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Development banks have no business financing agribusiness



On the eve of an annual gathering of public development banks in Rome, 280 groups from 70 countries have signed a letter slamming them for bankrolling the expansion of industrial agriculture, environmental destruction and corporate control of the food system. The signatories affirm only fully public and accountable funding mechanisms based on people’s actual needs can achieve real solutions to the global food crisis.

Over 450 Public Development Banks (PDBs) from around the world are gathering in Rome from 19 to 20 October 2021 for a second international summit, dubbed Finance in Common. During the first summit in Paris in 2020, over 80 civil-society organizations published a joint statement demanding that the PDBs stop funding agribusiness companies and projects that take land and natural resources away from local communities. This year, however, PDBs have made agriculture and agribusiness the priority of their second summit. This is of serious concern for the undersigned groups as PDBs have a long track-record of making investments in agriculture that benefit private interests and agribusiness corporations at the expense of farmers, herders, fishers, food workers and Indigenous Peoples, undermining their food sovereignty, ecosystems and human rights.

Our concerns

PDBs are public institutions established by national governments or multilateral agencies to finance government programs and private companies whose activities are said to contribute to the improvement of people’s lives in the places where they operate, particularly in the Global South. Many multilateral development banks, a significant sub-group of PDBs, also provide technical and policy advice to governments to change their laws and policies to attract foreign investment.

As public institutions, PDBs are bound to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and are supposed to be accountable to the public for their actions. Today, development banks collectively spend over US$2 trillion a year financing public and private companies to build roads, power plants, factory farms, agribusiness plantations and more in the name of “development” – an estimated US$1.4 trillion goes into the sole agriculture and food sector. Their financing of private companies, whether through debt or the purchase of shares, is supposed to be done for a profit, but much of their spending is backed and financed by the public – by people’s labor and taxes.

The number of PDBs and the funding they receive is growing.The reach of these banks is also growing as they are increasingly channeling public funds through private equity, “green finance” and other financial schemes to deliver the intended solutions instead of more traditional support to government programs or non-profit projects. Money from a development bank provides a sort of guarantee for companies expanding into so-called high-risk countries or industries. These guarantees enable companies to raise more funds from private lenders or other development banks, often at favorable rates. Development banks thus play a critical role in enabling multinational corporations to expand further into markets and territories around the world – from gold mines in Armenia, to controversial hydroelectric dams in Colombia, to disastrous natural gas projects in Mozambique – in ways they could not do otherwise.

Additionally, many multilateral development banks work to explicitly shape national level law and policy through their technical advice to governments and ranking systems such as the Enabling the Business of Agriculture of the World Bank. The policies they support in key sectors — including health, water, education, energy, food security and agriculture — tend to advance the role of big corporations and elites. And when affected local communities, including Indigenous Peoples and small farmers protest, they are often not heard or face reprisals. For example, in India, the World Bank advised the government to deregulate the agricultural marketing system, and when the government implemented this advice without consulting with farmers and their organisations, it led to massive protests.

Public Development Banks claim that they only invest in “sustainable” and “responsible” companies and that their involvement improves corporate behavior. But these banks have a heavy legacy of investing in companies involved in land grabbing, corruption, violence, environmental destruction and other severe human rights violations, from which they have escaped any meaningful accountability. The increasing reliance of development banks on offshore private equity funds and complex investment webs, including so called financial intermediaries, to channel their investments makes accountability even more evasive and enables a small and powerful financial elite to capture the benefits.

It is alarming that Public Development Banks are now taking on more of a coordinated and central role when it comes to food and agriculture. They are a part of the global financial architecture that is driving dispossession and ecological destruction, much of which is caused by agribusiness. Over the years, their investment in agriculture has almost exclusively gone to companies engaged in monoculture plantations, contract growing schemes, animal factory farms, sales of hybrid and genetically modified seeds and pesticides, and digital agriculture platforms dominated by Big Tech. They have shown zero interest in or capacity to invest in the farm, fisher and forest communities that currently produce the majority of the world’s food. Instead, they are bankrolling land grabbers and corporate agribusinesses and destroying local food systems.

