CSOs Want Export Credit Agencies To Stop Supporting Dirty Fossil Energy In Uganda

Environment Governance Institute (EGI) has asked developed countries through Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) to stop supporting fossil fuel developments and large hydro-power dams in Uganda.

These projects, EGI said, undermine the Paris agreement, aggravate climate change, destroy the environment, heighten human rights violations and leave local communities disenfranchised.  

EGI working with four environmental organizations from Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and Uganda, in cooperation with Friends of the Earth Netherlands and Both ENDS has released a report which reveals that since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, rich countries have provided almost 50 times as much support through ECAs for fossil fuel-related projects less for clean energy projects in the four African countries. 

In the report titled “A Just Energy Transition for Africa? Mapping the impacts of ECAs active in the energy sector in Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and Uganda”, it is revealed that rich countries insured energy projects with a total value of 11 billion US dollars and more than half of this export support is related to fossil fuels.

Only 1% went to sustainable renewable energy. Export credit agencies provide insurances and guarantees to companies doing business abroad. 

People and nature 

Part of this research is also based on reports from local communities in Uganda that have been affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) which is supported by the UK ECA UKEF. People have had to leave their land and water they depend on to pave way for this fossil fuel project. They are hardly compensated for this, with many ending up living in poverty.

 

“Such projects have left people worse off than they were, these are communities that already have to deal with impacts of climate change such as food insecurity “, said Samuel Aede from EGI. “These developed countries must rethink their ECA related support towards sustainable energy projects,” 

Beneconsila Busingye widow of 56 had to move to pave way for oil developments in Uganda. "I first had to leave my land for the construction of the airport for the oil developments. Access to the same land that we were given in compensation, was next cut off by the government because of the EACOP oil pipeline developments. After my husband died, the government did not want to compensate me. I never signed anything, yet all of a sudden I am no longer allowed to use my land. How can I feed my children now that my husband is dead?

Not in line with the Paris Climate Agreement 

"Despite international climate agreements and national climate ambitions, export credit agencies continue to support fossil energy projects abroad on a large scale," says Niels Hazekamp of Both ENDS. "This undermines the Paris Climate Targets. Export credit agencies hardly play a role in ensuring green, sustainable projects. This report once again makes us wonder whether ECAs are able to make the changes that are urgently needed.” 

Dependent on fossil 

By supporting the expansion of the fossil sector in these African countries, export credit agencies ensure that economies remain dependent on fossil fuels. "And that in a world that is increasingly switching to renewable energy," says Isabelle Geuskens of Milieudefensie.

"Those countries risk ending up with huge debts and fossil infrastructure for decades to come, while in the future the demand for their oil and gas will decrease substantially. The Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB already warns of the dangers of huge debts in African countries that are economically dependent on fossil fuels, but at the same time it contributes to this dependency by continuing to support fossil fuels in these countries. 

Export credit agencies for a green and just transition 

With the report, the organisations want to raise some fundamental questions about the role of export credit agencies in supporting dirty energy in Africa. Hazekamp: "The vision that export credit agencies have of sustainability is highly questionable.

Our research shows, for example, that large hydropower plants, to which most of the other half of all export support for the energy sector goes, continues to be referred to as ¨green¨ and ¨sustainable: ¨. However, these reservoirs also emit a lot of methane, which contributes to climate change. The dams also affect the natural environment and are linked to human rights violations". 

The report calls on the governments to stop supporting fossil projects via their ECAs. The environmental organisations also ask these governments to take a critical look at whether the energy projects supported by ECAs in the south are able to contribute to a just and green energy transition.

 

Tripling Renewables Investment To Reach Climate Goal

Global renewable energy investment increased between 2013 and 2018, reaching its peak at USD 351 billion in 2017, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Climate Policy Initiative (CPI).

The 2020 edition of Global Landscape of Renewable Energy Finance highlights however, that while a cumulative USD 1.8 trillion were invested during the five-year period, the amount falls short to achieve the global climate commitments.

Renewable energy investment slightly declined in 2018, with modest growth through 2019. Although this was largely due to the decreasing costs of renewables, the total installed capacity continued to grow. The current level of investment is still insufficient however to keep the rise in global temperatures within the 1.5°C objective by mid-century. To achieve this climate goal, investment in diverse renewables technologies must almost triple annually to USD 800 billion by 2050. 

