Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development is the inspiration behind the establishment of our organization. We believe that environmental rights can be better exercised when people have access to information, can participate in decisions that affect their surroundings and have access to justice incase their rights are violated. Greenwatch exists to ensure that every individual in Uganda knows that they have environmental rights and these rights can be fully exercised through access to information, justice and public participation. As an agricultural based country we are highly dependent on our environment therefore we must ensure that we use our natural resources in a sustainable manner not only for our generation but for the future generation as well. 

Three years after the Rio Declaration, Uganda birthed its first progressive constitution. Article 39 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides for the right to a clean and healthy environment. It is our vision that every Ugandan enjoys that right and this is why we continue to work through advocacy, training and promoting the enforcement of environmental rights.

Our Objectives;

  • Publish and publicize environmental laws and principles with emphasis on enforcement of the citizen's constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment.
  • Ensure and encourage public participation in the management and protection of the environment and natural resources. 
  • Encourage every citizen and every community in Uganda to care for and protect the environment and natural resources as they carry on their day to day activities. 
  • To encourage and promote agricultural, industrial and other production activities to conform with environmental law principles and practices.
  • Ensure environmental law principles are incorporated in all Government and Local Government policies and legislation. 
  • Ensure all public officials and policy makers have sufficient knowledge of environmental law and principles and apply them when they make their day to day decisions. 
  • To ensure that all judicial and law enforcement officers have sufficient training in environmental law.
  • To ensure that environmental law principles and policies are incorporated in school curricular at all levels of education.

Our achievements so far

In the last 25 years, Greenwatch with the support of our various partners has carried out research and has trained judicial officers, law enforcement officers, government officials and lawyers on environmental rights, enforcement of these rights and various environmental issues. As a result of our research we have published handbooks on environmental law in Uganda Volume I and II and a case book on environmental law. We have been at the forefront of groundbreaking environmental public interest litigation such as the famous ‘chimpanzee case’, “ kaveera case” and the “pangolin case”. We have worked with local government and community leaders to sensitize communities on their environmental rights. We have also been a part of civil society campaigns such as the save Mabira campaign.

Our Civil Society family

We believe that together we are stronger, this is why Greenwatch is intentional about being a part of Uganda’s civil society family. We are a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Civil Society Network (ENR-CSO). This is a network of civil society actors that work on different environment and natural resources issues whose secretariat is Environmental Alert. It has thematic working groups under which the actors work according to the areas of interest. Greenwatch belongs to the thematic working group on governance because most of the work we do addresses governance issues in the sector. Thematic groups are very vital in informing the ENR-CSO advocacy intervention and monitoring government performance. Greenwatch is also a member of the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas in Uganda and the Land Justice sub-committee. This committee belongs to the Access to Justice Working group in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. It is comprised of institutions, both government and civil society that work on access to Justice issues on land.

Who we are and what we do

Just in case you missed it! We are an environmental rights advocacy Non-Government Organisation whose main objective is to promote public participation in the sustainable use, management and protection of the environment and natural resources. We advocate for the enforcement of and compliance with environmental laws and principles through advocacy, training and the promotion of environmental rights which results in increased environment awareness.

Our Vision is to ensure that every Ugandan enjoys the right to a clean and healthy environment. 

We do this through strategic public interest litigation to encourage access to information, justice in the enforcement of environmental rights, policy research and analysis, supporting community initiatives through information dissemination, advocacy and capacity building and training government officials on different aspects of environmental protection including environmental law

Greenwatch Uganda In Action
Greenwatch has been instrumental in the following actions


  • 1995

    • Appraised the National Environmental Bill that was passed in May 1995 as National Environment Statute. The recommendations found their way into the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. Notably the Right to a clean and healthy environment, Article 39; The Public Trust doctrine, Article 234; and the principle of sustainable development is one of the National Directive principles of State policy.
    • Participated as one of the key Stakeholders in the first Regional Symposium for environmental law in East Africa held at Jinja-Uganda.
  • 1996

    Implemented a project to stop pollution released by stone quarrying and crushing along the Kampala - Jinja Highway by Sterling-a Multi-National Construction Company. The pollution was stopped in 1997 after Court action spearheaded by Greenwatch. The dispute was resolved out of Court after new technology was installed.

