On November 6, 2018, the Shared Resources, Joint Solution (SRJS) Uganda partners i.e. Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), The Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST), National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) and IUCN-Uganda Country Office (IUCN-UCO), organized a one-day CSO-Expert meeting at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala, aimed at facilitating CSO’s working in the oil and gas sector to discuss and make comments on the Tilenga project’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report. This came after the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) called for public comments on the Tilenga ESIA report. The meeting, attended by 24 high level participants (9 women & 15 men), was also meant to enable the CSOs working in the oil and gas sector learn lessons and put in place elements to develop a strategy for collaboration on upcoming ESIA processes. The specific objectives of the meeting included:
- Provide an opportunity for CSOs working on oil governance to come together and discuss their vision and objectives of protecting biodiversity against the negative impacts of the Tilenga project.2. Identify areas of convergence and divergence between different organisation’s priorities and approach on the Tilenga project ESIA process.
- Apply common principles and areas of consensus to the draft CSO memorandum on gaps and weaknesses in the Tilenga ESIA.
- Identify next steps beyond submission of comments to NEMA on the Tilenga ESIA, especially on the upcoming ESIAs for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), Kingfisher project, the Kabaale-Mpigi/Kampala finished products pipeline and others, as well as engagements with oil companies including the Biodiversity and Livelihoods Advisory Committee (BLAC) that advises oil companies.
Facilitated by Nadine McCormick, working with the IUCN Global Business and Biodiversity Programme, eco-sensitive areas in the Tilenga landscape were identified. These include; Lake Albert, River Nile, Murchison Falls-Albert delta (Ramsar site), Murchison Falls National Park, Karuma Wildlife Reserve, Bugungu Wildlife Reserve among others.
After successfully identifying gaps and weaknesses in the Tilenga ESIA, participating CSOs agreed to develop a revised CSO memorandum, to be submitted to NEMA. The workshop also saw the establishment of a drafting team, consisting of one representative from AFIEGO, Action Coalition on Climate Change (ACCC), Citizens Concern Africa (CICOA), Water Governance Institute (WGI) and World Voices Uganda (WVU).
The following outcomes were realized from this meeting;
1. Jointly agreed objectives for a revised CSO memorandum on the Tilenga ESIA that was submitted to NEMA.
2. Building of consensus on priority and thematic areas that CSOs will individually and collectively advocate for on the Tilenga in addition to upcoming ESIAs such as those of the EACOP, the Kingfisher and other projects
3. Strengthening of the network of CSOs working on oil and gas to enable joint work on upcoming ESIAs in addition to other oil and gas processes.