Climate Change and Youth in Uganda


Climate change is a pressing global issue which is exacerbated by human activities and practices. This affects the environment and future survival of every species. Young people, a vital economic force, influence the climate trajectory due to their role in resource-dependent economies. However, they're often overlooked in policy decisions despite facing economic and social hardships. The United Nations acknowledges their exclusion from decision-making,impacting their present and future.[i]Among these are climate-related policies and those that affect the environment.

In Uganda, youth constitute 34.8 percent of the population.[ii]This highlights the potential for youth to play a significant role in climate change advocacy, promoting sustainability, and contributing to climate-related policy processes in Uganda.


How climate change is affecting youth in Uganda

Uganda is situated in East Africa and vulnerable to the adverse effects of global warming due to its reliance on agriculture,limited resources, and inadequate infrastructure.[iii]Climate change poses significant challenges for youth in Uganda, impacting their well being, livelihoods, and future prospects.

The impacts of climate change on the agriculture sector are among the most pressing issues affecting youth in Uganda.[iv]Uganda heavily depends on agriculture for its economy and food security.However, with changing weather patterns, unpredictable rainfall, and prolonged droughts, crop yields are becoming increasingly uncertain. This has adverse effects on food security, leading to malnutrition and hunger, particularly for the vulnerable youth population.[v]

Additionally, climate change contributes to the spread of diseases and affects the health of young people in Uganda.[vi]Changing temperatures can create a more suitable environment for disease vectors like mosquitoes, leading to increased incidences of malaria and other vector-borne illnesses. Moreover, extreme weather events such as floods and storms can disrupt healthcare infrastructures, further exacerbating health challenges for the youth.

Another critical aspect of climate change for the youth in Uganda is its influence on education and access to opportunities.[vii]As extreme weather events become more frequent, schools may face disruptions or even damage, hindering students’ learning and development. Moreover, the economic strain caused by climate-related challenges can lead to reduced financial resources for education and limit access to quality schooling for many young individuals.

Climate change can also exacerbate existing socio-economic disparities and disproportionately affect marginalised communities and rural areas, where many young people reside.[viii]Limited access to resources, education, and economic opportunities can hinder the potential of youth for growth and advancement, trapping them in vicious cycles of poverty and vulnerability.

Despite these challenges, young people in Uganda are not passive victims; they are also at the forefront of climate action and adaptation efforts.[ix]Young activists, environmental advocates, and community leaders are raising awareness about climate change, advocating for sustainable practices, and demanding policy changes to mitigate its effects. Their resilience and determination offer hope for a more sustainable and equitable future.


The significance of youth inclusion

Global climate change demands cooperation from all sectors to mitigate its effects. Engaging young people is vital, especially in Uganda, where youth contribute significantly to building sustainable futures.Given its sizeable young population, it is important for Uganda to include youth in climate talks, recognise their demographic importance, and incorporate their inputs into policy-making processes.

Involving youth in climate initiatives is crucial, as they offer transformative potential with innovative ideas and technology skills. Their active participation can lead to effective and inclusive solutions to climate challenges, as research has indicated.[x]Mobilising youth passion and activism in Uganda can propel climate action and create a more environmentally sustainable future.

Youth-led climate action allows young people to influence current measures that will affect their future and the planet they inherit. Their active engagement builds a sense of ownership and responsibility, empowering them to champion sustainability throughout their lives amidst climate impacts.[xi]Youth also act as connectors across generations and communities. Engaging them in climate initiatives spreads awareness, drives support, and encourages behaviour change among families and peers. Their involvement fosters intergenerational communication and knowledge sharing,[xii]aiding the spread of climate-friendly practices in rural and urban areas.

Uganda boasts multiple youth-led environmental groups,showcasing the dedication of young people for conservation and climate action.Backing and partnering with these efforts could magnify their influence and motivate more youth to engage and take responsibility for climate concerns. These initiatives exemplify grassroots strategies for sustainability, highlighting the power of youth to drive impactful change.


Ways forward for enhancing youth inclusion

In conclusion, climate change significantly affects the youth Uganda, posing a range of challenges from food security and health issues to education and economic opportunities. As these young individuals face the consequences of global warming, they also play an essential role in shaping climate action and adaptation strategies. Empowering and supporting youth in their efforts to combat climate change is crucial to building a more resilient and sustainable future for this nation.

To involve youth effectively in climate efforts,strategies should include youth-centric policies, capacity-building programmes,[xiii]and ensure youth representation in decision-making bodies. Such approaches empower youth by providing resources, training, and platforms, fostering youth advocacy and leadership. Additionally, having youth engage in climate policy formulation and participate in global conferences strengthens their voice and influence,allowing for a more effective and meaningful contribution.[xiv]


[i] United Nations, World Youth Report: Youth Social Entrepreneurship and the 2030 Agenda,Chapter 2 ‘Youth Development and Participation,

[ii] United Nations Population Fund, Uganda’s Youthful Population,



[v] Terry K and Rai A, “Amid Record Drought and Food Insecurity,East Africa’s Protracted Humanitarian Crisis Worsens”, <,starvation%20as%20of%20June%202022. > on 18 January2023.

[vi] Little N.C.,”Watch the Weather:Disease in Uganda put on a Climate Timeline”, <>

[vii] “The Climate Crisis: Climate Change Impacts, trends and vulnerabilities: Children insub-Saharan Africa”, xi.

[viii] Ijjasz-Vasquez E and Ordu A.U,” Breaking silos between think tanks and youth groups forclimate change action in Africa” <> on 30 November 2022.

[ix] Louw A,”10 African youth climate activists changing the face of the planet” <> on 21 October2021.

[x] Bezabih etal., 2021.

[xi] UNEP report,2021.

[xii] Jørgensen.H,2005.

[xiii] Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda, 2016.

[xiv] Youth climate report, 2019.