Connect with us

MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK

Breaking: Complaint filed with US NCP against insurance broker Marsh over East African pipeline.

Published

on

By Witness Radio team.

Ugandan, Tanzanian and U.S.-based human rights and environmental groups have lodged a formal complaint alleging that Marsh is violating OECD guidelines for responsible business conduct by serving as insurance broker for the planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). The complainants are calling for Marsh to drop its insurance brokerage role for the EACOP.

Inclusive Development International and 10 human rights and environmental organizations in Uganda and Tanzania, which are remaining anonymous due to fear of reprisals, filed a complaint to the U.S. government today alleging that New York-based insurance giant Marsh, a member of the Marsh McLennan group, violated international guidelines for responsible business conduct by serving as insurance broker for the highly controversial East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). The groups submitted the complaint to the U.S. National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, an office within the U.S. State Department tasked with handling allegations against American companies.

Marsh is the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor. According to its website, it protects and promotes possibility, helping their clients to dream bigger, reach further and plan for the opportunities ahead.

“An insurance broker’s role is often invisible to the public, which allows them to avoid accountability, but Marsh deserves to be scrutinized,” said Coleen Scott, a legal and policy associate at Inclusive Development International. “Marsh is playing a critical role enabling the East African Crude Oil Pipeline to move forward in the face of widespread opposition and overwhelming evidence that the project will be a disaster for Ugandans and for the planet.”

The OECD Guidelines set out principles and standards for responsible business conduct across a range of issues, including human rights and the environment. These standards apply to multinational enterprises with operations or headquarters in OECD countries, including the United States. While the OECD guidelines are non-binding, they are an important and widely accepted international standard for ethical business conduct. The complainants are calling on the U.S. NCP to consider the allegations against Marsh and make recommendations to the insurance broker to bring its conduct in line with these standards. This is the first NCP complaint filed against an insurance broker anywhere in the world.

The complaint alleges that by providing insurance brokerage services, without which the EACOP could not move forward, Marsh is contributing to the serious harm that the project has already or is expected to cause, including, improper land acquisition processes characterized by failure to provide prompt and adequate compensation, intimidation, harassment, threats and arbitrary arrests of community members, environmental and human rights defenders, as well as journalists critical of the project and inadequate consultation with affected communities.

Other damages include; threats to natural resources relied upon by communities, including the risk of oil spills affecting vital freshwater resources such as Lake Victoria, which supports 40 million people, immense and irreversible harm to local ecosystems and habitats along the pipeline’s route, which passes through numerous protected wildlife areas in Uganda and Tanzania and increased carbon emissions that will tip the world closer to climate catastrophe.

Marsh’s failure to conduct adequate human rights and environmental due diligence before engaging on this project, and its ongoing contributions to its harmful impacts, constitute a breach of the company’s responsibilities under the OECD Guidelines, according to the complaint. The complainants are calling on Marsh to bring its operations back into alignment with the OECD Guidelines by withdrawing from its role as broker for the project and committing to abstain from offering brokerage services for the EACOP project in the future. Given the severity of the claims, the complainants suggest that Marsh should at minimum commit immediately to withhold its services until the complaint is resolved.

“Marsh’s website advertises its commitment to sustainability and ‘building a more resilient world’ but the company is actively contributing to a massive and irresponsible fossil fuel project that will have the opposite effect,” said one of the Ugandan complainants, who has chosen to remain anonymous for security reasons. “The EACOP project isn’t just a shortsighted investment in oil as the world is trying to transition to alternative fuels, it is also diverting resources away from renewable energy projects that Ugandans want and threatening natural resources and existing industries that we rely on.”

About EACOP

The EACOP would be the world’s biggest heated oil pipeline, stretching nearly 900 miles (1,443 kilometers) through the heart of East Africa. The project has already caused large-scale displacement of local communities and poses grave risks to protected environments, water sources and wetlands in both Uganda and Tanzania. Those include the Lake Victoria basin; which millions of people rely upon for drinking water and food production. If completed, it would also enable the extraction and transport of enough oil to generate over 34 million tons of CO2 emissions per year at peak production, exacerbating the ongoing climate emergency.

