NAPE STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH GRASSROOT WOMEN’S MOVEMENT IN DEMANDING FOR PROTECTION OF RIGHTS AS A PATHWAY TO ECONOMIC JUSTICE

As the World commemorates the International Women’s Day, the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) is standing in solidarity with grassroots women’s movement to call on the government to protect the rights of women and girls and accelerate progress towards advancing economic rights.

In commemoration of the day on March 8th, women organized under NAPE’s grassroots women movement in Kyankwanzi and Kiboga districts in central Uganda appeared on NAPE’s Community Green Radio to demand for collective actions and solidarity against climate injustices, food insecurity, land rights violations, gender based violence and male domination in leadership and decision making positions which are limiting their economic rights.

The women say government and corporate companies investing in large land based investments like oil and gas industry and large scale agriculture which are fueling women’s rights violations, affecting livelihoods and household incomes and also increasing climate injustice.

The women are appealing to government to protect their rights and involve them in decision making for sustainable development.

Julius Kyamanywa, the Station Manager of the NAPE’s Community Green Radio says the radio is committed to amplifying the voices of women and supporting them in holding the leaders accountable.

This year’s IWD is centered on the theme:  Investing in Women: Accelerating progress. The Ugandan theme is accelerating gender equality through women’s economic empowerment.

Frank Muramuzi, the Executive Director for NAPE says women’s economic rights cannot be realized when their rights to land is still suppressed by convergence of patriarchal social norms and commercial pressure on land and natural resources exacerbated by extractive industries and large scale agriculture. He says this has an impact on women including violence and forced evictions, loss of women’s livelihood and income and increased unpaid care work.

Muramuzi says government should invest in protecting the rights of women and girls to be able to achieve their rights.

Rajab Bwengye, the coordinator of projects at NAPE says the NAPE is supporting women to collectively claim their rights and resist land rights violations, climate injustices and build sustainable livelihoods.

The Grassroot Women’s movement started in 2018 mainly concentrating in oil producing districts in the Albertine region and has now extended to Central region in the districts of Kiboga ad Kyankwanzi.

Precious Naturinda, who is spearheading the field mobilization drive in Kiboga and Kyankwanzi, says the grassroots women’s movement which fights for the rights of women in addition to energy, climate and environment rights is targeting over 15,000 women by the end of 2027.

NAPE STRENGTHENS GRASSROOT WOMEN’S MOVEMENT AS IT EXPANDS TO CENTRAL REGION

The National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has intensified the mobilization of grassroots women to build collective power and solidarity in the face of socio-economic and environmental injustices by extending Rural Women’s Movement to Central Region.

NAPE has been at the forefront of mobilizing and organizing grassroots women and supporting them to challenge Gender Based Violence, women’s rights violations and energy and climate injustices in Albertine Graben since the start of 2018 mainly concentrating in the Oil producing districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Buliisa and Nwoya. NAPE has deepened grass root women advocacy mainly against oil injustices of illegal land grabs, Sexual and Gender based violence, human rights abuses, food and ecosystem destruction at the hands of oil corporates.

Boosting of around 35,000 grass root women, and foreseeing further challenges presented mainly by the 1,443 km long East African Crude Oil and gas pipeline (EACOP), mobilization has now extended to the central region with the target of mobilizing over 5000 grassroots women by the end of 2026 and 15,000 by end of 2027 mobilized in at least 8 districts that will be crossed by the EACOP.

“The journey starts now with a target to at least identifying 50 grass root women activists, informal groups and community/local leaders with at least a membership of 600 grass root women, girls and male comrades by close of 2024 and building their knowledge and understanding on feminist analysis, values, approaches and the integration of contextual feminist knowledge in these informal groups of marginalized women. The marginalized women include widows, young women and girls, single mothers, women with disabilities, women living with HIV/AIDS and women living in displaced peoples’ camps, small house hold farmers, ecosystem dependent groups who are at a high risk of displacement and abuse from ongoing oil and gas extraction, oil pipeline, and other project developments”, saysPrecious Naturinda spearheading the field mobilization drive in Kiboga and Kyankwanzi districts.

