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 has a net positive impact. This requires that all relevant sectors work together to develop solutions and that generate positive social and ecological impacts, while mitigating both immediate and cumulative unintended negative impacts.
The discovery of oil in the Albertine Rift of Western Uganda has brought both great opportunities and threats to this region. Commercially viable oil and gas deposits were discovered in Western Uganda in 2006. Infrastructure to support the oil and gas sector e.g. the road network, well pads, central processing facilities, the refinery, pipelines, and an international airport have the potential to put immense pressure on the ecosystem. Additionally, population growth fueled by migration will increase pressure on the natural resource base, which may lead to agricultural expansion and deforestation. Oil development and a rapidly growing population often cause social disruptions that include land grabbing, competition for housing, and an overburdening of the social services system.
On May 22-24, 2018, the Uganda Biodiversity Fund (UBF), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and USAID/Uganda convened a multi-sectoral workshop in Hoima, Western Uganda. Over 60 stakeholders from the Government of Uganda, civil society, international NGOs, and the donor community came together for three days to discuss the way forward on developing a multi-sectoral process that creates a win-win scenario for both socio-economic development and the natural world.
- Develop a multi-sectoral “road-map” for helping the Government of Uganda and the private sector to generate win-win outcomes, and mitigate potential negative socio-economic and ecological impacts of economic development in Western Uganda
- Launch a collaborative process that both encourages and enables cross-sectoral communication to seek synergies and mutually beneficial outcomes, and ensure that desired outcomes in one sector do not result in unexpected and undesired outcomes in others