By Betty Obbo & Sostine Namanya
The National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) joined the rest of the world to celebrate the national Women’s Day in style. NAPE’s activities to mark this widely celebrated day included holding a media interaction meeting, facilitating a local women’s drama group from Kaiso Tonya, and launching a Women-lead Participatory Action Oriented Research on the negative impacts of the extractive industry on rural women.
NAPE commissioned a Women-lead Action Research in 2015 with an aim of deepening the understanding of the link between mining and women’s rights, environmental degradation, climate change, food security and women’s health among others. The Mining industry in Uganda is rapidly growing. In Uganda mining is done on both large scale and small-scale (artisanal), and the minerals mined at small-scale include gold mining areas of Mubende in Western Uganda and Karamoja region, salt mining on Katwe salt Lake among others. This sector employs a vast majority of semi-illiterate and illiterate workforce many of whom are women. The Mining industry in Uganda is rapidly growing especially with the discovery of vast oil and gas deposits in the Albertine Graben.
Presence of crude oil and gas was first documented in Uganda by Wayland in 1925. The first commercial oil well was discovered in 2006 by Hardman and Tullow Oil Companies and since then, a number of oil wells have been drilled in the Albertine Graben by UK based Tullow, French Company Total and Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC). Each of these oil companies signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ugandan government to develop the hydrocarbon resource in the region.
As Uganda started a number of oil development activities, significant negative impacts staterted showing up among communities, some are ranked resinous. And in all this, women are the most affected. The key findings of the Women-lead Action-Oriented research on impacts of oil development on Women included accelerating land grabbing, food insecurity through community displacements, animal human conflicts, increased population that has in turn increased pressure and carrying capacity of key ecosystems, increased prostitution, increased degradation of life supporting ecosystems, accelerated rights abuse, abuse of community access rights to ecosystem resources , introduction of inappropriate food technology to meet the increasing food needs, reduced opportunities for barter trade, water pollution among many others.
The research proposed the following recommendations to Government, Oil Companies, The Bunyoro Kingdom and the rural women.
To the Oil Companies
To Bunyoro Kingdom
To Communities /women
Goeffrey Kamese Nansonve is representing NAPE in the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) meeting that is taking place in Berlin German. The African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) was launched in Paris during the UNFCCC COP21. The AREI aims at enabling the installation of large-scale renewable energy capacity on the African continent by 2020, which would have a considerable impact on the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions in the continent. At least $5 billion in public and highly concessional finance between 2016 and 2020, from bilateral, multilateral and other sources, including the Green Climate Fund, will be needed to leverage a further USD15 billion in other investments, for a total investment of at least USD20 billion pre-2020.
The Initiative is led by the African Union’s commission, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)’s Agency, the African Group of Negotiators, the African Development Bank, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The AREI has been identified as an important initiative of driving an energy transformation process on the African Continent. NAPE; which is also Friends of the Earth Uganda cherishes and has been promoting the idea of a community owned and community controlled energy development agenda and it is in this spirit that we are looking at an energy agenda that supports community centered and community owned energy options as a way of overcoming community energy poverty in Africa. As we welcome the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), we hope it will not repeat past energy initiatives on the continent that have brought more misery to the people instead of improving their livelihoods. While governments have been focusing on energy for industry, they have not put equal efforts towards developing energy that can meet the basic energy needs of the communities.
Today people are considered to have energy access even when they cannot utilize it and only see cross their houses just because of such energy is not affordable to them. Many communities lack clean cooking energy and depend on biomass for energy. We have seen energy systems fail not only in Africa but all around the globe. It very definite that an energy breakthrough on the African continent will only be achieved when the people on the continent will collectively have a say on the kind of energy they desire and where such energy option should be located.
'The 0.6MW Solar plant, on Bugala Island – Kalangala District'
'THE BIGEST BURDEN: women in Africa spend a lot of time looking for firewood'
NAPE was represented at the UN Climate sumit in Paris by two staff - Goeffrey Kamese N, who is the Senior Program officer in charge of Climate Change and Chemicals Management at NAPE and sits on the Steering Commuittee of Climate Justice and Energy of Friends of the Earth International.
David Kureeba who is the Cordinator of Global Forest Coalition at NAPE and Friends of the Earth International. Mr. Kureeba also leads campaigns involving agro-fuels and the negative effects of plantation expansion as well as tracking and analyzing the United Nations program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation(REDD). Kureeba features in KPFK radio’s Sojourner Truth radio show, http://globaljusticeecology.org/earth-watch-david-kureeba-with-the-global-forest-coalition-and-friends-of-the-earth/
As the Climate negotiation move close to the end, the world anxiously awaits for a possible new agreement on Climate change that will see global temperature reducing below 2C threshold. There is a draft text for the Paris outcomes, but this is not final. Let us all pray this time round, our negotiators will reach an agreement.