Rural women’s Movement is an initiative of grassroots women that fights for women’s rights, energy and climate and environmental justice while creating alternative models of development in Uganda. The women’s movement has a goal of building an ecofeminist perspective of development alternatives.

The women’s organizing has come at the backdrop of profit-oriented investors that are purchasing or leasing land for large land based investments like oil and gas mining and sugarcane growing.  The struggle for land is deeply intertwined with women’s rights. Women make 76% of Uganda’s agricultural labor force and are more dependent on land for their livelihood. Furthermore, as a result of their gender roles, they are overwhelmingly responsible for food security of their families. Despite this dependence and responsibility, it is estimated that they own 7% to 20% of the land, and are the worst hit by land grabs and all other forms of gender injustices calling for an urgent need to reverse this narrative.

Bwengye Rajab, the head of NAPE programs says “‘the Movement strengthening project-2024’ initiated in Kikuube and Kyankwanzi; two of the many EACOP affected districts, will mainly focus on introducing discussions on feminism and collective organizing and engagement, knowledge and experiences already attained by movement members in the nucleus oil rich districts of Hoima, Kikuube and Buliisa under NAPE past mentorship and support”.

In 2006, Uganda discovered an estimated 6.5 million barrels of crude oil in Albertine Graben. Since then, the government and oil companies’ negotiations seeking to access to land from communities for oil development projects have been characterized by displacements, low compensation, violence, land degradation and loss of livelihoods.

According to the Feminist Participatory Research (FPAR) that was done by NAPE in 2017, the violent evictions, loss of livelihoods, food insecurity, environmental degradation, violence and discrimination at household level caused by land rush for extractives and monoculture have largely affected women.

But with the movement, NAPE has supported women to collectively claim their rights, resist unjust land grabs and rebuild their livelihoods. They are coming together to resist the land rush.

Lucy Mbuubi, one of the rural women activists of the movement from Kikuube district says movements empower women to know their land and compensation rights. Kikuube is one of the areas where women have suffered injustices related to loss of land-ownership rights and inadequate compensation for their land that was taken over by government and oil companies for the construction of oil roads, the oil refinery and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

“The women affected by EACOP and the construction Kabale-Kiziranfumbi have resisted poor compensation and challenged the government to ensure that women also sign for compensation together with men; thanks to the women’s movement that has built and strengthened women’s capacity to resist oppressive laws that do not protect women’s rights,” says Mbuubi crediting NAPE and Woman Kind for initiating the movement philosophy in the oil region.

According to Mr. Bwengye of NAPE, women in central region including Kiboga and Kyankwanzi districts that are equally affected by oil projects and other large land based investments need to be mobilized and empowered to fight against the injustices given the magnitude of impacts expected from the EACOP.

Bwengye says the 1,443 km long heated crude oil pipeline will be the longest the world has ever seen traversing 10 districts in Uganda, 25 in Tanzania, displacing around 100,000 communities, destroying key ecosystems and generally causing a food, environmental and climatic disaster in the region.

Frank Muramuzi, the NAPE Executive Director says this is the main reason why NAPE and other Civil Society collaborators have resorted to taking Total Energies-The French Oil giant exploiting Oil and gas reserves in Uganda to French Courts for Violating the French Duty of Vigilance Law” That expects French corporates to put Rights of Oil host communities and the Environment High on their development Agendas and which they have totally failed to respect in Uganda.

NAPE and Partners Call Upon Ugandan Government,World leaders to pay due attention to impacts of Climate Change

NAPE and partners, Fridays for Future (Uganda), Simma Africa and Girls for Climate Action currently attending COP28 in Dubai have called upon the Ugandan Government and world leaders to pay urgent and due attention to the impacts of Climate Change. 

NAPE and Partners Call Upon Ugandan Government,World leaders to pay due attention to impacts of Climate Change

NAPE, Partners ask court not to rush Government case against households affected by Tilenga Oil Project

NAPE and its partners; Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), Tasha Research Institute Africa and Community Voice and Planning organization (COVAPO) have appealed to court not to rush the hearing of the case in which the Government is suing 42 Households over TotalEnergies Tilenga Project.