Ambitious commitments from governments are needed, backed by supporting measures such as moving subsidies away from fossil fuels. Further investments are also needed in system integration and enabling technologies that increase system flexibility such as batteries and energy storage. To that end, policies that enable the integration of new renewables capacity additions into the energy systems are needed, leading to their decarbonisation and bringing wide socio-economic benefits.

"The investment trend in renewable energy before COVID-19 was a positive one," said Francesco La Camera, IRENA's Director-General. "But COVID-19 has shown us that much more effort is urgently needed to put us on a climate compatible pathway and help us recover better with a sustainable, resilient economy. Decision makers must design systemic approaches to policies that encourage and speed up the flow of investment into renewables, and away from fossil fuels, and doing so enable economic growth, social resilience and welfare." 
 
IRENA's post-COVID agenda showed that average annual investments of USD 2 trillion in renewables and other energy transition-related technologies in the 2021-2023-recovery phase could create 5.5 million additional jobs in the sector. An additional 19 million energy transition-related jobs would be created by 2030, following average annual investments of USD 4.5 trillion up to 2030. 

The majority of these investments could come from private sources, if government funds are used strategically to nudge investment decisions and financing in the right direction. The capital is available, with a push from the governments to mobilise it.  Public funds are able to leverage private investments by a factor of 3 to 4 if used strategically to steer investments toward clean energy solutions and away from fossil fuels.

Greater participation of institutional investors – which hold about USD 87 trillion in assets – will help to reach the scale of global investment needed. To this end, it is key to promote the use of capital market solutions, such as green bonds, that address the needs of these investors. The potential role of institutional investors for the global energy transition is further explored in IRENA's report, Mobilising Institutional Capital for Renewable Energy, published this month.
 
"There is a very clear need for a rapid increase of investment in renewable energy coupled with a significant reduction and redirection of investment away from fossil fuel energy," said Dr Barbara Buchner, CPI's Global Managing Director. "We call for more effort and coordination among policy makers, public and private finance institutions, energy and non-energy producing corporations, and institutional investors to speed up the global energy transition. This action is fundamental to a more sustainable and resilient future." 

This year's joint report analyses for the first time financial commitments to off-grid renewables technologies in developing markets, as they can bring the world closer to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 on universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030.

Providing cost-effective energy solutions, off-grid renewables are essential in a time when energy access is crucial to power healthcare facilities, save lives and create jobs. While investments in off-grid renewables solutions kept growing, reaching an all-time-high USD 460 million in 2019, additional capital must be unlocked especially for income-generating activities and productive uses to improve the livelihoods and resilience of billions of women and men globally and to promote socio-economic benefits. 

Looking ahead, policy makers need to signal long-term political commitment and enhance partnerships with the private sector to boost investors confidence and attract additional private capital in the sector. To that effect, the report laid out five specific recommendations that policy makers should implement to engage private sector actors, including institutional investors, capital market players and non-energy producing companies, in the collective path to green recovery and climate objectives.

Letter: Sudhir Writes To Museveni Regarding Growing Of Marijuana

In a lengthy letter to President Yoweri Museveni, businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, the chairman of Ruparelia Group, has explained that the timing is now for Uganda to venture into the business of growing marijuana for medical purposes.

Ruparelia, whose Premier Hemp company is among the many that have applied for the license to start farming the herb that has hundreds of medical purposes. Below is the full letter.

 

Your Excellency, I believe you very well recall the vanilla ‘madness’ of 2002-2005 when Ugandan farmers got rich overnight in Mukono and Masaka; those good old but shortlived days when vanilla almost became like gold.

We all remember when farmers in had to spend nights in their gardens, guarding their golden harvests from thieves; when traders started fighting each other over who should buy from which farmer and at some point, government had to intervene.

For those who are not aware, this sudden vanilla fortune was driven by two occurrences, thousands of kilometers away, in Madagascar, one of the world’s largest producers of vanilla.

The island nation was struck by two successive cyclones in one month- Tropical Cyclone Kesiny in May 2002 (Northern Madagascar) and Tropical Cyclone Manou in the South East, killing people, destroying transport infrastructure and thousands of acres of crops, especially the prized vanilla.

