. o Even so, Ugandans see themselves (45%) and their government (40%) as bearing primary responsibility for limiting climate change.
  • Among all respondents, majorities express support for government policies to respond to changes in climate, including infrastructure investment (81%), placing pressure on developed countries for aid (75%), investing in wind and solar technologies (64%), and banning tree cutting for firewood or charcoal (59%).

Africa is the continent most vulnerable to climate change and its impacts, yet many African  countries remain unprepared to confront this threat (World Meteorological Organization, 2023). According to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (2023) country index,  Uganda ranks high (14th) in vulnerability and low (163rd) in readiness to act against climate  change. 

Given that agriculture accounts for about one-fourth of Uganda’s gross domestic product  and employs more than 70% of its labour force, rising temperatures and changing rainfall  patterns pose threats to livelihoods and food security (World Bank Group, 2021; Ministry of  Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, 2018). Citizens are also grappling with the consequences  of global warming and more frequent extreme weather events, including both droughts and  destructive floods (World Bank Group, 2021; Andrew, 2021). 

The glaciers of the Rwenzori Mountains, a major source of fresh water for Ugandans, are  melting at an accelerated rate, triggering floods and landslides (Baluku, 2023). Flooding is  eroding copper waste pools from old mining operations, washing toxic waste into Uganda’s  water supply and soil (Mukpo, 2024). 

The government and stakeholders have worked to mainstream climate action in the  country’s National Climate Change Policy (Republic of Uganda, 2015) and Green Growth Development Strategy (National Planning Authority, 2017), prioritising strategies to protect  the economy and the livelihoods of the population. In June 2023, the government launched  a $2.9 million initiative to develop a National Adaptation Plan to address the growing  impacts of climate change (United Nations Environment Programme, 2023). 

A special question module in Afrobarometer’s Round 10 survey (2024) explores Ugandans’  experiences, awareness, and attitudes related to climate change. Findings show that a  majority of citizens report worsening drought and crop failure in their region. Among the two thirds of Ugandans who are familiar with climate change, large majorities blame it on human  activity, say it is making life worse, and call for urgent action by their government and  developed countries. 

In significant numbers, Ugandans report taking steps to adapt to changing weather patterns,  including changes related to crops and foods, livestock, and water use. And majorities  express support for government investment in weather-resilient infrastructure, funding for wind  and solar energy, a ban on tree cutting for fuel, and other policies in response to changes in  climate. 

Sophie Sunderland

Sophie Sunderland is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State  University.