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Climate change: Vulnerability and community efforts to address impactsClimate change is one of the most hotly debated issues of today. In Uganda these changes are already influencing many systems essential for human livelihood, including water resources, food security and health. This causes a great challenge for sustainability of life, ecosystems, livelihoods and indeed the development of the economy.

Sadly, the biggest sections of the Ugandan populace are not pro-actively involved in activities that aim to address climate change phenomenon currently experienced in the country. Some of the individuals and groups involved in activities to address climate change effects do it with limited climate knowledge.

It is important now, more than ever, to involve all Ugandans in climate change debates and advocacy to ensure that all sectors of the society are climate sensitive and are involved in implementing climate-smart projects.

The government of Uganda is quietly exploring plans to buy back Bujagali dam, a major hydroelectricity project, from a consortium of private investors and developers in a move that would constitute a major reversal in public policy.

“The high cost of electricity in Uganda has reached unsustainable levels that are severely eroding local industries’ competitiveness and domestic consumers’ disposable income,” says a confidential brief seen by this newspaper that seeks to justify the buy-back.

By 2019 government of Uganda “will only control 8.75 per cent of the country’s electricity generation capacity, thus it will not be able to effectively impact the overall electricity tariffs that are currently spiralling out of control,” adds the brief.

Harrison Mutikanga, the head of the government-owned Uganda Electricity Generation Company, confirmed that discussions were ongoing to explore the viability of the proposal. Sparks fly over Umeme’s failure to supply power to businesses

Located on the River Nile near Jinja, the dam is owned by Bujagali Energy Ltd (BEL), a special-purpose vehicle owned in turn by Industrial Promotion Services, which is part of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, and SG Bujagali Holdings, an affiliate of Sithe Global Power, LLC, part of Blackstone, the US-based private-equity fund.

NAPE in collaboration with other African Civil Society in Africa and global allies in a campaign codenamed YES TO LIFE and NO TO MINING yesterday presented an open letter challenging the organizers and attendees of a conference on Extractive Industries in Africa which is happening at Chatham House in central London.

MONDAY 16TH MARCH

Nnimo Bussey presenting CSO's petition at the Chatham Houce Conference on Extractive Industries in AfricaAs speakers and participants gather at Chatham House in central London for a two-day conference entitled ‘Extractive Industries in Africa’, individuals, organisations and coalitions from across Africa and beyond have signed an open letter challenging the conference organisers and attendees. The letter asks that delegates consider an alternative set of questions and discussion points which, rather than paying ‘mere lip service’ to sustainability and international protocols, addresses the climate, social and ecological crises that the extractives industries are implicated in and consider a genuine transition away from fossil fuels.
The letter will be delivered by hand by Nnimmo Bassey, a lifelong activist challenging big oil in the Niger Delta, Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nigeria, and former Head of Friends of the Earth International.

PARLIAMENT. Lawmakers yesterday banged tables, called the water and environment minister names, before kicking him and his officials out of a meeting called to discuss a ban on the use of polythene bags.
MPs on the Natural Resources committee led by former Finance minister Syda Bbumba, who announced the ban in 2009, said polythene bags (commonly known as kaveera ) pose a danger to the environment and “violates the rights of citizens to a clean and healthy environment.”

Attempts by Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, the minister, to blame the politically charged nature of any debate about polyethenes and the “lack of coordination” for the delay in banning kaveera, only further infuriated the committee.
Ssembabule Woman MP Anifa Kawooya noted that for 15 years she has been talking about the ban without success.

Ms Kawooya moved that the minister and team be thrown out despite his desperate pleas about the constitutional right to a fair hearing.
“We resolved that the kaveera should rest in eternal peace but the minister and his friends are just playing games. We are tired of talking; we want action and the minister should not appear before this committee until this matter is resolved,” she said.

Palm oil producers backed by the UN taken to court by evicted farmers who say they have received little compensation

Before the bulldozers came, Magdalena Nakamya harvested coffee, cassava, avocado and jackfruit on her three-hectare (seven-acre) plot on Kalangala, an island in Lake Victoria.

But on a July morning in 2011, Nakamya, 64, awoke to find yellow machines churning up her land and razing the crops she had grown in a bid to make way for palm oil plantations.

“No one came to talk to me before they destroyed my crops,” says Nakamya. “I heard that some people were given money, but I didn’t receive anything.”

Oil Palm Uganda Limited (Opul) was launched in 2002, following an agreement signed between the government and Bidco Uganda, a food producer, with the aim of increasing palm oil production in the country.

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