Global vanilla markets reacted and Uganda overnight went from nearly a zero exporter of vanilla to earning USD7.8 million in 2002 and USD11.5 million in 2003. Farmers and traders, became millionaires overnight.

Subsequent storms like, Cyclone Gafilo in March 2004 and Cyclone Dora, Indlala and Jaya that hit Madagascar between 2006 and 2007 kept Uganda in vanilla business, but sooner Madagascar recovered and took back its vanilla markets.

It was instead time for Ugandan vanilla farmers to be hit by financial storms and cyclones. It had to take another major storm- Cyclone Enawo in March 2017 to hit Madagascar, followed by Tropical Cyclone Kesiny in Northern Madagascar in May 2017 for Ugandan farm gate prices to rise to as much as UGX170,000-200,000 per kilo! Again Uganda had another windfall with national export earnings jumping 295.2% from USD3.2 million in 2016 to USD12.7 million.

But soonest Madagascar began recovering, prices went down and in 2018, Uganda’s export earnings fell to USD8.2 million and fell further to USD4.47 million in 2019. Well, we do not know when the next cyclone will come for Vanilla farmers to enjoy yet another rich season but one lesson we can learn from the above is the power of being a first mover.

A first-mover advantage can be simply defined as the ability to beat of competition as a result of being the first to go to market with a new product category. Of course, how lasting this advantage gets, depends on many other things like a good investment and regulatory climate, among other variables.

Coming back to East Africa, this week, it was all over the news that Rwanda will start receiving applications for licenses to grow medical marijuana for export, following an October 13th cabinet meeting that approved the regulatory guidelines on the cultivation, processing and export of high-value therapeutic crops.

Other countries in the region, including Uganda are also at various stages of approval of the growing of medical marijuana. While we are not attempting to compare Uganda with any other country, as we are a unique and independent country, it is also a market reality that the global medical marijuana market, estimated to reach between USD40 billion and USD45 billion by 2025, is not unlimited.

The early birds will certainly catch the most and possibly the biggest worms and like in the case of Madagascar and vanilla elaborated above, will hold onto this advantage for many years to come.

Those that will come on the next wave, will have to play second-fiddle, hoping and praying for some storms of some kind so they can gain some short-lived windfalls. If there is anything that Covid-19 has taught the markets, it is the danger of relying on the same sets of traditional sources of income.

In the case of Uganda, tourism, Uganda’s largest forex earner is on its knees and is not expected to recover fully until 2003 and beyond- and this presupposes a vaccine is discovered sooner than later.

Although coffee export earnings, according to statistics from Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and Bank of Uganda are on the path to recovery, this is only because we exported more bags of coffee, otherwise prices are still on the low.

According to UBOS, although monthly earnings from coffee exports reached a record high of USD419.5 million in July 2020, this was because Uganda exported 540,000 bags the highest monthly export quantity since 1997.

It is also worth noting that average prices also fell to USD1.53 in July and USD1.48 August- a record lowest in about 10 years. According to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), world global coffee consumption is expected to reduce as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to put pressure on the global economy and the lockdowns adding more pressure on out-of-home coffee consumption.

This according to ICO, the intergovernmental organization for coffee exporting and importing governments, including Uganda, has left the global markets with a surplus of about 1.54 million bags.

This, surplus, added to another 4.4 million bags carried over from the 2018/19 season, will according to ICO continue holding back global price recovery. ICO reported that World Coffee prices in September 2020 remained at an average of US cents 116.25 per pound.

Although a little higher than the average US cents 107.25 for the 2019/20 coffee year, it was still way below the 10-year average (2007 and 2018) of US cents 135.3 per pound. Elsewhere as coffee farmers and traders continue to feel the pinch, other traditional Ugandan exports are also under pressure.

 A comparison of export earnings of the 6 months before Covid-19 (September 2019-February 2020) and the 6 months after Covid19 (March-August 2020) also shows declining export revenues on many other agriculture exports, almost all of them double-digit. Significant declines were from: Cotton (-65.3 %), Tobacco (-63.5 %), Fish (-30.4%), Hides & Skins (-47.1%), Maize (-28.3%), Beans (-41.7%) and Cocoa (-17.3%).

