Since 1998, Greenwatch has developed its training programme to promote and strengthen the legal and institutional framework for the effective management of the environment. Through this activity, Greenwatch has built the capacity of NGOs and government officials in the protection of the environment and has presented innovative ideas and solutions to current environmental issues.
Training has been conducted for judicial officers, lawyers and enforcement officers in environmental law and enforcement. To date, 80 judges,71 magistrates and 17 registrars have been trained.
i) Training for Judicial Officers
With the increasing number of environmental cases presented before the judicial officers, it was realised that there is ardent need to develop the jurisprudence to promote greater application and enforcement of environmental laws. To accomplish this, it was found necessary that the judicial officers are trained and equipped with knowledge and skills of handling such cases.
This will boost access to the legal system and courts, which is the key to improving the adoption and implementation of environment-related laws.
The Judicial Training Committee (JTC) of the Courts of Judicature, Uganda offered Greenwatch a slot on the Annual Judicial Calendar to conduct training in environmental law.
The training has also helped establish jurisprudence on environmental matters in Uganda.
Judicial officers are now equipped with knowledge and skills on environmental law that helps them adjudicate environmental cases from a better-informed view.
Past related workshops
Magistrates Training in environmental law and practice; August 14th-17th 2005. This was conducted in conjunction with the Judicial Studies Institute(JSI) of the Judiciary and with support from the Environmental LAw Institute(ELI) and NEMA.
Judicial Symposium on environmental law for judges of the Supreme court and court of Appeal of Uganda; 11th-13th September 2005. This was conducted in conjunction with the Judicial Studies Institute and NEMA, with financial support from the Partnership for Development of Environmental Law Institons in Africa(PADELIA) programme of UNEP. 12 judges from the Spreme court and Court of Appeal participated and attended the symposium in addition to 4 registrars.
Regional Judicial Symposium for East African Judges on "Fostering the East Africa Cooperation through Access to Environmental Justice”: September 2002. Attended by Judges from Kenya and Head of Environmental Tribunal in Kenya. The World Resources Institute (W.R.I) funded it.
Magistrates symposium on "Environmental Law and Practice in Uganda”: May 2003: Greenwatch partnered with E.L.I, NEMA and UNEP under the PADELIA project to conduct this event. Funding for this training was sourced from UNEP.
Magistrates Symposium on "Environmental Law and Practice in Uganda”: Nov- Dec. 2003. UNEP (PADELIA) funded it.
Judicial Training on "Environmental Law and Access to Justice for Grade 1 and Chief Magistrates: August 8-11, 2004. This was done in conjunction with the JTC and funded by E.L.I.
ii) Training for Lawyers
In June 2000, Greenwatch held a workshop for East African lawyers on Environmental law and access to Justice, which had over 20 lawyers from the region. The participants of this workshop challenged the organizers of the workshop to conduct similar training for judges stating that there was an urgent need to strengthen the capacity of judges, prosecutors, legislators and any such person/ individuals who play a critical role in the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental law.
This training equipped the lawyers with knowledge, ideas and skills of how they can prepare, develop and present cases on environmental issues. The training highlighted the technicalities on practice and procedure in environmental law.
Regional workshop for East African Lawyers on "Access to Environmental Justice ”: June 2000- Jinja. The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and World Resources Institute – through USAID, made this event possible.
iii) Training for District Environment Officers
In 2001, Greenwatch trained District Environment Committees, and other civil society leaders and stakeholders in the Districts of Tororo, Busia and Mbale (all in Eastern Uganda), in the formulation of environmental ordinances and by-laws. This activity created awareness of the district officers on environmental conservation, management as well as related laws and policies.
It is envisaged that many other local government officers will be equipped with capacity to manage and utilize natural resources and the environment through use of policies, laws that are implemented at the district level and below.
Greenwatch received financial support in October 2004 from the FORD Foundation to facilitate an environmental law awareness raising project aimed at assisting districts of Luweero in Central Uganda, Bugiri in Eastern Uganda and Rakai in South-Western Uganda to formulate and develop environmental ordinances/by-laws for sound environmental management.
Objectives of the project
The main objectives of the project included:
- Increasing public participation in enforcement and management of the environment and natural resources;
- Improving environmental management at household and community level through participatory approach;
- Enhancing the legal and institutional framework
- Assisting Districts in the formulation and development of By-laws/ordinaces, so as to build the capacity of district officials, NGOs and CBOs as well as the local community members to support environmental law enforcement.
The project was also aimed at equipping the district officials, local communities and community based organizations with knowledge and information to enable them understand the laws and regulations that govern environmental management and also help the technical team spearhead the protection and management of the environment in their respective project areas/districts. The process resulted in the designing and formulation of environmental by-laws for environmental management.
The various partners with whom Greenwatch worked on this project include:
- The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), which is the lead national agency charged with environmental management and also development of environment related legislation governing environmental protection, in implementing this project.
- The District Technical Committees (including Fisheries, Water resources management, entomology, wetlands management, planning, agriculture, land management) officers who identified issues and problems that were addressed in the ordinance.
- Sub-county and parish chiefs, Local council chairpersons, and extension workers working at the grass roots level with the local people.
The ordinances were drafted with full participation of the district technical officials, community based organisations, subcounty and parish chiefs together with some communities and disseminated to the district technical team for review and also to incorporate issues that they feel should be captured. The ordinances were then submitted to the district council members to be adopted and endorsed; after which they will be submitted to the Attorney General for enactment.The ordinances are currently before the district councils.
iv) Training of Police Officers and Prosecutors
Training of law enforcement officers is aimed at providing tools of enforcement of environmental laws and regulations and to equip such officers with knowledge and skills on environmental cases and how such crimes can be handled.
- \r\nHandbook on Environmental Law Vol.II
- \r\nAccess to Information in Africa Project Summary
- Handbook on Environmental Law Vol.1
- Court Ruling on the ban of Plastic bags in Uganda
- \r\nRegional Symposium on Public Interest Environmental Litigation for Lawyers in EastAfrica
- The Right to Information as a Tool for/in Public Interest Litigation: An East African Perspective
- \r\nAccess to Information in Africa Report: The case of Uganda
- Greenwatch Brochure
- A Community Based Guide for Monitoring Impacts of Oil and Gas Activities on the Environment