Painful examples

Important examples of the pattern we see Public Development Banks engaging in:

  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank have provided generous financing to the agribusiness companies of some of Ukraine’s richest oligarchs, who control hundreds of thousands of hectares of land.

  • SOCFIN of Luxembourg and SIAT of Belgium, the two largest oil palm and rubber plantation owners in Africa, have received numerous financial loans from development banks, despite their subsidiaries being mired in land grabbing, corruption scandals and human rights violations.

  • Multiple development banks (including Swedfund, BIO, FMO and the DEG) financed the failed sugarcane plantation of Addax Bioenergy in Sierra Leone that has left a trail of devastation for local communities after the company’s exit.

  • The UK’s CDC Group and other European development banks (including BIO, DEG, FMO and Proparco) poured over $150 million into the now bankrupt Feronia Inc’s oil palm plantations in the DR Congo, despite long-standing conflicts with local communities over land and working conditions, allegations of corruption and serious human rights violations against villagers.

  • The United Nations’ Common Fund for Commodities invested in Agilis Partners, a US-owned company, which is involved in the violent eviction of thousands of villagers in Uganda for a large-scale grain farm.

  • Norfund and Finnfund own Green Resources, a Norwegian forestry company planting pine trees in Uganda on land taken from thousands of local farmers, with devastating effects on their livelihoods.

  • The Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the African Development Bank invested in a railway and port infrastructure project to enable Mitsui of Japan and Vale of Brazil to export coal from their mining operations in northern Mozambique. The project, connected to the controversial ProSavana agribusiness project, has led to land grabbing, forced relocations, fatal accidents and the detention and torture of project opponents.

  • The China Development Bank financed the ecologically and socially disastrous Gibe III dam in Ethiopia. Designed for electricity generation and to irrigate large-scale sugar, cotton and palm oil plantations such as the gargantuan Kuraz Sugar Development Project, it has cut off the river flow that the indigenous people of the Lower Omo Valley relied on for flood retreat agriculture.

  • In Nicaragua, FMO and Finnfund financed MLR Forestal, a company managing cocoa and teak plantations, which is controlled by gold mining interests responsible for displacement of Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities and environmental degradation.

  • The International Finance Corporation and the Inter-American Development Bank Invest have recently approved loans to Pronaca, Ecuador’s 4th largest corporation, to expand intensive pig and poultry production despite opposition from international and Ecuadorian groups, including local indigenous communities whose water and lands have been polluted by the company’s expansive operations.

  • The Inter-American Development Bank Invest is considering a new $43 million loan for Marfrig Global Foods, the world’s 2nd largest beef company, under the guise of promoting “sustainable beef.” Numerous reports have found Marfrig’s supply chain directly linked to illegal deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado and human rights violations. The company has also faced corruption charges. A global campaign is now calling for PDBs to immediately divest from all industrial livestock operations.

We need better mechanisms to build food sovereignty

Governments and multilateral agencies are finally beginning to acknowledge that today’s global food system has failed to address hunger and is a key driver of multiple crises, from pandemics to biodiversity collapse to the climate emergency. But they are doing nothing to challenge the corporations who dominate the industrial food system and its model of production, trade and consumption. To the contrary, they are pushing for more corporate investment, more public private partnerships and more handouts to agribusiness.

This year’s summit of the development banks was deliberately chosen to follow on the heels of the UN Food Systems Summit. It was advertised as a global forum to find solutions to problems afflicting the global food system but was hijacked by corporate interests and became little more than a space for corporate greenwashing and showcasing industrial agriculture. The event was protested and boycotted by social movements and civil society, including through the Global People´s Summit and the Autonomous People´s response to the UN Food Systems Summit, as well as by academics from across the world.

The Finance in Common summit, with its focus on agriculture and agribusiness, will follow the same script. Financiers overseeing our public funds and mandates will gather with elites and corporate representatives to strategize on how to keep the money flowing into a model of food and agriculture that is leading to climate breakdown, increasing poverty and exacerbating all forms of malnutrition. Few if any representatives from the communities affected by the investments of the development banks, people who are on the frontlines trying to produce food for their communities, will be invited in or listened to. PDBs are not interested. They seek to fund agribusinesses, which produce commodities for trade and financial schemes for profits rather than food for nutrition.

