Empowering stakeholders to promote SEA and ESIA in oil sector for environmental conservation.
Extractive industry with big projects that affect environment and people should have impact assessment tools such as SEA and ESIA which are important in conservation, stakeholder knowledge on the tools and how they can promote environmental conservation amidst oil threats in Uganda remains low. In September 2018 therefore, CICOA and our partners AFIEGO with support from the Shared Resources, Joint Solutions (SRJS) programme participated in a trainning on SEA and ESIA principles. The training, which was facilitated by experts from the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment (NCEA), enabled the CICOA team to reach more people at community level though, community-based organizations (CBOs), cultural leaders and district environment officers that participated to acquire information and skills to promote environmental conservation through the application of SEA and ESIA principles in the oil and other sectors.
Our main objective through this project was to ensure that community people are part of the discussions on impacts of oil project on them and their environment, and how best they can benefit from the project.
Promoting citizen participation in Tilenga ESIA processes for environmental conservation and community livelihoods: Total E&P, submitted an ESIA report for its Tilenga project that is located in Buliisa and Nwoya. The ESIA report was submitted to NEMA. Based on the 1998 EIA Regulations, NEMA was mandated to hold public hearings to enable the public to make comments on the ESIA to promote environmental conservation. CICOA spearheaded the CSO campaign to remind NEMA to hold public hearings on the ESIA. In consultation with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), NEMA organized the public hearings in Buliisa and Nwoya districts in November 2018.
CICOA ensured that citizens made input into the ESIA by holding sensitization meetings in Buliisa, Nwoya and Pakwach organizing radio talk shows, disseminating radio spot messages, publishing articles in newspapers with national circulation and implementing a social media campaign through which communities and national stakeholders were mobilized and sensitized to make comments on the Tilenga ESIA. The comments were made through public hearings on November 12 and 15, 2018 respectively. Where stakeholders rejected the ESIA because it would not result in environmental protection.
Campaign for transparency and accountability
Transparency and accountability are major ingredients when dealing with public natural resources like extractives industry. Oil and gas industry demands steady fast stewardship from the government and awakened and informed citizens if they are to gain meaningful results from the sector. We have participated in processes for facilitating admission of Uganda government into Extractives industries transparency initiative (EITI) this a global standard for the good governance of oil, gas and other mineral resources.
Our objective is to have citizens demand for service delivery against the public resources (taxes) and how these resources can benefit the current and future generation.
CICOA with this objective has championed the promotion of accountability by government by sensitizing the refinery-affected people and supported them to engage parliament to hold Ministry of Energy accountable over corruption and abuse of the refinery-affected people’s rights.
Access to information is critical if transparency and accountability are to be achieved, and as organization working with communities, this was has and remains our core role to share information with citizens so that citizens are empowered to demand for accountability from government and other service providers.
With CICOA campaign on save Lwera swamp in Kalungu district Greater Masaka, the relevant authorities like NEMA and the ministry of Agriculture and the president on his visit in Masaka, promised to deal with wetland degraders and ordered the environment ministry and NEMA to stop further degradation of the wetlands. General public was sensitized on the importance of wetlands and dangers of degradation, and were trained on being custodians for the environment protection in their areas.