NAPE, Partners ask court not to rush Government case against households affected by Tilenga Oil Project

Uganda National Meteorological Authority partners with Kiboga district to give weather updates to farmers

Precious Naturinda and Edison Ndyasiima

Peter Makubuye, a small holder farmer from Kakoora village in Kibiga sub county Kiboga district has had rough time dealing with unpredictable weather conditions. According to Makubuye, his main source of livelihood is growing maize, beans, coffee and banana plantations.

However, he says the erratic rainfall and extended dry spell has over time left him in losses. He says weather conditions have increasingly become unpredictable as opposed to olden days when they would use indigenous knowledge to predict.

“Whenever I would experience much heat, I would tell that the rains are around the corner and start preparing the gardens but this is no longer the case. These days we are taken by surprise. The rains come and disappear at a time you least expect. I put in a lot of money and get low yields,” said Makubuye.

It is against this background that Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) has partnered with Kiboga district local government to ensure that farmers get updated weather forecasts to help farmers plan accordingly.

The Authority started with training at the beginning of this month (September) of district technical officers from climate sensitive sectors – agriculture and water departments- and farmer group leaders on climate resilient measures.

Abubaker Kalema, a Senior Meteorologist at UNMA says the authority will be sharing early warning weather information with the farmers using mainstream media and WhatsApp groups.

He says Kiboga district, whose population predominantly relies on rain-fed agriculture, has been affected by unpredictable weather. He, however, notes that farmers have been lacking timely and accurate weather information. He says weather information sharing is key to build climate resilience at local level.

Makubuye, who was one of the beneficiaries of the training, says there has been a big gap in sharing information directly to farmers who are affected by the weather patterns from the UNMA. He says the partnership will make weather information dissemination to farmers easy.

According to information from Kiboga district agriculture department, the district experiences challenging unpredictable weather conditions of erratic rainfall and extended dry spell during the March-June planting season.

This has resulted into poor crop yields for annual crops such as maize and beans, horticultural crops like tomatoes, cabbages and also inadequate pasture and water production. The district authorities fear that this may lead to low future supply of agricultural commodities, moderate food availability supply and high prices.

Extreme weather conditions are increasingly frequent and severe across African region including Uganda.

According to Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN 2021), Uganda is ranked 10th most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change and the 35th least readying in teams of preparedness for the climate change effects.

Court of Appeal starts hearing of the case against Hoima Sugar Limited

The Court of Appeal in Kampala has started hearing of the case that National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and Water and Environment Media Network (WEMNET) filed for cancellation of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) certificate of approval issued to Hoima Sugar Ltd (HSL).

AFIEGO, NAPE and WEMENT are some of the members of the Save Bugoma Forest Campaign (SBFC). The appeal, which was filed in May 2021, is against Hoima Sugar Limited and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). Despite protests from Bugoma forest host communities, Kikuube district local government, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and civil society members, NEMA issued Hoima Sugar Limited with with an ESIA certificate of approval for the company’s Kyangwali Mixed Land Use Project in August 2020. The certificate allowed HSL to grow sugarcane, set up an urban centre and engage in other degrading activities in Bugoma central forest reserve.

Open the link to read the full statement of the Save Bugoma Forest Campaign. https://www.greenradio.ug/download/press-statement-on-hearing-of-bugoma-forest-case-appeal/

CSOs PETITION NCBA BANK OVER HOIMA SUGAR LIMITED ABUSES

Two environmental and human rights organisations in Uganda have petitioned NCBA Bank to stop financing Hoima Sugar Limited which they claim carries out its activities in a manner that contravenes environmental laws and disregards the rights of the host communities.

The two organisations, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE)-Friends of the Earth Uganda-and Strategic Response on Environmental Conservation (STREC) presented a petition to NCBA Bank Uganda Limited on 3rd July 2023 signed by 1,678 people directly impacted by Hoima Sugar Limited in the Bugoma Forest area.

In the petition addressed to Mr. Mark Mayobo, the Managing Director of NCBA Bank Uganda Limited, the CSOs and host communities accuse Hoima Sugar Limited’s Kyangwali Mixed Land Use Project of severely threatening the wellbeing and livelihoods of local people in the area.

“The project, which includes a sugarcane plantation along with other infrastructure developments has severely threated the well-being and livelihoods of local communities. The project has also resulted in the deforestation of natural, reserved forest and has violated several Ugandan laws,” the petition to NCBA Bank reads in part.

