Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Total Promises Complete Transparency Amidst Environmental Stakes In Tilenga, EACOP Projects

In accordance with its guiding principle of transparency in engaging with civil society, Total publishes today the studies, independent third-party reviews and social and environmental action plans related to the Tilenga project in Uganda and the EACOP (East African Crude Oil Pipeline) project in Uganda and Tanzania. These documents are available at www.total.com.

These projects are undertaken in a sensitive environmental context and require the implementation of land acquisition programs with specific attention to respecting the rights of the communities concerned.

Environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) studies have been conducted and approved by the Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities for both projects, which are carried out in compliance with the stringent performance standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Moreover, several independent reviews have been conducted by third-party organizations to ensure that the projects are implemented in compliance with social and environmental best practices.

These reviews also allow assessing the effectiveness of the actions undertaken, to identify areas of improvement and have resulted in related action plans.

In line with the “Avoid – Reduce - Compensate” principles that underpin its Biodiversity Policy published in 2020, Total has decided to voluntarily limit the Tilenga project’s footprint within Uganda’s Murchison Falls park.

While the current permits cover nearly 10% of the park, the development will be restricted to an area representing less than 1% of its surface, and the developed areas will be voluntarily relinquished without delay.

In addition, the project has been designed to minimize the footprint of temporary and permanent facilities, which will occupy less than 0.05% of the park’s area.

The Group also confirms its commitment to implement action plans designed to produce a net positive impact on biodiversity in the development of these projects.

These plans will be defined in close cooperation with the authorities and stakeholders in charge of nature conservation in Uganda and Tanzania.

Accordingly, Total will provide its support to increase by 50% the number of rangers ensuring the preservation of Murchison Falls park and will support a program to reintroduce the black rhinoceros in Uganda, in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

Total is also working closely with IUCN experts to integrate the best practices for the protection of chimpanzees, particularly by promoting the conservation forest habitats.

Furthermore, the Tilenga and EACOP projects require the acquisition of 6,400 hectares of land, on which the primary residences of 723 households are located. Each of these households will be given the choice between a new house or monetary compensation.

The first 29 relocated households, residing on the Tilenga Central Processing Facility site, have all elected to receive a new house. The other land acquisition activities will be carried out in accordance with the compensation framework approved by the authorities.

“We acknowledge that Tilenga and EACOP projects represent significant social and environmental stakes, which we are taking into consideration responsibly.

We are mobilizing substantial resources to ensure that these projects are carried out in an exemplary manner and create value for the people in both countries.

In view of the questions raised by stakeholders, the commitment of Total is to answer to all questions and to ensure complete transparency on the studies conducted by Total and independent third parties and the actions taken as a result”, said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tota

Nile Basin Initiative Organises Webinars To Build Consensus On Nile Cooperation

The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia is organising a string of webinars for the 6th Nile Basin Development Forum (NBDF) under the theme ‘Rethinking Regional Investments in the Nile Basin’. 

The Nile Basin Development Forum is a science-policy dialogue organised by the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) with its Member States. It has been held since 2006 and brings together stakeholders from across the Basin and around the world to build consensus on the Nile cooperation agenda and the way forward for the sustainable development and management of the Nile Basin. 

Explaining the theme, NBI Secretariat Executive Director, Prof. Seifeldin Hamad Abdalla said, “The theme of the 6th NBDF: “Rethinking investments in the Nile Basinis very timely taking into account that the Nile riparians, building on the work of NBI over the past more than two decades, are moving towards a new approach to regional/basin planning and investment agenda.” 

Prof. Abdalla added that the goal of the NBDF is to enhance transformative processes and projects that will contribute to NBI’s shared vision: to promote socio-economic benefits for the people and countries of the Nile Basin.

Calling on citizens of the Nile to participate in the event, the Host Nile Council of Ministers, H.E Dr. Eng. Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia said, “I encourage all friends of the Nile to take part in the 6th NBDF webinar series, which Ethiopia is privileged to host.

The webinars will last for nearly two months from March 9 – April 29, 2021. The webinars cover all critical six sub themes of the NBI strategy; water security, energy security, food security, environmental sustainability, climate change adaptation, and transboundary water governance.” 

For the success of the above event, the Nile Basin Initiative secretariat is organising webinars scheduled to take place from March 9 – April 29, 2021. To attend the event, participants can register and join the conversation via https://www.eventleaf.com/nbdf 

The webinars are organised under various themes including Water Resources Management; Water-Energy-Food Nexus; Environment and Wetlands; Water and Climate and Transboundary Water Governance. 