The Only Exceptions, Which Grew, Were: Fruits & Vegetables (+31.3%), Tea (+5.6%) And Flowers (+19.2%) – but again the devil could be in the details.

 Your Excellency, if there is one lesson we should pick from the Covid-19 crisis is the need to not only add value (like you have always emphasized to especially the bazzukulu), but even more importantly the need to diversify.

Value addition and diversification are important because, truth be said, some markets for some of our agriculture products are over saturated. Even with value-addition, we can only go far, because we do not have much competitive advantage.

That is why we believe Uganda has a real opportunity to establish both a competitive and a fast-mover advantage in the medical marijuana for export business- we have the right climate and more arable land than most, if not all our neighbours combined.

If we miss this opportunity, we may probably never catch up. Medical Marijuana is a whole new industry, a game-changer. Global Research firm Nielsen predicts that by 2025, sales of all legalized cannabis in the U.S. alone will reach $41 billion. Medical marijuana for export will not only create new revenue streams for the country, but it will also spur many other local value-addition sectors and thousands of jobs.

Your Excellency, the private sector has been ready since 2018 and we believe that now, more than ever, there are all reasons to fast-track legislation on medical marijuana production, to give Uganda competitive edge.

The Ruparelia Group, one of the largest commercial agriculture players that controls over 40% of the cut flowers export market, registered Premier Hemp Limited in July 2018. We are ready and willing to leverage our expertise in commercial agriculture to grow this golden crop on a large and for-export-only scale.

But we are not alone, 20 other companies have applied for licenses as provided for under Section 11 (1) of The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 2016 and are waiting for clearance and written consent of the Minister of Health. Will there be challenges and mistakes along the way?

Yes, like any other new industry, there will be very many challenges, but as you rightly told Uganda on June 08th 2017, during the reading of the 2017/18 budget: “Failing is part of success. Therefore, we shall learn from our mistakes, and keep trying until we succeed.”

Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia is the founder and Chairman of Ruparelia Group and Rajiv Ruparelia is the Group Managing Director. The Ruparelia Group is one of Uganda’s largest business conglomerates with investments in financial services, real estate, education services, hospitality, agriculture and media/broadcasting.

Uganda Tired Of Waiting As Rwanda Formalizes Medical Marijuana Farming

Ugandan investors intending to participate in the commercial growing of medical marijuana or cannabis are not happy that the government has remained silent regarding opening up the business for agricultural licensing.

Their displeasure was reawakened when Rwanda on Tuesday announced that cabinet on Monday 12 October 2020 approved regulatory guidelines that provide a framework for investment in the production and processing of medical cannabis for export to growing global markets. 

Clare Akamanzi, the chief executive officer of Rwanda Development Board, said Rwanda will begin to receive applications for licences from interested investors for this high-value therapeutic crop. Such a development has eluded Ugandan companies who for the last three years have been waiting to be licensed.

The Ugandan authorities have mentioned before that they are consulting stakeholders on how they will regulate the growing of marijuana without members of the public abusing the highly addictive substance. But it seems the process is taking a little bit too long and its making interested investors uncomfortable.

In Rwanda, Akamanzi said guidelines establish quality standards, the requirements for licenses and permits, as well as strict security measures designed to prevent any illicit diversion or use of the product.

“This investment framework does no affect the legal status of cannabis consumption in Rwanda, which remains prohibited. Medical cannabis produced in Rwanda is solely for export markets,”
“Rwanda is a signatory to all relevant UN convention relating to narcotics, and will continue to ensure full compliance with international law,” Akamanzi said.

 An official at Premier Hemp, one of the companies targeting the recrutive business said they will have to yet again engage government so that the matter is addressed. The official said that with the development in Rwanda being, targeting the Rwanda market is an option they can consider.

Ruparelia Foundation Hands Over Eco Brick Toilet Slum Dwellers

Rajiv Ruparelia, a trustee of Ruparelia Foundation, has expressed interest to build 50 more eco-friendly toilets in different parts of Uganda serving underprivileged communities as a way of promoting healthy living and saving the environment.

He was speaking at an event where Ruparelia Foundation handed over the eco brick toilet project to residents of Nsooba cell in Mulago III, Kamwokya. The toilet, which has been constructed using bricks made out of plastic bottles, will also benefit Good Samaritan Primary School.  

