Monday, 21 November 2011

The power of transparency

By Mubatsi Asinja Habati

Days to the seventeenth conference of parties (COP17) to UN Framework on Climate Change transparent governments are tapping into the media to communicate their positions. I am already receiving press releases from the South African ministry of water and environmental affairs thousands of kilometers away from Uganda on the preparations for the UN climate talks.  Yet I have received none from our own ministry in Uganda which is less than 10 kiliometres away from my office. Save for communication from civil society organizations who have labored to organize a combined delegation of members of CSOs, legislators and journalists beside official government delegation, not much is coming from Uganda's ministry of water and environment unless you called them up to find what their plans are.

I can’t help but wonder why Uganda government bodies seem less enthusiastic to embrace the media in most of their activities. Most of the time our government departments wish to operate in the dark which is speaks volumes about levels of transparency. But transparency builds public trust in an institution. Openness strengthens democracy thereby promoting efficiency and effectiveness in Government. Above all, transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.

Now this brings me to the question: If Uganda government fails to widely communicate  to its citizens about plain public issues like climate change, what will it do when it comes to expenditure of public funds?

Press release


21 NOVEMBER 2011

Ms Edna Molewa, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs will host a pre-COP17 Summit on the eve of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC COP17 is scheduled to take place in Durban from 28 November to 09 December 2011.

The Summit will take place on 22 November 2011 and will comprise of participants from the various provincial government Departments. Some of the key areas that will be on the Summit agenda include; the National Climate Change Response White Paper, the SA Negotiating Position and the Climate Change Response EXPO.

As Head of the South African Delegation for COP17, Edna Molewa, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs is entrusted with the responsibility of leading the South African delegation in pursuing the country’s interest at the UNFCCC, COP 17/CMP 7 negotiations. Media is invited to a press briefing by Minister Molewa.

Media Briefing Details:
Date: Tuesday, 22 November
Time: From 09:45 to 10:15
Venue: Southern Sun Elangeni, Durban

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