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Experts to Launch a Collaborative Process to Ensure Economic Development in Western Uganda Has a Positive Effect on People and Nature

ea95a369-e997-4a4c-aa41-22ad896ebc6b.jpgUganda’s Lake Albert basin is currently experiencing various forms of development which are being accelerated by oil industry development in western Uganda. With plans to extract, refine and export 2.2 billion barrels of recoverable fossil fuel located on the shores of Lake Albert, there is an urgent need in western Uganda to ensure that development is undertaken in a sustainable manner that does not lead to negative outcomes for biodiversity and communities. To address this need, around 40 experts from the public and private sectors, civil society, academia, and the development assistance community will convene in Hoima town, western Uganda from May 22-24, 2018 to launch a collaborative process that both encourages and enables cross-sectoral action to ensure that economic development in this region has a net positive effect on the wellbeing of Ugandan citizens and on nature conservation.

Fossil fuel production, hydro-electric generation, road construction and agricultural development in western Uganda have enormous potential to improve the wellbeing of all Uganda citizens. But to ensure that economic development does not result in undesired social and ecological impacts, the Government of Uganda, and its private sector and civil society partners, need to find ways to ensure that development is carried in a manner that is beneficial to both people and the environment. This requires that all relevant sectors are actively engaged in mitigating both immediate and cumulative undesired social and ecological impacts.

Developing mitigation actions

Total, the multi-national company holding the oil and gas extraction rights, is in the process of developing financing plans for effective mitigation actions and recognizes the need to establish a multi-sectoral approach. The Wildlife Conservation Society, through its participation in Total’s Biodiversity and Livelihoods Advisory Committee is working closely with the company to ensure compliance with the mitigation hierarchy and with the principle of a net gain in benefits for the region. This workshop will enable the development of a credible and practical multi-sectoral investment plan for: a) increasing family access to reproductive health services; b) growing the supply of sustainably produced livestock to meet demand for animal source protein; c) raising women’s income and youth employment; and d) strengthening the management of public protected areas and securing the growing wildlife tourism industry.

This workshop is designed to build on the solid foundation of work by the Government of Uganda, the Uganda Biodiversity Fund, the private sector and civil society organizations to develop a consensus multi-sectoral road-map for ensuring that the much needed economic development does not result in unexpected and undesired social and ecological impacts that would imperil the future wellbeing of Ugandan families.

The workshop is expected to break new ground in enabling a multi-sectoral pathway to ensure that desired outcomes in one sector do not result in unexpected and undesired outcomes in others.

The workshop is being organized by the Uganda Biodiversity Fund together with the Wildlife Conservation Society and with the active engagement and generosity of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Uganda, the BRIDGE Collaborative, the USAID Bureau for Africa, and the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group through its emerging issues small grants.

The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group emerging issues small grants initiative identifies and develops strategies to respond to new and growing threats that are likely to shape conservation priorities in the coming years, and influence the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation efforts in Africa.

For more information contact: David Wilkie [dwilkie@wcs.org]