Last year, a large coalition of civil-society organizations made a huge effort just to get the development banks to agree to commit to a human rights approach and community-led development. The result was only some limited language in the final declaration, which has not been translated into action.

We do not want any more of our public money, public mandates and public resources to be wasted on agribusiness companies that take land, natural resources and livelihoods away from local communities. Therefore:

We call for an immediate end to the financing of corporate agribusiness operations and speculative investments by public development banks.

We call for the creation of fully public and accountable funding mechanisms that support peoples’ efforts to build food sovereignty, realize the human right to food, protect and restore ecosystems, and address the climate emergency.

We call for the implementation of strong and effective mechanisms that provide communities with access to justice in case of adverse human rights impacts or social and environmental damages caused by PDB investments.


Fundación Plurales – Argentina

Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN) – Argentina

Foro Ambiental Santiagueño – Argentina

Armenian Women For Health &Healthy Environment NGO /AWHHE/ – Armenia

Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance – Australia

SunGem – Australia

Welthaus Diözese Graz-Seckau – Austria

Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights – Austria

FIAN Austria – Austria

Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Organization Public Union – Azerbaijan

Initiative for Right View – Bangladesh

Right to Food South Asia – Bangladesh

IRV – Bangladesh

Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation [BAFLF] – Bangladesh

NGO “Ecohome” – Belarus

Eclosio – Belgium

AEFJN – Belgium

FIAN Belgium – Belgium

Entraide et Fraternité – Belgium

Africa Europe Faith & Justice Network (AEFJN) – Belgium

Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements – Belgium

Eurodad – Belgium

Friends of the Earth Europe – Belgium

Alianza Animalista La Paz – Bolivia

Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (Inesc) – Brazil

Centro Ecologico – Brazil

FAOR Fórum da Amazônia Oriental – Brazil

Articulação Agro é Fogo – Brazil

Campanha Nacional de Combate e Prevenção ao Trabalho Escravo – Comissão Pastoral da Terra/CPT – Brazil

Clínica de Direitos Humanos da Amazônia -PPGD/UFPA – Brazil

Universidade Federal Fluminense IPsi – Brazil

Associação Brasileira de Reforma Agrária – Brazil

Rede Jubileu Sul Brasil – Brazil

Alternativas para pequena agricultura no Tocantins APATO – Brazil

CAPINA Cooperação e Apoio a Projetos de Inspiração Alternativa – Brazil

Marcha Mundial por Justiça Climática / Marcha Mundial do Clima – Brazil

MNCCD – Movimento Nacional Contra Corrupção e pela Democracia – Brazil

Marcha Mundial por Justiça Climática/Marcha Mundial do Clima – Brazil

Support Group for Indigenous Youth – Brazil

Comissão Pastoral da Terra -CPT – Brazil

Equitable Cambodia – Cambodia

Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community – Cambodia

Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE) – Cameroon

Synaparcam – Cameroon


Inter Pares – Canada

Vigilance OGM – Canada

National Farmers Union – Canada

SeedChange – Canada

Place de la Dignité – Canada

Corporación para la Protección y Desarrollo de Territorios Rurales- PRODETER – Colombia

Grupo Semillas – Colombia

Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives (GRPIE) – Côte d’Ivoire

Réseau des Femmes Braves (REFEB) – Côte d’Ivoire

CLDA – Côte d’Ivoire

Counter Balance – Czech Republic

AfrosRD – Dominican Republic

Conseil Régional des Organisations Non gouvernementales de Développement – DR Congo

Construisons Ensemble le MONDE – DR Congo

Synergie Agir Contre la Faim et le Réchauffement Climatique , SACFRC. – DR Congo


AICED – DR Congo

Réseaux d’informations et d’appui aux ONG en République Démocratique du Congo ( RIAO – RDC) – DR Congo