He said the project was chosen due to its sustainability in nature and its positive impact on the environment while helping the local community to earn a living through skills and knowledge transfer. Plastic bottles were stuffed with polytherene commonly known as kaveera collected from dustbins.

“This project is going to help very many children to go back to school and it’s this facility that the whole community will benefit from because now they have where to put human waste. We are planning 50 more of such projects in the country,” Rajiv said.

The toilet facility was built using proceeds from the 2019 Royal Ascot Goat Races held at Speke Resort Munyonyo with Ghetto Research Lab also the project contractor. Construction of the project commenced on December 6th 2019 but delayed due to COVID- 19 pandemic.

Patrick Mujuzi, Founder Ghetto Research Lab Uganda, said the project is going to be a solution to the environmental challenges in the ghetto and the diseases that arise due to poor hygiene.

“When I came to this ghetto, I found when the environment was at risk because of plastic wastes which were being disposed into the area and some were being carried by the running water,” Mujuzi said.

Mujuzi added that through a friend, they thought of solution of building using plastic bottles the project he says is now employing 500 women in the area and men to earn a living. This partnership with Ruparelia Foundation is a big boost, he said.

The objectives of the project are to empower the youth with hands-on skills through research on composted manure, technology, urban/smart farming vocational training and employment opportunities and to preserve, protect and propagate the significance of sustainable development of maintaining ecological balance through tree planting and urban farming.

Other objectives are to improve sanitation within the slum areas through waste recycling and achieve the green agenda through environmental conservation by recycling the plastics and polytherene into eco-bricks, plastic pavers, flower pots, plastic rooftops etc.

Ruparelia Foundation To Hand Over Eco Brick Toilet Project To Ghetto School

In Uganda, many schools in impoverished communities lack sanitary facilities like toilets or pit latrines. This puts the health of learners and teachers at stake due to poor hygiene. It is even worse for schools in ghetto areas that lack enough land and space to construct and expand these facilities.

Sometimes, it has taken the intervention of philanthropic organizations through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs for such communities to have better sanitary facilities. The latest beneficiary of this giving spirit is Good Samaritan High School in Nsooba, a ghetto community sitting between Kamwokya and Kyebando.

In June last year, The Ruparelia Foundation and partners announced it would spend proceeds from The Royal Ascot Goat Races to undertake an Eco Brick Toilet CSR project to build toilets aimed at improving sanitation at the Good Samaritan High School. True to their word, construction of the toilets commenced in December.

And now, The Ruparelia Foundation has said the Eco Brick Toilet Project construction works has been completed and the toilet facility will this week be handed over to the beneficiary on Friday 2nd October. The project was conducted in partnership with Ghetto Research Lab in Kamwokya.

Sheena Ruparelia, Trustee Ruparelia Foundation, confirmed that the project has been completed successful and ready for unveiling and eventual handover to Good Samaritan High School. Noah Kisira, the head teacher of the school described the completed project work as magnificent.

The ecofriendly project has consumed 13.2 ton of recycled material including polytherene commonly known as kaveera. The 10 toilets that will be handed over on Friday have been built using cement, timber, concert stones and hard-core stones, eco bottle bricks (bottles stuffed with polytherene), sand, iron bars, nails, iron sheets and water.

The project has had a multiplier impact on the ghetto communities in Nsooba, Kamwokya and Kyebando. It has been revealed that 50 community members were taught the skill of making these ecofriendly bricks, 100 community members earned from building the structure and 500 students will now return to the school which had been closed due to lack of sanitary facilities.

Naiya Ruparelia, Trustee Ruparelia Foundation, said The Ruparelia Foundation is excited to be the partner on ground making sure that the funds donated to this project are put directly to the right use. Patrick Mujuzi, Founder Ghetto Research Lab Uganda, said the project is going to be a solution to the environmental challenges in the ghetto and the diseases that rise due to poor hygiene.

The objectives of the project are to empower the youth with hands on skills through research on composed manure, technology, urban/smart farming vocational training and employment opportunities and to preserve, protect and propagate the significance of sustainable development of maintaining ecological balance through tree planting and urban farming.

Other objectives are to improve sanitation within the slum are as through waste recycling and achieve the green agenda through environmental conservation by recycling the plastics and polytherene into eco bricks, plastic pavers, flower pots, plastic roof tops etc.