  • 1997

    • Together with other environmental Non-Government Organisations fought to stop government and Aquatics Unlimited (a US based corporation) from spraying Lake Victoria (the world's second largest fresh water lake) with deadly herbicides. The spraying was not done as NEMA refused to pass the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) after a heated public hearing in which Greenwatch and other NGOs helped influence NEMA's decision.
    • Participation as a major stakeholder in a symposium for lawyers in Public Interest Litigation
  • 1998

    Facilitated a National workshop for lawyers in Uganda on Public Interest Litigation, Procedure and Practice at Lake View Hotel, Mbarara-Uganda.

  • 1999

    • Developed training materials for lawyers and judicial officers. This was done in conjunction with the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and World Resources Institute (WRI),
    • Participated in Civil Litigation for enforcement of E.I.A. in respect of hydro-electric power project on the River Nile (NAPE VS AES Nile Power Ltd High Court Misc. cause No. 26 of 1999).
    • Participated in the Public hearing of AES Nile Power hydro-electric project after Court had ruled the E.I.A was mandating before commencement of the project. Greenwatch continued participating in meetings, rallies, public lectures on environmental aspects of the project including petitioning the World Bank Inspection Panel from 1999 - 2003. This civil society action saved the environment from degradation and Uganda from implementing a very badly negotiated agreement.
  • 2000

    • Convened a workshop for East African lawyers on environmental law and practice in East Africa. This workshop was sponsored by the Environmental Law Institute and World Resources Institute through USAID.
    • Carried out the first ever training of Judges in environmental law in Uganda.
    • Started a project to stop destruction of wetlands in and around Kampala culminating into a lawsuit against Gold Course Holding Limited. and the property developer who engaged in the construction in wetlands and green areas around Kampala.
  • 2001

    Filed the first ever lawsuit on access to environmental information in Uganda to compel the government make public a Power Purchase Agreement in respect to a proposed hydro-electric Power Plant at Bujagali on the River Nile (See judgments)

  • 2002

    Convened and facilitated the second Judges workshop on environment and practice which was attended by Judges from Kenya and Head of Environmental Tribunal in Kenya.

  • 2003

    • Greenwatch developed training materials for the Magistrates’ Court.
    • Greenwatch conducted the 3rd training of Judges in environmental law and procedure in Uganda. Greenwatch also developed training material for the advanced course and developed training materials for Court of Appeal and Supreme Court Judges.
  • 2006

    Convened and facilitated training workshops on environmental law for police investigators workshop, grade II magistrates, district environment officers and environmental inspectors, police inspectors and state prosecutors.

  • 2007

    • Convened and facilitated training workshops on enforcement of environmental laws for police investigators, state prosecutors, district environmental officers and chief magistrates in Uganda.
    • Conducted a judicial symposium on international environmental law.
  • 2009

    Conducted a three year project in partnership with the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) named: Adapting Biodiversity Governance in the Albertine Rift: Reforming law to account for climate change”. The project aimed at assisting countries in the Albertine Rift to improve the legal and institutional frameworks governing biodiversity so that they may be revisited to respond to the potential effects of climate change.

  • 2011

    • Held a workshop on Climate change adaptation and biodiversity management workshop.
    • Developed a community based guide for monitoring impacts of oil and gas activities on the environment.
  • 2012

    Joined the global campaign initiated by Our Children’s Trust to address climate change on behalf of children through an international climate litigation campaign. Greenwatch instituted a lawsuit against the government of Uganda and NEMA for failure to implement measure to address the effects of climate change. This matter is still ongoing and we are hopeful that it will be concluded soon.

  • 2014

    Convened and facilitated a regional symposium on Public interest environmental litigation in east Africa.

  • 2019

    Partnered with Heinrich Boll Stiftung to organize and facilitate the first judicial training on climate justice in Uganda.

  • 2020

    • Greenwatch celebrates 25 years.
    • Greenwatch won the court case on access to information. Ugandans are entitled to access Oil agreements under Article 41(1) of the Constitution of Uganda.
    • With support from IAP foundation and ELAW, Greenwatch implemented the project: Safeguarding host communities along the East African Crude Oil pipeline development areas against environmental degradation towards improved resource governance and sustainable livelihoods.
    • Greenwatch conducted the second annual judicial training on climate justice with the theme: “Climate justice: Ensuring a more fair and equitable society.” The training workshop was officiated by Honorable Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo-The chief justice of Uganda.

Partners