Latinoamérica Sustentable – Ecuador

Housing and Land Rights Network – Habitat International Coalition – Egypt

Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO) – Fiji

Internationale Situationniste – France

Pouvoir d’Agir – France

Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF) – France

Amis de la Terre France – France

Médias Sociaux pour un Autre Monde – France

ReAct Transnational – France

CCFD-Terre Solidaire – France

CADTM France – France

Coordination SUD – France

Движение Зеленных Грузии – Georgia


StrongGogo – Georgia

FIAN Deutschland – Germany

Rettet den Regenwald – Germany

Angela Jost Translations – Germany

urgewald e.V. – Germany

Abibinsroma Foundation – Ghana

Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities – Ghana

Organización de Mujeres Tierra Viva – Guatemala

Campaña Guatemala sin hambre – Guatemala

PAPDA – Haïti

Centre de Recherche et d’Action pour le Developpement (CRAD) – Haiti

Ambiente, Desarrollo y Capacitación (ADC ) – Honduras

Rashtriya Raithu Seva Samithi – India

All India Union of Forest Working People AIUFWP – India

Centre for Financial Accountability – India

People First – India

Environics Trust – India

ToxicsWatch Alliance – India

Food Sovereignty Alliance – India

Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ) – Indonesia

kruha – Indonesia

Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) – Indonesia

JPIC Kalimantan – Indonesia

تانيا جمعه /منظمه شؤون المراه والطفل – Iraq

ICW-CIF – Italy

PEAH – Policies for Equitable Access to Health – Italy

Focsiv Italian federation christian NGOs – Italy

Schola Campesina APS – Italy

Casa Congo- Italy

ReCommon – Italy

Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) – Japan

Team OKADA – Japan

taneomamorukai – Japan

VoiceForAnimalsJapan – Japan

Keisen University – Japan

000 PAF NPO – Japan

Missionary Society of Saint Columban, Japan – Japan

Migrants around 60 – Japan

Mura-Machi Net (Network between Villages and Towns) – Japan

Japan Family Farmers Movement (Nouminren) – Japan

Pacific Asia Resorce Center(PARC) – Japan

A Quater Acre Farm-Jinendo – Japan

Friends of the Earth Japan – Japan

Alternative People’s Linkage in Asia (APLA) – Japan

Mekong Watch – Japan

Family Farming Platform Japan – Japan

Africa Japan Forum – Japan

ATTAC Kansai – Japan

ATTAC Japan – Japan

Association of Western Japan Agroecology (AWJA) – Japan

Mennovillage Naganuma – Japan

Phenix Center – Jordan

Mazingira Institute – Kenya

Dan Owala – Kenya

Jamaa Resource Initiatives – Kenya

Kenya Debt Abolition Network – Kenya

Haki Nawiri Afrika – Kenya

Euphrates Institute-Liberia – Liberia

Green Advocates International (Liberia) – Liberia

Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) – Liberia

Alliance for Rural Democracy (ARD) – Liberia

Frères des Hommes – Luxembourg

SOS FAIM – Luxembourg

Collectif pour la défense des terres malgaches – TANY – Madagascar

Third World Network – Malaysia

Appui Solidaire pour le Développement de l’Aide au Développement – Mali

Réseau CADTM Afrique – Mali

Lalo – Mexico

Tosepanpajt A.C – Mexico

Maya sin Fronteras – Mexico

Centro de Educación en Apoyo a la Producción y al Medio Ambiente, A.C. – Mexico

Mujeres Libres COLEM AC – México

Grupo de Mujeres de San Cristóbal Las Casas AC – México

Colectivo Educación para la Paaz y los Derechos Humanos A.C. (CEPAZDH) – México

Red Nacional de Promotoras Rurales – México

Dinamismo Juvenil A.C – México

Cultura Ambiental en Expansión AC – México

Observatorio Universitario de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional del Estado de Guanajuato – México

Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación y Desarrollo Alternativo U Yich Lu’um AC – México

The Hunger Project México – México

Americas Program/Americas.Org – México

Association Talassemtane pour l’Environnement et Développement (ATED) – Morocco

Espace de Solidarité et de Coopération de l’Oriental – Morocco

LVC Maroc – Morocco

EJNA – Morocco

NAFSN – Morocco

Fédération nationale du secteur agricole – Morocco

Association jeunes pour jeunes – Morocco

Plataforma Mocambicana da Mulher e Rapariga Cooperativistas/AMPCM – MOZAMBIQUE – Mozambique

