On the 26th and 27th February 2020, Greenwatch conducted dialogue meetings with local government officials on enforcement of environmental standards in Rakai and Kyotera districts respectively. The one day dialogue meetings was facilitated by three (3) Resource persons; Mr. Nicholas Muhereza, Dr. Peter Mutesasira, and Mrs. Rebecca Nabatanzi Sserwanga. Each dialogue meeting had total of 30 participants which comprised of local government officials, representatives of cultural chiefdoms (Pokino-Budu and Kamuswaga), LC V chairperson and LC III Chairpersons of Sub counties affected by the Pipeline.
Mr. Muhereza (a Petroleum Lawyer and Policy specialist at the Institute of Petroleum studies) discussed about Uganda’s Oil resource and its texture. He stated that: “Uganda’s Crude oil is very viscous and therefore needs to be heated along the pipeline so as to be transported, this makes it extremely dangerous.” He also discussed the laws, standards, regulations, related to the Crude oil pipeline highlighting the new National Environment Act (2019), the Oil and Gas policy (2008), Local Government Act (1997) and stipulated local governments’ mandate towards environmental protection and monitoring during EACOP implementation. He also encouraged local government officials to make ordinances and bye-laws when deemed necessary to protect the environment.
Dr. Mutesasira (an Environmental law expert and lecturer-Uganda Christian University) explained the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) highlighting the steps and level of local government involvement in the ESIA process. He kept a lively interactive session admonishing participants to monitor potential social, cultural breakdown and environmental degradation of the EACOP project.
Mrs. Sserwanga-A Climate Change/Disaster Risk Response Knowledge Learning Specialist at Office of the Prime Minister/UNDP and passionate about environmental governance. She deliberated on the role of Local Government Officials in monitoring the compliance of the key players implementing the EACOP project to environmental standards, highlighting current opportunities related to the Oil pipeline which include: The national oil and gas talent registry in which community members with relevant skills can take up EACOP jobs, the National suppliers Database to register local community members and local companies to provide required services during EACOP implementation. She ended with an interactive group discussion session in which participants discussed challenges limiting monitoring of impacts of the EACOP project on the environment in their districts proposing possible solutions.
Results from participant evaluation indicated that;
- Content of the training: About 95% of the responses from the Rakai district officials and approximately 90% of Kyotera district officials stated that the training content was Good-Excellent at adequately equipping them with knowledge on enforcement of environmental standards.
- Pace of training: Rakai district officials (about 90%) were relatively more satisfied with pace of training compared to the Kyotera district officials (about 72%).
- Performance of trainers: 100% of the responses from Rakai officials and 100% of the responses from Kyotera district officials indicated that trainers clearly and skillfully disseminated material during sessions. Trainers widely presented in the Local language.
- Key things learned from the training: Majority of the respondents from Rakai and Kyotera districts clearly stated learning their roles in enforcing environmental standards, rights during the EACOP project. Kyotera district officials also highlighted the need to manage community expectations of the EACOP project.
Next, Greenwatch is in preparations for the community dialogue meeting on monitoring impacts of the EACOP project and training of the communities of Rakai and Kyotera districts to tap into opportunities of the EACOP project.