The petition follows a post by NCBA Bank on Twitter to the effect that it was providing asset financing to Hoima sugar limited enabling it to acquire transport vehicles and graders some of which have been used in degrading Bugoma Forest.

“The Bank’s support of Hoima Sugar links NCBA Bank to the various environmental, social and governance related issues associated with Hoima Sugar’s activities in Bugoma. This asset financing contradicts NCBA Group’s own commitment to “sustainable investment and community growth” the letter signed by Mr. Frank Muramuzi on behalf of NAPE and Cirrus Kabaale on behalf of STREC reads.

The petition was duly received by NCBA and the office of the Chief Executive Officer made a response.

“As part of our commitment to sustainable investment and community growth, we take the issues of environment, sustainability and governance seriously.

We are in conversation with our client, Hoima Sugar Limited and will respond conclusively to your concerns raised,” the response letter signed by NCBA Chief Executive Officer, Mark Muyobo, reads in part. Click on download below for the full petition.

NCBA BANK PETITION ON BUGOMA

Accept Compensation or Lose Your Land’ Government of Uganda tells Tilenga PAPs

The government of Uganda has issued a one-month ultimatum to Project Affected Persons-PAPs under the Tilenga project to receive compensation or forcefully lose their land.

Up to 623 people in Kasenyi village in Buliisa District in western Ugandawere affected when government acquired 320 hectares of land in Kasenyi village in Ngwedu sub-county in Buliisa to pave way for the construction of the Tilenga central processing facility-CPF.  The facility will be used to process crude oil produced from Buliisa and Nwoya districts to extract water, gas and other impurities, before being piped to the refinery in Kabaale, Hoima District.

In addition to the CPF that will process 190,000 barrels of oil and 700,000 barrels of total liquid per day, the Tilenga project needs land for 426 well pads; 160 kilometers of flow lines which will transport crude oil and water from the wells to the CPF among others.

However, some of the PAPs have up to date rejected compensation from the government, protesting what they see as low compensation rates for their land and other properties.

Some of the PAPs have been compelled to drag the government to court of law.   The PAPs also resisted government attempts to settle them in areas with worse or no social services.

Some of the PAPs were offered between 3.5 and 5 million Ugandan Shillings per acre of land in 2017 while others demanded between 10 to 20 million Ugandan Shillings per acre of land. 

Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development issued the one-month ultimatum on Monday, June 12, while officiating at the handover ceremony of 105 houses constructed for some of the PAPs at Kirama village in Kigwera Sub County, Buliisa District.

The minister warned that government has no other option but to forcefully take over the land should the PAPs reject the compensation money.

According to Nankabirwa, the government will not tolerate any delays in the progress of the oil and gas sector beyond July 31, cautioning all PAPs who have rejected compensation money due to various factors to cooperate with the government and accept to be compensated as per the compensation rate adopted by the chief government valuer.

She says beyond July 31, the government will forcefully access and establish oil-related projects on all the pieces of land acquired for oil developments in Buliisa and the entire Bunyoro sub-region. She says government will deposit the money for the PAPs who have rejected the compensation with courts of law and take over the land forcefully.

Nankabirwa said the PAPs can drag the government to court but it will not allow any frustration in the oil and gas developments.

She said that for the case of Tilenga, the government has failed to trace six project-affected persons while 27 other PAPs are embroiled in family wrangles on who exactly should get the compensation money.

Story by Uganda Radio Network

NAPE Raises Alarm on Superficial Celebrations, Ineffective Environmental Legislation

As Uganda joined the global community in observing World Environment Day, the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) voiced concerns about the increasingly superficial nature of such celebrations and the inadequate enforcement of laws aimed at safeguarding the environment. 

Frank Muramuzi, the Executive Director of NAPE, says that every year, authorities in Uganda responsible for environmental protection come together to celebrate these special occasions and deliver impressive speeches. However, he emphasizes that these events often lack any tangible impact on the ground. 

Muramuzi also points out that despite the enactment of numerous laws aimed at protecting the environment, they remain ineffective in practice. Many individuals continue to engage in destructive activities with impunity, further exacerbating environmental degradation.