Justica Ambiental – JA! – Mozambique

Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ) – Nepal

WILPF NL – Netherlands

Milieudefensie – Netherlands

Platform Aarde Boer Consument – Netherlands

Both ENDS – Netherlands

Foundation for the Conservation of the Earth,FOCONE – Nigeria

Lekeh Development Foundation (LEDEF) – Nigeria

Nigeria Coal Network – Nigeria

Spire – Norway

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum – Pakistan

Gaza Urban Agriculture Platform (GUPAP) – Palestine

Union of Agricultural Work Committees – Palestine

WomanHealth Philippines – Philippines

Agroecology X – Philippines

SEARICE – Philippines

Alter Trade Foundation for Food Sovereignty, Inc – Philippines

Association pour la défense des droits à l’eau et à l’assainissement – Sénégal

Biotech Services Sénégal – Sénégal

Association Sénégalaise des Amis de la Nature – Sénégal

Alliance Sénégalaise Contre la Faim et la Malnutrition – Sénégal

Association Sénégalaise des Amis de la Nature – Sénégal

Alliance Sénégalaise Contre la Faim et la Malnutrition – Sénégal

Green Scenery – Sierra Leone

Land for Life – Sierra Leone

JendaGbeni Centre for Social Change Communications – Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Land Alliance – Sierra Leone

African Centre for Biodiversity – South Africa

African Children Empowerment – South Africa

Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre – South Africa

Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers and Residents Association – South Africa

Consciously Organic – South Africa

Wana Johnson Learning Centre – South Africa

Aha Properties – South Africa

Sacred Earth & Storm School – South Africa

Earth Magic – South Africa

Oasis – South Africa

Envirosense – South Africa

Greenstuff – South Africa

WoMin African Alliance – South Africa

Seonae Eco Centre – South Africa

Eco Hope – South Africa

Kos en Fynbos – South Africa

Ghostwriter Grant – South Africa

Mariann Coordinating Committee – South Africa

Khanyisa Education and Development Trust – South Africa

LAMOSA – South Africa

Ferndale Food Forest and Worm Farm – South Africa

Mxumbu Youth Agricultural Coop – South Africa

PHA Food & Farming Campaign – South Africa

SOLdePAZ.Pachakuti – Spain

Amigos de la Tierra – Spain

Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores/AS – Spain

Salva la Selva – Spain

Loco Matrifoco – Spain

National Fisheries Solidarity(NAFSO) – Sri Lanka

Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) – Sri Lanka

Agr. Graduates Cooperatives Union – Sudan

FIAN Sweden – Sweden

FIAN Suisse – Switzerland

Bread for all – Switzerland

Foundation for Environmental Management and Campaign Against Poverty – Tanzania

World Animal Protection – Thailand

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact – Thailand

PERMATIL – Timor-Leste

Afrique Eco 2100 – Togo

AJECC – Togo

ATGF – Tunisia

Forum Tunisien des Droits Economiques et Sociaux – Tunisia

Agora Association – Turkey

Uganda Land Rights Defenders – Uganda

Hopes for youth development Association – Uganda

Uganda Consortium on Corporate Accountability – Uganda

Centre for Citizens Conserving Environment &Management (CECIC) – Uganda

Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO)) – Uganda

Twerwaneho Listeners Club – Uganda

Alliance for Food Soverignity in Africa – Uganda

Global Justice Now – UK

Friends of the Earth International – UK

Compassion in World Farming – UK

Environmental Justice Foundation – UK

Fresh Eyes – UK

War on Want – UK

Friends of the Earth US – US

A Growing Culture – US

Center for Political Innovation – US

GMO/Toxin Free USA – US

Friends of the Earth US – US

Thousand Currents – US

Local Futures – US

National Family Farm Coalition – US

Community Alliance for Global Justice/AGRA Watch – US

Bank Information Center – US

Seeding Sovereignty – US

Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights – Yemen

Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity – Zambia

Zambian Governance Foundation for Civil Society – Zambia

Urban Farming Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe

Centre for Alternative Development – Zimbabwe

FACHIG Trust – Zimbabwe

Red Latinoamericana por Justicia Económica y Social – Latindadd – América Latina

European Coordination Via Campesina – Europe

Arab Watch Coalition – Middle East and North Africa

FIAN International – International

International Alliance of Inhabitants – International

Society for International Development – International

ActionAid International – International

International Accountability Project – International

Habitat International Coalition – General Secretariat – International

CIDSE – International

ESCR-Net – International

World Rainforest Movement – International

Transnational Institute – International

GRAIN – International

Original Source:

