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GIEWS Special Report - Uganda, 18 January 2008









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    Uganda – Food security and livelihoods in areas affected by desert locusts, September 2020
    Assessment report
    2021
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    This report outlines the results of a household survey carried out in August–September 2020 to assess the impact of desert locust invasions on food security and livelihoods in Uganda. In 2019–2020, the Horn of Africa was affected by what was described by FAO as the worst desert locust infestation in over 25 years. Desert locust swarms pose a severe threat to agriculture-based livelihoods, particularly in areas where food security is already fragile. The first swarm of locusts entered the Ugandan subregion of Karamoja – already the most food-insecure subregion in the country – on 9 February 2020. By September 2020, desert locusts had been sighted in over 20 districts in the Acholi, Elgon, Karamoja, Lango, and Teso subregions. To assess the impact of the desert locust invasions, a survey of 7 800 households was carried out in the affected subregions. Data collection, processing, and analysis were carried out by a technical team comprising staff of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, district local governments, Makerere University and FAO; Catholic Relief Services provided support during the collection and validation of the data. The assessment found that the desert locust invasions had had a negative impact on the livelihoods and food security of a majority of households in all surveyed subregions. Based on the results of the assessment, a number of recommendations for response options (including control measures and livelihood support programmes) were formulated. A critical need to improve Uganda’s desert locust preparedness by strengthening the country’s capacities for real-time surveillance, rapid verification and deployment of control teams upon confirmation was highlighted.
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    Food Security and Agricultural Livelihoods Cluster. Plan of Action for Northern Uganda 2009
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    The Northern region, which is identified by official statistics as trailing behind the central, western and eastern regions in terms of poverty reduction, has experienced multiple and severe shocks including drought, civil war lasting for over 10 years and loss of cattle to Karamojong raids. The signing of a peace agreement between the Government of Uganda (GOU) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and initial implementation of terms bears hope for Northern Uganda. It is in this context that t he 2008/09 Cluster Plan of Action (PoA) for Northern Uganda has been developed. The PoA is the result of a three month process of field consultation and analysis on food security and livelihoods with national and international NGOs, UN agencies, government representatives and civil society. In terms of scope of interventions, the PoA aims to create and promote the conditions for addressing root causes of livelihood erosion by linking short term/immediate actions with longer term measures and considerations. Thus the Plan proposes a set of balanced responses that aim to protect, rehabilitate and diversify the livelihoods of pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and farmers in northern Uganda. In that respect, the document is meant to complement long-term development strategies and focuses on the range of emergency, recovery and rehabilitation interventions needed for the whole of the North (Karamoja, Teso, Lango, Acholi and West Nile). Implementation of the PoA will be through partnerships between government, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society and the private sector. The selected option is based on a pro-poor and community self-reliance approach as the most sustainable way to achieve productivity growth and improve use and access of natural capital. In areas with low agricultural potential (Eastern Uganda – Karamoja), livestock systems are the basis of livelihoods. In areas with higher agricultural potential (Northern and Nile provinces), where farmers could pursue high-value li velihood opportunities, use of improved technologies will be supported to raise productivity growth.
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    Comparative analysis of livelihood recovery in the post-conflict periods – Karamoja and Northern Uganda 2019
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    This paper examines the parallel but separate trajectories of peace-building, recovery and transformation that have occurred over the past 15 years in northern (Acholi and Lango sub-regions) and northeastern (Karamoja sub-region) Uganda. While keeping in mind the key differences in these areas, we highlight the similarities in the nature of recovery, the continuing challenges and the need for external actors to keep in mind the ongoing tensions and vulnerability that could undermine the tenuous peace. The initial peace processes in both northern Uganda and Karamoja were largely top-down in nature, with little participation from the affected populations. In Karamoja, the Ugandan military started a forced disarmament campaign in 2006. This was the second such effort in five years and was top-down and heavy-handed. Although many observers gave it little chance of success, by 2013 large-scale cattle raids were infrequent, and road ambushes were almost non-existent. Critically, local initiatives eventually emerged in parallel to the top-down disarmament efforts. Prime amongst these were local resolutions adopted in 2013–2014 that created a system of compensation for thefts, enforced by “peace committees.” In northern Uganda, a top-down, politically negotiated peace process between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda ended two decades of fighting in 2006. The internally displaced person (IDP) camps were disbanded, and thousands of displaced people returned to their rural homes, some because they no other option once assistance in the camps ceased. One of the most important factors in recovery in Karamoja has been the growth of markets. Traders were reluctant to bring wares to the region during the period of insecurity, and hence goods were few and prices high. Today, most trading centres host markets on a weekly basis, and shops have consistent inventories. In northern Uganda, the biggest driver of recovery has been the return of displaced people to their homes and the resumption of farming. By 2011, crop production had resumed its pre-conflict status as the primary livelihood in the region. In both locations, however, engagement in markets is limited, and many people remain economically marginalized. Challenges to recovery and long-term stability are similar across the two locations. Both northern Uganda and Karamoja continue to struggle with food insecurity and malnutrition, despite the massive influx of development funds, improved security and expansion of markets. In northern Uganda, the conflict continues to influence household livelihoods. Households that have a member who experienced war crimes are consistently worse off. These continuing problems with food security and nutrition call into question many assumptions about recovery and development. In particular, the idea that peace will bring a natural bounce in economic and household well-being does not appear to hold up in these cases. Additional structural challenges to recovery in both locations include climate change and environmental degradation, poor governance and corruption, limited opportunities for decent work, livelihood transformation and loss, and conflict over land. These factors reinforce each other and make it extremely difficult for average households to develop sustainable and secure livelihoods. External interventions often fail to take into account the local priorities and realities in these areas. Many programmes are place based or focus on rural areas, but the population is in flux. This is especially true for young people. In addition, while many people are doing much better than they were 15 years ago, others are being pushed out of pastoralism and are struggling to achieve diversified and sustainable livelihoods. Overall, while the recent trajectories of recovery in Karamoja and northern Uganda are remarkably similar, the context, livelihoods and challenges in each location are importantly unique. National actors should not seek to derive combined approaches or policies that lump together these two areas. In both cases, the lived reality, history and experiences of the population should be central to designing appropriate, effective and sustainable responses to the ongoing obstacles to a stable peace and full recovery.

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