"PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT, PEOPLE AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN UGANDA: Legislating for sustainable exploitation of Uganda's Petroleum resources"
In 2017, the World Bank referred to Uganda as the hottest inland exploration frontier in the world and the country to watch in the oil and gas space. This assessment was premised on the 2006 oil and gas discoveries in the Albertine Graben. Over the last decade, Uganda's oil sector has transitioned from the exploration and appraisal phase to the development phase in preparation for production.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has developed the relevant policies, and Parliament has enacted the required legislations to operationalize the policies. The Front End and Engineering Designs for a number of infrastructural developments required for oil production and transportation are in advanced stages. One of the key infrastructure developments is the 1,445 Km long East African Crude Oil Pipeline which will run from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga port in Tanzania. Other infrastructure includes the Central Processing Facilities in Hoima and Kikuube, and International Airport, Feeder Pipelines and a proposed refinery among others.
Notwithstanding the fact that the government has put in place sector related policies, legislation and institutional frameworks, oil development in other jurisdictions has demonstrated that if not well managed, it may lead to adverse impacts on the economy, people and nature. In a democratic dispensation where parliament is the representative Arm of Government, the social contract between the citizens and their Members of Parliament (MPs) enjoins the MPs to speak out and act in defense of the people, their livelihoods and the environment. The oil and gas sector is at that stage where MPs should be positioned to pay this watch dog role in Uganda's petroleum sector, least they will respond when it is too late.
Rationale for the Symposium and Training
The constitution of the Uganda provides that parliament shall have power to make laws on any matter for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda. For parliamentarians to be able to executive this mandate, especially for the oil and gas sector, they ought to have adequate knowledge on how the sector operates, the benefits it presents and potential threats it poses. Members of Parliament must also be equipped with up-to-date information on the developments in the sector, through periodic updates by the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies. It is only then that MPs can ably fulfill both their legislative and oversight role over the petroleum sector.
It is against this background that the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas (PFOG), in collaboration with the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas (CSCO) are convening a Parliamentary Symposium and Training on Petroleum Developments, People and Biodiversity Conservation in Uganda.
Objectives of the Symposium and Training
→ Sharing emerging issues and concerns in governance of the oil and gas sector that may require legislative interventions and parliamentary oversight
→ Generate specific recommendations on how Parliament can play a more effective role (legislative oversight and representation) in the oil and gas sector
→ Generate a joint communique that will shared with the public.