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EACOP Was Anchored On Disinformation, Persons Affected By Pipeline Declare



At least 30 persons affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in Uganda and Tanzania have resorted to pushing beyond compensation for losses incurred in the project’s initial stages.

The EACOP Project Affected Persons (PAPs) from Uganda and Tanzania grassroots met for the first time at a three-day conference in Nairobi, where experiences and lessons learnt were shared. They were also joined by participants from Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Gambia, who shared their experiences with fossil fuels, especially in Niger Delta.

Both the Ugandan and Tanzanian PAPs, some of them faith leaders, complained of misinformation, disinformation by the project’s proponents’ agents, intimidation, bribery, forced land possession, coercion to accept government terms for land acquired and unfair subsequent compensation for the property lost. The PAPs also complained of intentional classification of primary PAPs as secondary to reduce the compensation due them.

“During the social Impact Assessment, a lot of clans, especially the Bagungu, were given volumes of literature to read within two weeks, then decide to relinquish their property. But we could not make head or tail of the documents. Those who signed them were not left with copies,” said Jealusy Mugisha, a religious leader and PAP from Uganda’s Hoima District.

His sentiments were echoed by Swalleh Nkungu from Tanzania, who added: “Information scarcity played a huge role in enabling EACOP. We are knowledgeable enough to tell that the project is harmful, but a lot of secret planning went into this project before it was made public. Some people acting as CSOs also came to the grassroots and intentionally shared false and misleading information to boost EACOP acceptance”.

The participants, including those from Laudato Si Movement and youth in Kenya, were grateful for the event dubbed “Experience sharing meeting for grassroots persons affected by EACOP in Uganda and Tanzania”.

TotalEnergies holds 62 per cent stake of EACOP. Others stakeholders in the would-be world’s longest heated pipeline expected to cover 1,443km from Northern Uganda to Tanzania’s Tanga Port are Ugandan National Oil Company (15 per cent), Tanzania National Oil Company (15 per cent) and Chinese National Offshore Oil Company at 8 per cent.

Pastor Mugisha said: “I declined to receive money in exchange for my land and instead demanded to be relocated. This made the Uganda government to mark me and others, claiming we were sabotaging its project,” he said.

“Is it wrong for me to demand justice over my damaged home? Once I was chained and harassed at the Entebbe airport when I returned from France where I had attended a hearing about rights of PAPs. After release they kept sending my friends to tell me to be silent about EACOP. I became louder on it, even at funerals”.

Several other participants at the event organised by GreenFaith Africa spoke of bribery for people opposed to the EACOP to change their minds. “My father was very decisive when EACOP started, but he later caved in to pressure. We lost acres of land. What this means to women and children is helplessness, less food and loss of sources of living. But we can still act because EACOP is evil,” said Mwajuma Tunu from Tanzania.

Kamili Fabiano from Tanzania said: “It is no longer about compensation; it is now about climate justice. We need a conducive environment to farm and take care of our current and future generations”.

Julius Caesar, a faith leader from Uganda, urged the affected persons to act fast. “Staying near the anthill turned the antelope brown. Anyone lying to you in broad daylight is capable of deceiving you more in the dark. The disinformation was to divide us and keep us in the dark,” he said.

Mugisha said currently the EACOP’s Central Processing Facility for the oil was a key polluter through dust. “Multiple letters were written to TotalEnergies regarding this, but nothing much has happened. I fear for our water sources.”

The conference that ended yesterday also featured Baraka Lenga, an anti-EACOP activist from Tanzania, and a grassroots organizer for GreenFaith. “For people of faith, water is central to life in many ways. The pipeline is a threat to over 200 precious water sources that support our livelihoods and biodiversity. This is an attack on the very foundations of our spirituality,” he said.