The Forum will bring together multi-stakeholders from within and out of the Nile Basin including government officials in Nile Basin countries, Members of Parliament, water resource managers, environmentalists, economists, development partners, academia and researchers, to deliberate on opportunities and challenges of Nile cooperation. Other stakeholders are river basin organisations, regional, continental and international organisations, civil society, private sector as well as media practitioners. 

The Nile Basin Development Forum will be held virtually due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and is being organised with support from the European Union, the German Federation Government through GIZ, World Bank and Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA). 

On the sidelines of the Nile Basin Development Forum will be the Nile Media Awards in recognition of journalists that have published outstanding articles that tackle issues concerning the Nile Basin.

 

Immediately Handover Office, Gender Ministry PS Tells EOC's Sylvia Nabatanzi, Others

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Aggrey Kibenge has ordered the chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission Sylvia Nabantazi Muwebwa and other senior staff to handover office, official documents and assets in their possession to the Under Secretary/Finance and Administration, Equal Opportunities Commission following the expiry of their office tenure.

The employment contract of Nabantazi and others at the commission expired on January 19 and efforts to have the appointing authority, President Yoweri Museveni, renew it have been futile. This has got te PS to write to the Solicitor General for advice; no response has been received. This has left the PS with no option but to ask the affected individuals led by their chairperson Nabatanzi to handover the office.

Nabatanzi tenure at the EOC came to the end amid corruption and abuse of office charges. Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi and nine others were charged for abuse of office following a complaint to President Yoweri Museveni by a whistleblower calling for his intervention. According to a petition dated May 22, 2019, the whistleblower accused her of causing financial loss of over Shs200m through termination of workers contracts and forcing workers to resign and replace them with her relatives and friends.

Since she took over the chairperson-ship of the commission, the whistleblower said Nabatanzi has unfairly dismissed over 11 staff, terminated over 10 staff contracts, and four contracts have not been renewed. In 2017/ 2018, the Auditor General advised the commission to employ people on permanent contracts however the chairperson declined and this has since led to financial losses.  However, the Director of Public Prosecution recently dropped all the charges brought against her.

 

Hoima International Airport Construction Works Now Stands At 56%

By George Busiinge

Construction works for Hoima International Airport in Kabaale sub-county, Hoima district stands at 56 percent and the airport is expected to be completed by February 2023.

Based in a remote region close to Lake Albert, some four hours from Uganda's capital Kampala, the creation of Hoima International Airport is crucial to the development of a sustainable oil industry in Uganda.

The construction works kicked off in April 2018 after government acquired a loan of US $309 million (about Shillings 1.1 trillion) from Standard Chartered Bank and UK Export Finance for the first phase of the project.

The construction works currently stand at 45%

The project is being executed by SBC Uganda Limited-a joint venture company between UK’s Colas limited and Shikun and Binui namely SBI International Holdings AG.

Amos Muriisa the project Public Relations Officer says the project progress would be at 59% but they were interrupted by COVID-19 Pandemic.

He says that so far 3.5 kilometers runway is almost complete with 90% works complete and they expect by the end of this year air cargo will be landing on the airport to deliver oil refinery materials.

Muriisa adds that they are currently constructing accommodation for airport operators, Cargo terminal building and rescue firefighting system.

In a bid to promote information technology learning among learners, SBC Uganda, a company contracted to construct Hoima international Airport refurbished a computer library and installed there 12 computers at Kigaga primary school, in Buseruka sub-county Hoima district

The donation is worth over Sh50m.

Speaking during the handover, Amos Murisa the SBC spokesperson says the donation was made after a needs assessment by the stakeholders.

He noted that the donation was part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) aimed at promoting education and strengthening of their relationship with the locals in their area of operations.

The Hoima district education officer Godfrey Sserwajja commended the company for the donation adding he is optimistic that it will improve on the performance of the school.

He challenged the school’s management to properly use the computer and provide security to savage them from being stolen .

JosamTumwebaze, the Hoima RDC commended SBC for complementing government efforts in promoting education standards and called on the public to own government oil related projects being implemented in the area because they are the main beneficiaries.

Some of the children of Kigaga primary appreciated who were at school especially the candidates appreciated to SBC saying that ,they have never seen the computers but they are happy .

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