Bugoma Forest: Detained Journalists Get Police Bond

By George Busiinge

The two journalists arrested on allegations of plotting an unlawful protest against the move to degrade a forested land believed to be part of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve (CFR) have been released on police bond after spending two nights in Hoima Central Police custody.

The environmental journalists; Mr Venix Watebawa and Mr Joshua Mutale subscribing to Water and Environment Media Network (WEMNET) were arrested on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at around 8pm some few minutes after arriving in Hoima City.

Bugoma forest land dispute between Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and the National Forest Authority (NFA) is now pending the Court of Appeal decision.

This is after NFA lost twice on its suit challenging the transaction for the 22-square-mile piece of land between Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and Hoima Sugar Limited.

NFA claims that Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom leased to Hoima Sugar Ltd part of Bugoma CFR which is a nationally recognised government conservation area in public interest.

The Shs3.9b approximately US$1m- transaction was made in 2016 when the kingdom leased the land to Hoima Sugar Ltd for 99 years in favour of sugarcane growing.

Bugoma forest in Kyangwali sub-county, in the current Kikuube district was gazetted in 1932. It is one of the major conservation areas in Uganda that stand to be relied on for wildlife which is one of the major tourist attractions.

Tourism is the leading foreign exchange income earner for Uganda.

Forestry is one of the major determinants of climate change since natural forests have a high capacity to absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Ecologists argue that Bugoma forest is also so important at this time when it is most wanted given the planned construction of an oil refinery in Hoima that will emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere requiring to be absorbed lest it harm people and fauna in the sphere of coverage.

They say the forest will be a good carbon absorber tapping the poisonous gas plummeting from the atmosphere once the oil refinery becomes operational.

CSOs Demand For Release Of Save Bugoma Forest Campaigners

Civil society actors and tourism operators working under the Save Bugoma Forest Campaign (SBC) to stop illegal sugarcane growing and oil activities in Bugoma forest and the ecosystems around the forest are demanding for an immediate release of nine of their members who were arrested by police in Hoima district.

“Our members travelled to Hoima to participate in a peaceful demonstration aimed at stopping the destruction of Bugoma forest for sugarcane growing and to stop the risks of oil activities to critical biodiversity resources.

Two of our group members were arrested on their way to a radio talk show at Spice FM in Hoima. The two were set to discuss the risks and dangers of destroying Bugoma forest for sugarcane growing and allowing oil activities in critical biodiversity areas including rivers, lakes, national parks, forests, wetlands and others.

The talk show was also aimed at providing information on the planned peaceful protests where the civil society leaders were supposed to walk from Hoima and Kikuube districts to Bugoma forest reserve to address a press conference,” Mr. Dickens Kamugisha, the CEO of AFIEGO and a member of SBC, says.

It is notable that the planned protest was aimed at expressing displeasure with government agencies that have connived to give away Bugoma forest for sugarcane growing.

It was also to expose how the rush for oil exploitation has attracted dubious companies that are conniving with government to conduct illegal and irregular Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA), issue ESIA certificates of approval, proceed with illegal activities in forests, national parks, rivers, lakes, wetlands and others without complete and approved mitigation plans. These illegal and irregular activities are leading to the destruction of forests, waterfalls, national parks and other natural iconic futures.

Mr. Kamugisha adds, “In addition to the two who were arrested while on their way to the radio talk show, seven other SBC members and partners were also arrested. The seven were arrested at Hoima police station while trying to negotiate the release of the two who spent the night in the police cells.”

The arrested include AFIEGO's Sandra Atusinguza, journalists Venex Watebawa, Joshua Mutale, Sam Kayiwa and activists Vincent Sekitto, Joseph Mujuni, Ismail Kashokwa, John Kibego all of Save Bugoma Forest Campaign and Moses Mukiibi of Oil Refinery Residents Association.

“We are demanding for the immediate release of our campaigners from illegal detention. They were engaged in efforts to uphold Ugandans’ constitutional right to live in a clean and healthy environment. The Constitution, National Environment Act of 2019 and other laws empower Ugandans to defend the above right and police should not deter Ugandans, including our campaigners, from defending Ugandans’ environmental and other rights,” Mr. Kamugisha says.