Since its inception, the project has faced opposition from affected communities along the pipeline route and their advocates, as well as the global #StopEACOP campaign that they built. For more on this, visit www.stopeacop.net.

MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK

Appellate Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to hear an Appeal filed by CSOs which seeks to reinstate a petition against the construction of the EACOP project tomorrow.

Published

on

By Witness Radio team.

In a stirring development for environmental and human rights advocacy in East Africa, the Appellate Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) is set to hear an appeal that four East African civil society organizations (CSOs) filed to re-instate the petition challenging the construction of East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

The organizations spearheading this appeal include the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) from Uganda, the Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) also from Uganda, Natural Justice (NJ) based in Kenya, and the Centre for Strategic Litigation (CSL) from Tanzania.

This appeal comes in response to a ruling handed down in November 2023 by the Court of First Instance at the EACJ, which dismissed the case on ground that it was filed out of time.

The pipeline, spanning 1443 kilometers from Uganda to Tanzania, has been met with fierce opposition from many groups and environmental activists all over the world, who argue that it violates key East African and international treaties, as well as laws safeguarding human rights, environmental conservation, biodiversity, and the protection of Lake Victoria.

According to activists, the EACOP project is traversing through sensitive ecosystems, including protected areas and internationally significant wetlands, posing threats to biodiversity and ecosystems that local communities depend on for their sustenance posing grave environmental risks.

Furthermore, the project also termed as a curse by the majority of the would-be beneficiaries due to displacement of thousands of individuals from their ancestral lands, and human rights violations/abuses.

Despite the setback of the initial dismissal, the four organizations pressed forward their pursuit of justice.

In their appeal, groups contend that the Court of First Instance erred in its ruling, and want the Appellate Division to reinstate their case.

Mr. Dickens Kamugisha, the CEO of AFIEGO, expressed that they remain resolute in their pursuit of justice through the East African Court of Justice and other courts.

He further mentions that millions of East Africans have high hopes in the regional court to protect their socio-economic and environmental rights and help them continue advancing their aspirations for climate change mitigation and clean energy.

Mr. Kamugisha added that they maintained hope that the court would prioritize the rights of East Africans over the profit-seeking endeavors of large corporations, even if it came at the expense of people.

According to the Executive Director of Natural Justice, Ms. Farida Aliwa, the EACOP and related projects have already led to serious human rights abuses, including evictions, assaults and environmental destruction

“In the interests of justice, we believe that this case needs to be heard at the East African Court of Justice, as a positive outcome will be good for the East African people and planet. The Court has the power to affirm that the governments, investors, and companies violate both national and international laws and that the EACOP project must be stopped. We trust that the East African Court of Justice will see this, and decide to hear the merits of this case.” She revealed.

The case will be heard tomorrow 9:00 East Africa Standard Time at the Court of Appeal of the East African Court of Justice.

Continue Reading

MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK

PFZW scraps funding from Total and others for failure to transition into a cleaner energy mix.

Published

on

By Witness Radio team.

In a significant move towards aligning its investments with environmental goals, Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW) has announced its decision to disinvest from fossil fuel giants such as Shell and Total.

This decision comes after two years of intensive engagement with fossil fuel companies, during which PFZW sought to encourage the development of climate transition plans in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

PFZW is the pension fund for the care and welfare sector based in the Netherlands. PFZW invests the contributions paid by employers and employees to achieve a high, stable, and responsible return over the long term at an acceptable level of risk. The fund invests globally in the investment categories of variable-yield securities and fixed-income securities. The pension fund had a total of € 217 billion of assets under management at the end of 2022.

According to PFZW, 310 oil and gas companies failed to demonstrate a clear transition to a cleaner energy mix.

Some of the big oil and gas companies that PFZW parted ways with are Total, Shell, and BP among others. These major corporations have frequently faced criticism for investing in fossil fuel projects.