Baraka outlined the projected pollutant emissions, should the project start, as millions of tonnes of carbon, adding that it would worsen the climate crisis. “The roads constructed in the Murchison National Park to enable easy transportation of oil is the reason cases of human/wildlife conflict have gone up. This also affects food security”.

Maxwell Atuhura of Uganda said not only were oil and gas firms from developed nations targeting Africa. “They are more likely to be successful where dictatorship seems to work.”

He urged participants to study Kenya and Nigeria cases. “I’m inspired by how Kenya fought the Lamu coal project. They knew they had a UNESCO-recognised heritage to protect. They defended their indigenous identity, even coming up with policies around it. East Africa can have such an identity,” he said, giving an example of powers that the EU Parliament wields. “Europe respects decisions made at the EU parliament. We can use the East African Legislative Assembly the same way; with binding laws for East Africa. Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are, for instance, joined by Lake Victoria. An East African law protecting the lake basin can be great.”

Pius Oko, a Lift Humanity Foundation leader, narrated Nigerians’ experiences with oil. “Oil drilling in Niger Delta started in 1950s, but people are poorest there. Residents eat oil contaminated fish and cassava. Water bodies are filled with oil. Land is filled with oil, making farming untenable. The atmosphere is filled with suit. People inhale a lot of dirt. Diseases are more rampant in the Niger Delta. Life expectancy has gone below 50 years. EACOP will benefit a few rich people. The rest will suffer like those in the Niger Delta,” he said, sharing images of women and children scooping oil from ditches, fire, gas flaring and fish laced with oil, but which many consumed for lack of alternatives.

Early this year Uganda and Tanzania cabinets approved EACOP construction license. The project continues to face opposition, including from grassroots people.

Last year the EU Parliament pointed out human rights abuse in EACOP. In addition, 25 multinational financial institutions have either disassociated themselves from EACOP or vowed not to loan it for the $5 billion dollar project that still needs over $2 billion loan to be financially secure.

At the end of the Nairobi conference, Meryne Warah, the GreenFaith’s Global Director for Advocacy, urged the PAPs to remain focused in their quest for justice guided by their beliefs and values. “From participants’ sentiments since the beginning of this conference, it is clear that the governments of Uganda and Tanzania did not listen to project affected persons. However, despite all the atrocities committed, we need each other. We need to stand together as one, encouraged by our faiths teachings.

She said the meeting gave the persons affected by EACOP and Tilenga an opportunity to share their experiences about the various adverse effects of the pipeline, as well as build resilience towards effective continued campaigning against the EACOP.


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Press statement: CSOs call on NEMA to disclose Bugoma forest restoration plan





Today, as various actors across the globe mark World Environment Day (WED), the Save Bugoma Forest Campaign (SBFC) has written to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) requesting that the authority avails the SBFC and general public with a copy of the approved restoration plan for Bugoma Central Forest Reserve (CFR), which is found in Kikuube district in Western Uganda.

The SBFC consists of the forest host communities, civil society and private sector entities whose main objective is to defend Bugoma CFR from land grabbing, sugarcane growing and oil threats.

The SBFC is also calling on NEMA and the National Forestry Authority (NFA) to ensure that Hoima Sugar Limited (HSL) halts all its destructive activities in Bugoma CFR and restores the forest.


Despite protestations from NFA, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Kikuube District Local

Government (KDLG), civil society and the general public, NEMA authorised HSL’s activities in Bugoma forest in August 2020.

The authority illegally and irregularly issued an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of approval allowing HSL to do the following in Bugoma forest:

  • Set up a sugarcane plantation on 9.24sq. miles;
  • Develop an urban centre on 1.206 sq. miles;
  • Set up an ecotourism site on 1.97 sq. miles;
  • Land for a cultural site covering 0.156 sq. miles; and
  • Leave a natural forested area and set up nature trails on 6.17 sq. miles.

While NEMA allowed HSL to grow sugarcane in some parts of Bugoma forest, reports by the SBFC in January 2021 and investigations by NEMA in September 2022 showed that the company had grown sugarcane in the area reserved for ecotourism purposes. The area reserved for natural forested purposes was also degraded.

