Summary of EA programme
Main background facts to the EA interventions
The Albertine rift is a region of global importance for conservation. It encompasses the rift valley, the lakes in the rift and the natural vegetation on the escarpment above the rift. The rift forms part of the Congo and the River Nile Basin. The high population growth rate of Uganda coupled with high poverty levels has increased pressure on the natural resources and has led to their unsustainable use. Pressures include unsustainable and illegal timber extraction, general forest clearance and conversion to agricultural land, illegal grazing, hunting, overfishing and conversion of forest land into agricultural land. Forest loss is the major threat to the endemic and globally-threatened species of the Albertine Rift (WCS, 2010).
The problem has been worsened by the poor or weak level of implementation of the available sectoral policies and laws on environment. Decentralization of environmental management systems was introduced to provide a platform for multi-stakeholder planning and management of the environment by local authorities (districts), communities and stakeholders. However, this was not supported with enough capacity (skills and funds) to facilitate implementation. This resulted in weak governance of resources and widespread unsustainable use.
Geographical and thematic focus areas
Uganda EA program: ‘Empowering people for Sustainable Natural Resource Management in Albertine Rift’
The Uganda country program which is mainly focusing on natural resource governance in the Albertine Rift and the relations between ecosystems and livelihoods was developed and written by a consortium of four Organizations; the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Uganda (IUCN-Uganda), Uganda Wildlife Society (UWS), Africa Institute of Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE). The program will be carried out in close cooperation by NAPE, AFIEGO and UWS.
The main goal of the programme is on one hand to contribute to sustainable land and water resource management locally, through various interventions in the districts of Hoima, Buliisa, and Kasese. These districts are the principal districts of the Albertine rift, a biodiversity hotspot which is harbouring a great number of (endemic) species and also feeding a number of international rivers and providing (transboundary) natural resources. Due to the recent discovery of large oil deposits in the Albertine region and the development of mining activities near and in National Parks, the area is getting under increasing pressure. Poor governance, unplanned exploitation of resources including oil, minerals and fisheries threaten the ecosystem services the region provides and the communities depending from it. Developments could also lead to transboundary insecurity (notably in relation with DRC) due to the poor governance of the resources.
On the other hand the program will focus on lobby and advocacy and civil society strengthening considering natural resource governance (especially oil and mining issues). Working on a broader, national level and target regional and national stakeholders and explicitly aim at civil society building on this particular subject. Opportunities for Ugandan case studies to feed into the EA international lobby agenda related to reducing the ecological footprint of the Dutch & EU economy will be identified during 2012.
The Uganda country program tackles the following main drivers of change:
- Support the adoption of strategies to improve local ecosystem management and ensure sustainable management, specifically addressing governance of the resource, benefit sharing, transparency and accountability.
- Empowering people to understand, utilise and demand their constitutional rights with regard to a clean and safe environment. For protection against the possible impacts on their livelihoods (esp. by the oil and mining developments and unsustainable use issues) as well as to be able to benefit from available opportunities.
- Demonstrating the importance of ecosystem management through practical management and restoration.
- Policy and practice linkages will be emphasised to influence the relevant processes and programmes.
- providing training and empowerment to households, CBO’s and CSO’s in the Buliisa, Hoima and Kasese districts on sustainable resource management and resource rights – including transboundary fishing issues in lake Albert and Edward (bordering the DRC).
- providing support to local CSO’s and CBO’s and (non) government agencies like UWA on legal compliance issues (concerning the mining laws of Uganda and avoiding or reducing the negative impact of mining) and provide training of communities on how to work with/profit from available EIA’s
- working on national level on compliance and governance issues regarding the mining laws and oil development issues – provide effective access to relevant information, promote public participation in the governance of natural resources provide training and strengthening civil society in research, policy advocacy and networking on these issues.
- assessing and provide training on emerging global opportunities like REDD to ensure conservation of Albertine rift eco region.
- assessing the footprint in Uganda of selected private companies, aimed at engaging them in dialogue and working towards reduction
- improved local resource governance in the Hoima, Buliisa and Kasese region – production land brought under sustainable management, communities/households empowered to claim and sustainably use their rights to local natural resources
- empowered communities in the three districts aware of their rights towards the commodity developments in their area’s
- (compliance) issues regarding mining and oil exploration in or near protected areas addressed on a national level
- Selected international private companies aware of their footprint in Uganda and engaged in effective dialogue
- Empowered local communities able to profit from opportunities like REDD