Image by Denis Onyodi/Uganda Red Cross Climate Centre
  • Report
  • 5 August 2019

Uganda disaster risk reduction budget tracking: what are the key areas of investment?

This report assesses investment in Uganda disaster risk reduction programmes, presenting a risk-sensitive review of budgets from 2016/17 to 2018/19.


This report and accompanying briefing provide information on public investment planning for Uganda disaster risk reduction (DRR) by marking public spending on DRR-related activities in the national budget (applying the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Development Assistance Committee marker to review budget allocation). It presents findings from a risk-sensitive review of Uganda’s budget for three financial years (FYs) (2016/17–2018/19).

Acute levels of vulnerability associated with the heavy reliance of Uganda’s economy on rain-fed subsistence agriculture makes it highly vulnerable to climate change. Vulnerability is exacerbated by low adaptive capacity, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, high levels of poverty, weak institutional capacity, low skills on climate change adaptability, inadequate skills in disaster management, lack of equipment for disaster management and limited financial resources.

Key findings

  • An average of Uganda Shillings (UGX) 966 billion a year was allocated to DRR from FY2016/17 to 2018/19 – this allocation constitutes 4% of Uganda’s total budget for the three budget cycles.
  • Uganda spent 0.5% of its total budget on principal DRR activities (i.e. where DRR is the primary objective) and 3.9% on significant DRR (i.e. where DRR is the secondary objective) activities during the three FYs.
  • Only six sectors had ‘principal’ DRR investments. The Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Management programme under the Office of the Prime Minister in the public management sector houses most of Uganda’s principal DRR programmes and projects. These include refugee management, humanitarian assistance, disaster preparedness and management and resettlement of disaster victims. They were allocated the largest share (35.9%) of total principal DRR investments over the three FYs.
  • Activities and projects under the water and environment sector were allocated the second-largest share (32.8%) of total principal DRR investment over the three FYs.
  • Most DRR investments over the three FYs were domestically financed,
  • Of disaster risk categories, mitigation and prevention activities were allocated the largest share of DRR investments, followed by preparedness and recovery. Response activities received the smallest share of total DRR investments over the three FYs.
  • Overall, Uganda allocated on average 64% of total principal DRR investment on mitigation and prevention, 4% on preparedness, 6% on response and relief activities, and 26% on recovery activities.
  • Uganda’s principal DRR budget over the three FYs has been aligned mainly to enhancing disaster preparedness (Sendai Priority 4) and building resilience (Sendai Priority 3). Little attention has been given to developing disaster risk knowledge (Sendai Priority 1) and strengthening disaster risk governance.


  • Investing in DRR is investing in development. Investment in mitigation and prevention and disaster preparedness reduces vulnerabilities and risk exposure. Investment in resilience to ensure sustainable development also reduces disaster risk. Given that few sectors (6 of 18) invest in DRR as a primary objective, there is need to create more budget lines in other sectors, and to mainstream primary DRR budget lines in existing offices.
  • There is also need to spread allocation across all four components of the DRR risk categories to ensure appropriate disaster risk management. To better design DRR and development initiatives, the country needs to increase public sending on managing disaster risk through better planning and coordination within and across sectors (Sendai Priority 2) and by building disaster risk knowledge through pre-disaster risk assessment (Sendai Priority 1).

Photo: Denis Onyodi/Uganda Red Cross Climate Centre: In a ground-breaking humanitarian action triggered by a forecast of flood risk, the Uganda Red Cross distributed just under 5,000 preparedness items to communities in Kapelebyong sub-county, some 300 km north-east of the capital, Kampala, in November 2015.