On June 5th, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) organized the national event for World Environment Day at Kololo ceremonial grounds. The event centered around the theme “Stop Plastic Pollution,” drawing attention to the urgent need to address the growing issue of plastic waste. 

During previous discussions, Dr. Akankwasah Barirega, NEMA’s Executive Director, stated that the World Environment Day event served as a starting point for actively combating plastic pollution in Uganda. He mentioned NEMA’s proposal to restrict the importation of pallets used in the “virgin production” of plastics, aiming to promote recycling instead. 

Practical solutions are already being discussed with major plastic manufacturers and importers.  However, NAPE believes that focusing solely on plastic pollution neglects the broader range of environmental challenges facing Uganda. Muramuzi suggests that a comprehensive approach is necessary to address all environmental issues holistically, rather than solely emphasizing plastic pollution.    

In their statement on World Environment Day, environmentalists also highlighted a series of recent incidents in Uganda directly linked to environmental degradation. These incidents include bridge collapses, mudslides and frequent flooding in various parts of the country. 

NAPE expresses concern over the deterioration of wetlands and natural forests, as well as the issue of illegal sand mining and flower cultivation in the Lutembe Ramsar site. These activities seem to occur with the knowledge of those in authority or are ignored when they happen. Regarding plastics, they fault government of Uganda for impeding efforts to tackle the plastic challenge.

They specifically point out the frustration caused by the government’s failure to effectively regulate the use of plastic bags, locally known as “Kaveera,” and its continued issuance of permits to plastic manufacturers and importers. 

NAPE demands that if government of Uganda is genuinely committed to addressing the issue, it should cease issuing licenses to such companies. They also call for the implementation of incentives to encourage plastic collection and recycling, among other proposed solutions.

Government of Uganda Approves License Application to Construct East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline

Cabinet of Uganda has approved the application by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited for a license for the construction of the 296 km long East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline in Uganda.  

The State Minister of Information Communication Technology – ICT and National Guidance, Godfrey Baluku Kabyanga, and officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development communicated the development at a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre on Thursday.

Kabyanga said that Cabinet approved the application on Monday, indicating that the new corridor linking the two countries will bring benefits including the development of new infrastructure, logistics, and technology transfer as well as improving the livelihoods of communities along the route.

Eng. Herbert Magezi Mugizi, the Principle Engineer in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development – MEMD, said the approval of the applicable license now grants the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited legal access to start actual construction.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline project will displace at least 118, 348 persons (56,460 in Uganda and 61,889 in Tanzania). However, challenges relating to land acquisition due to contestations of valuations by the project-affected persons – PAPs still remain eminent.  

Eng. Magezi disclosed that close to 68 percent of the PAPs have already been compensated while the pending compensations are expected to be concluded by the end of 2023.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development says the engineering detail currently stands at 33 percent and major procurements have been awarded by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited for the purchase of line pipes, high voltage, and marine cables, among others.

The approved pipeline construction project, that will consume about 2,740 acres of land, was awarded to a private company, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited. The overall 1,443 km pipeline runs from Hoima district in western Uganda to the Port neighboring Tanzania.

The crude oil project which is worth 13.248 trillion Shillings (USD 3.6 million) traverses 171 villages across 10 districts of Kabaale, Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Ggomba, Ssembabuule, Lwengo, Rakai and Kyotera.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited has a shareholding of 62 percent from Total Energies while 15 percent will come from the host Government of Uganda through the National Oil Company.

Equally, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania owns 15 percent shares through the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation – TPDC, and 8 percent shares for China National Offshore Oil Company – CNOOC Uganda Ltd.

Notably, on September 15, 2022, the European Parliament passed a controversial “emergency resolution” by a large majority denouncing the consequences of Uganda’s oil projects citing specifically Tilenga and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

The resolution called for the immediate suspension of drilling activities in the protected and sensitive ecosystem (Murchison Falls National Park) and the postponement of the EACOP project for at least one year to allow a feasibility study of an alternative path to preserve the environment. 
However, two months later on November 2, 2022, the “emergency resolution” was overturned during the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the African, Caribbean, Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU) sitting in Maputo, Mozambique. The Assembly voted to let Uganda proceed with developing the Pipeline Project.

CREDIT: URN