For example, Total, among other projects putting the World climate at risk, is advocating for the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and Tilenga projects in western Uganda. Despite, environmental experts warning of potential environmental damage, Total has persisted in heavily funding these projects.

PFZW’s disinvestment strategy is part of its broader commitment to sustainability and responsible investing. The PFZW fund has sold its stakes in 310 oil and gas companies, totaling 2.8 billion euros, for failure to demonstrate a clear transition to cleaner energy sources.

During this period, dialogue with oil and gas companies was significantly intensified to encourage them to produce verifiable transition plans that support the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Joanne Kellermann, chair of the board of PFZW said that “the intensive shareholder dialogue over the past two years with the oil and gas sector on climate has made it clear to us that most fossil fuel companies are not prepared to adapt their business models to ‘Paris’. While the largest companies in this sector do invest in sustainable forms of energy, the switch from fossil to low carbon is not nearly fast enough. Incidentally, this reflects the slow pace we see globally in the transition to renewable energy.”

According to PFZW, seven listed oil and gas companies with a compelling climate transition strategy will remain part of the portfolio. This contributes to the goal of investing more in companies that play a positive role in the global energy transition.

Despite parting ways with numerous fossil fuel companies, PFZW will continue to invest in seven oil and gas companies that have demonstrated a commitment to transitioning towards renewable energy sources. These companies, including Cosan S.A., Galp Energia, and Neste Oyj, are regarded as frontrunners in the energy sector due to their efforts to reduce carbon emissions and invest in low-carbon technologies.

“The seven companies we will continue to invest in are the only ones that show a switch is possible. At the same time, it is disappointing that there are only seven. We encourage the biggest players in the oil and gas sector to also accelerate the switch to a cleaner energy mix.” She revealed.

Furthermore, to significantly increase its investments in companies focused on improving the climate and energy transition, allocating two billion euros over the next two years to companies with measurable impacts on climate and the energy transition reflecting PFZW’s dedication to achieving a climate-neutral investment portfolio by 2050, with interim goals such as a 50% absolute carbon reduction by 2030 for equities, liquid credit, and real estate.

Continue Reading

MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK

Museveni grants avocado growing investor 5 square miles of refugee camp land

Published

on

President Museveni has granted investors permission to use part of the land, where Kyaaka One and Kyaaka Two refugee camps sit, for avocado growing.

Museveni, in his letter dated January 30, 2024, directed the minister of relief, disaster preparedness and refugees, Hon. Hillary Onek, to secure 10 square miles of land (2,600 hectares) off the two refugee camps of Kyaaka one and Kyaaka two.

The president says half of the land will go to avocado-growing investors, while the other half will be used to develop an industrial part in the area.

“One purpose is for an Investor to use 5 Square Miles and develop a plantation of Avocadoes, with value addition facilities for the Avocadoes being part of the package. Avocado oil is important for use in the manufacturing of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The other square miles will be used to develop an industrial Park for that area,” the letter reads in part.

Museveni says the industrial park and avocado plantation will create approximately 200,000 jobs for Ugandans.

“An industrial Park in that area would create a lot of jobs, and so would a big plantation of avocadoes, apart from the other benefits for the Country. Namanve Industrial Park will create 200,000 jobs when it is fully developed,” the letter adds.

Museveni also noted that he had been informed that part of the land was invaded by land grabbers and promised to visit the area in April 2024, directing that the 10 square miles be secured from the available land.

“I intend to come and meet those people who invaded a well known Government land in April 2024. In the meantime, I want the 10 Square Miles from the surviving Refugee Camp of Kyaaka. That is the size of 11 Square Miles“, he said.

He says the industrial Parks would give Uganda the tax money to support both the citizens and the Refugees.

Original Source: Chimp reports  Via farmlandgrab.org

Continue Reading

Resource Center

Legal Framework

READ BY CATEGORY

Facebook

Newsletter

Subscribe to Witness Radio's newsletter



Trending

Subscribe to Witness Radio's newsletter