Dr Donald Rukare has encouraged Uganda Olympic Committee Member Associations to address climate change ©UOC

Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) President Dr Donald Rukare has urged National Federations to sign up to the United Nations' (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Sports for Climate Action Framework, part of the UNFCCC, has been signed by more than 270 organisations, including the International Olympic Committee, FIFA and Paris 2024.

Launched in December 2018, it aims to use sport to drive climate awareness and action.

Delegates at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow In November vowed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and achieve "net zero" by 2040, and Rukare has urged UOC Member Associations to do more to address climate issues.

"One of the biggest challenges of our times today is climate change," Rukare said in a statement.

"There is no doubt that unless we change our modus operandi things may never be the same again," he continued.

With respect to the UOC's affiliated National Federations, Rukare insisted all bodies and players "should with all due haste sign up to the Sports for Climate Action."

He added: "We would urge all sports actors to not only sign up to the Sports for Climate Action principles but ensure that these principles are implemented.

"We need, for example, our strategic plans, work plans, hosting manuals and strategies to be aimed at addressing climate change."

Tighter climate change targets were set at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last year ©Getty Images
Tighter climate change targets were set at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last year ©Getty Images

Rukare highlighted five areas where National Federations can help improve their impact on climate change.

These are to promote greater environmental responsibility, reduce the impact each Federation has on the climate, provide education about climate change, promote sustainable and responsible consumption and advocate for climate action through communication. 

He said the UOC is exploring a partnership with the Umoja Conservation Trust, a climate change organisation based in Uganda, and has planted trees through its Sustainability Commission.

The UOC is also set to roll out educational sessions with National Federations, which he says is the starting point for climate action, with the hope that this will encourage Federations and other individuals and bodies to enact climate-responsible policies.

Members will be invited to discuss what climate-change objectives should be set and activities started.

"This is critical because the issue of sports and climate change is not high on our agenda as we are still grappling with fundamental questions of funding and facilities," Rukare concluded.

"We need to integrate climate mitigations measures in our daily work in a very intentional manner. 

"Let’s join forces to green our sports in Uganda."