Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Issued at the Closing of the High Level Conference on Oil Governance in Uganda and the Great Lakes Region
Official Statement of the Conference
Hotel Africana, Kampala-Uganda
25 October 2013
The High Level Conference on Oil Governance in Uganda and the Great Lakes Region took place at Hotel Africana, Kampala-Uganda on October 25th, 2013. The conference was attended by over 140 participants including Ministers, Members of Parliament, government agencies, development partners, civil representatives from Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, DRC, Tanzania and Uganda, representatives from academic institutions, religious and cultural institutions, representatives from the affected communities and others stakeholders. The main objective of the above conference was to enable stakeholders share experiences, lessons and build networks necessary to translate oil exploitation into real benefits for the citizens.
The participants attending the final session of the conference hereby adopt this communiqué as an expression of consensus on issues, declarations and commitments arising out of the deliberations from the conference.
That the discovery of oil, gas and other minerals in Uganda and the great lakes region presents a tremendous opportunity for the country to access much needed resources to overcome major social, economic and infrastructure challenges confronting the country. The revenues from oil and gas will enable strategic investments in key areas such as access to clean water, quality education and health services, modernized agriculture, employment for youth, national and regional infrastructure including roads and railways, strong institutions of governance and others for improved livelihoods for all the citizens and general development at national and regional level.
RECOGNIZE that Government of Uganda together with East African partner states has made commendable investments and progress in promoting the development of the oil, gas and mineral sectors and urge our governments to continue with more purposefulness and openness in handling all matters regarding the development and production of oil, gas and mineral resources in the region.
TAKE NOTE of the fact that Uganda and the entire great lakes region’s oil and gas sector is still characterized by suspicion arising from undue secrecy and lack of transparency, accountability and integrity, especially with regard to human rights relating to land, civil society operational environment, lack of a cultural of constitutionalism, rule of law, community conflicts. The lack of transparency, accountability and respect for the citizens’ rights to property in the oil and gas sector is a major source of tension and mistrust between the executive, parliament, civil society and citizens, and has the potential to undermine the opportunities presented by the discovery of oil and gas resources.
TAKE COGNIZANCE of the encouraging efforts by the presidents of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi to build a joint refinery in Uganda and other infrastructure across borders of their countries. The participants also take note of the excellent work being done by the Parliament of Uganda and others in the region to put a legal frame work for oil and gas in place to provide for the governance of the sector.
REITERATE that bad governance in a country or region has the potential to undermine the benefits of oil, gas and minerals to the citizens. It results into resource curse with great consequences at national and regional levels. In this regard, the participants recognize that decision making and governance of oil and gas resources and management of oil and gas revenues should be above any political affiliations, ethnic alliances, tribal cleavages or any other partisan interests. Governments in the region should work together and encourage and, facilitate institutions and citizens across borders to participate in decision making processes regarding all relevant developments at all levels.
1. CALL upon the Government of Uganda to be transparent in the process of land acquisition for the oil refinery in Kabaale Hoima district. It should follow article 26 of the Constitution which provide for prompt, fair and adequate compensation in all cases of compulsory land acquisition.
2. The governments of Uganda, DRC, Burundi and Rwanda should undertake joint EIAs for the environmental conservation of the Albertine Graben.
3. COMMIT ourselves to work to support our governments in ensuring that citizens are empowered to play a key in the development.
4. DECLARE our unreserved commitment to work together to support all our governments’ initiatives that promote the good governance in individual countries and governance in the oil, gas and sectors and to challenge and oppose any government or companies actions that have the direct or indirect impact of undermining transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mineral sectors.
5. ACKNOWLEDGE the common but differentiated responsibilities of the executive, the legislature, the civil society, the media and other interest groups in ensuring that the natural resources of our countries and in particular oil, gas and mineral resources are developed, exploited and utilized for the benefit of our people especially the poor and vulnerable groups and, in the national interest of our countries.
6. CALL UPON Government of Uganda to expeditiously make regulations for the assessment and payment of compensation as provided for under section 20 of the Land Acquisition Act.
7. CALL UPON the Government of Uganda to honor its policy commitment to subscribe to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as set out under objective SIX of the national oil and gas policy and to expeditiously take appropriate action to join the Initiative.
8. CALL UPON Government of Uganda to investigate cases of land grabbing in the oil region and ensure that prompt, fair and adequate compensation is paid to the affected people as provided for under Article 26 of the Constitution.
9. COMMIT ourselves to take measures and actions required to build mutual confidence and trust between the executive, the legislature, the civil society and citizens as a major building block for effective policy and legislation in the oil, gas and mineral sectors in our countries and the region.
10. Extend our appreciation to the colleagues from the Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and the United Republic of Tanzania for their participation and sharing of experiences that provide important lessons for the development of Uganda’s oil and gas sub-sector.
11. Extend our appreciation to the organizers of this conference who provided the financial and intellectual resources that made the convening of this conference possible.
25th October, 2013