Press statement on a high level conference on oil governance in Uganda and the Great Lakes region; 22 October 2013

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Press statement on a high level conference on oil governance in Uganda and the Great Lakes region; 22 October 2013

22nd October 2013
For immediate release
AFIEGO to host great lakes region conference on oil governance

Africa Institute for Energy governance (AFIEGO) will, on 25th October, hold a High Level Conference entitled: “The Governance of Oil in Uganda and the Great Lakes Region.” The conference aims at carrying forward the debate on ways to ensure that oil in Uganda and the entire great lakes region works for the benefit of the people. It will be held under the theme “Oil and the protection of citizens’ rights in Uganda and the Great Lakes region” and will bring together over 100 participants to discuss and build consensus on how the new laws and policies regulating the Great Lakes region newly discovered oil, gas and mineral wealth can be used to avert the notorious oil curse, meet the needs of the citizens and transform the region.
The high level conference will be held at Hotel Africana and will bring together different stakeholders including government officials, MPs, development partners, private sector, energy experts, civil society, religious and cultural leaders, local communities, and universities. Participants will come from DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Southern Sudan and Uganda

Dickens Kamugisha, CEO AFIEGO, explained the rationale of the conference thus: “The Albertine Graben region, where oil is located, is socially, environmentally and economically important to Uganda and all the countries of the great lakes region. It is here that we find Uganda’s seven out of ten protected areas. The area also boasts of Rivers and Lakes that are shared across borders. It is therefore necessary that the question of oil governance be handled at all levels- local, national and regional.”

AFIEGO has been at the forefront of pushing for proper oil legislation and other reforms in Uganda. Together with partners, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) and Uganda Wild Life Society (UWS), AFIEGO is currently involved in implementing a five-year Ecosystem Alliance Programme (EA) in Buliisa, Hoima and Kasese. The high level conference is a part of the organization’s tireless empowerment efforts in this programme. The programme is funded by the Netherlands government through IUCN NL, WetLands International and Both Ends.

During the high level conference, participants will benefit from presentations by experts on constitutionalism, oil laws, environment, oil development options, civil society experiences from different countries, experiences of oil affected communities amongst other pertinent topics. The experts will discuss with participants and share knowledge on how the ongoing legal, policy and institutional developments in Uganda and the region affect the oil sector. Other invaluable partners in organising this conference include Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas, Global Rights Alert, World Voices Uganda, Ecological Christian Organisation, Centre for Constitutional Governance, Oil Watch Network-Uganda and Publish What You Pay Uganda.

AFIEGO and other partner CSOs in Uganda and beyond have continuously engaged government, parliament, local communities and other stake holders to ensure that Uganda’s oil is used to benefit the citizens- especially the downtrodden and vulnerable communities. These efforts have culminated into the enactment of the upstream and midstream laws and the tabling of the Public Finance Bill 2012 before Parliament. Also, government is currently undertaking reforms in other relevant sectors such as environment, wildlife, fishing and investment policy. Over time, AFIEGO has worked with MPs to prepare reports and analysis on these laws. Earlier this year, AFIEGO carried out research on the extent to which oil companies honour their Corporate Social Responsibility and how this has impacted oil communities. AFIEGO has been a trail blazer in representing indigent aggrieved citizens in court and mobilizing local communities to petition Parliament and government on oil and violation of human and environmental rights. These efforts have greatly influenced the discourse on oil and development in Uganda.
“This conference is an opportunity to extend the conversation beyond Uganda and strengthen links with neighboring countries to ensure that oil benefits all citizens and promote equitable development,” Kamugisha said.

For more information contact:
Dickens Kamugisha
Phone: 256782407085

Patience Akumu
Communications Officer, AFIEGO
Phone: 256712821622