Save Forests & Wetlands To Avoid Human-Animal Conflicts

By Paul Kato

For over three years, the media has been reporting about the massive destruction of forests and wetlands in several parts of the country. Bunyoro sub-region has greatly been affected by this environmentally dangerous practice.

Because of the massive destruction of wild animal habitat areas by residents, there has been an increased rate of human-animal conflicts in the districts that make up Bunyoro sub-region - Kikuube, Hoima, Kagadi, Kakumiro and Kibale.

Unfortunately, residents, investors and government agencies and officials prefer to use animal habitant areas for economic activities like agriculture, charcoal burning, lumbering, sugar cane growing by Hoima Sugar company and oil and gas activities.

The massive destruction of forests and wetlands have led to the migration of wild animals like chimpanzees from their natural habitats. This has created a big competition for land space and food.

Also, many people, especially the vulnerable children between one year to four, have been attacked and injured by these animals; many have lost their lives.

It should be noted that the continuous massive destroying of the forests and wetlands is going to contribute to a big number of people and children being injured and killed by the wild animals.

Worthy to note is that this massive destruction of our natural forests and wetlands is going to result in a prolonged drought, floods, reduction of foreign exchange and climatic change among others.

Therefore, the forests and wetlands need to be protected and conserved by all stakeholders to avoid human-animal conflicts, climatic change and negative impacts on the people’s livelihoods.

Research shows that in Bunyoro region, 20 children have already been attacked and injured by wild animals, at list five have died because of ongoing human-animal conflicts.

Therefore, I call upon all the local leaders right from the grass root levels to the national level to carry out massive sensitization among the local communities, National Environment Management Authority, National Forestry Authority and Environmental Police to put in place new laws that are going to protect forests. People lack information about the importance of forests.

Paul Kato is a research associate at African Institute for Energy Governance  

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Climate Financing By Leading Multilateral Development Banks Tops $61.6bn

Climate financing by seven of the world’s largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) totalled $61.6 billion in 2019, of which $41.5 billion (67%) was in low- and middle-income economies, according to the 2019 Joint Report on Multilateral Development Banks’ Climate Finance.

The study expands the scope of reporting for the first time to all countries with multilateral development bank operations. It now provides data on MDB climate finance commitments beyond those directed solely at developing and emerging economies, but with the focus remaining on low- and middle-income countries.

This year the report combines data from the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB Group), the World Bank Group (WBG) and – for the first time – the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), which joined the working group in October 2017. In 2019, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) also joined MDB working groups, and its data is presented separately within the current report.

The 2019 report shows that $46.6 billion, or 76% of total financing for the year, was devoted to climate change mitigation investments that aim to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and slow down global warming. Of this, 59% went to low- and middle-income economies.

The remaining $15 billion, or 24%, was invested in adaptation efforts to help countries build resilience to the mounting impacts of climate change, including worsening droughts, extreme flooding and rising sea levels. Ninety-three percent of this finance was directed at low- and middle-income economies.

Additional climate funds channelled through MDBs, such as the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund, the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF), the European Union’s funds for Climate Action, and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), play an important role in boosting MDB climate financing.

In 2019, the MDBs report a further $102.7 billion in net climate co-finance – investments from the public and private sector – taking the total of climate activity financed in the year to $164.3 billion.

The MDBs have reported on climate finance since 2011, based on a jointly developed methodology for climate finance tracking.

The 2019 edition of the Joint Report on MDBs’ Climate Finance is published in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused significant social and economic disruption, temporarily reducing global carbon emissions to 2006 levels.

Dr. Anthony Nyong, Director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, noted: “Our investments that contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement continue to grow. The climate finance provided by the Bank increased from $3.2 in 2018 to $3.5 billion in 2019 – representing 35% of total project approvals worth $10.2 billion.” The largest climate finance investments were made in the energy, agriculture and transport sectors.

Importantly, the Bank exceeded its target of achieving parity between adaptation and mitigation finance by allocating 55% of its climate finance resources to adaptation and 45% to mitigation, whereas globally more than 70% of climate finance is allocated to mitigation. More global efforts are needed to build climate change resilience and adaptation in Africa.

“As African economies face the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, slacking action or redirecting financial resources from climate change will further compound these impacts in a diverse and complex manner,” Dr. Nyong cautioned.

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