In September 2022, NEMA acknowledged that HSL had violated condition 4.3 (i)(c) contained in the company’s ESIA certificate of approval. NEMA therefore exercised her powers under section 129 of the National Environment Act, 2019 and among others, directed as follows:

  • That HSL immediately stops any further destruction of the natural reserved forest area, eco-tourism area, cultural site and the land reserved for an urban centre;
  • That no sugarcane is planted in the above-mentioned areas;
  • That no urban centre is developed;
  • That HSL restores all the degraded areas of the natural reserved forest area, ecotourism area, cultural area and land reserved for an urban centre at its own cost; and
  • That Hoima Sugar prepares a restoration plan for the degraded areas of Bugoma forest in consultation with the Forestry Sector Support Department of the Ministry of Water and Environment (FSSD), NFA and UWA and submits the same to NEMA for approval within a period of not more than three months from the date of the aforementioned order. “Over eight months have elapsed since NEMA ordered Hoima Sugar to submit a restoration plan. While the forest host communities and the public are highly interested in the restoration of Bugoma forest, NEMA has not publicly shared the restoration plan that Hoima Sugar submitted to the authority, if any was,” Mr. Dickens Kamugisha, the chairperson of the SBFC, says.

He adds, “NEMA must build goodwill and show that it is interested in promoting public participation in forest conservation by publicly disclosing the restoration order. The forest must also be restored and all destructive activities by Hoima Sugar Ltd stopped.”

Mr. Hassan Mugenyi, the chairperson of the SBFC local taskforce adds, “We do not know if any restoration plan for Bugoma exists. If it does, we were not consulted on it yet as people who have lived near Bugoma forest for a long time and have enjoyed benefits from the forest, we are interested in conservation of the forest. We can also share information to inform restoration of the forest.”

Ms. Lamla Asasira who lives near Bugoma forest says, “Women are very unhappy that Bugoma forest from which we used to get free herbs and which brought us rain is being destroyed. We are worried that if the forest is not restored and the destruction by Hoima Sugar continues, government will not be able to stop other encroachers and the entire forest will be destroyed.”


 Research conducted by the Inclusive Green Economy Network, East Africa (IGEN-EA) to determine the tourism potential of Bugoma forest, showed that the forest has immense potential. The research found the following:

  • That Bugoma forest is home to tourist attractions including 570 or 11.4% of Uganda’s chimpanzees, 225 bird species, the Uganda Mangabey, bush elephants and others.
  • That entities such as Jane Goodall Institute were engaged in habituation of chimpanzees and the Ugandan Mangabey to make them ready for trekking (tourist visits). The habituation of chimpanzees was expected to be completed early in 2023.
  • Further, that tourist activities such as chimpanzee and Uganda Mangabey trekking, forest walks, tree climbing and others could be promoted in the forest.
  • In addition, that if the above activities were promoted, Bugoma forest could earn the country more than half a million dollars a year.
  • Over 90% of tour operators who participated in the study were willing to sell tourism experiences within Bugoma forest.


To save Bugoma forest, the SBFC recommends the following:

  1. NEMA should publicly share a copy of the approved restoration plan for Bugoma forest by HSL.
  2. The ongoing destruction of Bugoma forest should be immediately stopped.
  3. The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD) should make public the boundary opening report of Bugoma forest. The ministry opened the forest boundaries in 2021 and 2022.
  4. The Ugandan government should ensure that the conservation of Bugoma forest is promoted under the Forest Partnership that government signed with the European Union in November 2022.
  5. Bugoma forest should be turned into a national park so better conserve the forest and protect the environment.

 Source: Afiego

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A corporate cartel fertilises food inflation



Last year’s financial results from the world’s largest fertiliser companies are now in — and it’s a shocker. Given the sky high fertiliser prices of 2022, it was anticipatedthat their revenues would break records, but no one could have predicted this scale of profiteering. As the world grappled with a severe food crisis and farmers saw costs rise, the world’s largest fertiliser firms ramped up their margins and more than tripled their profits from two years ago.

Graph 1

Graph 1 shows the total profits of the big nine fertiliser companies over the past five years. They exponentially grew from an average of around US$14 billion before the Covid-19 pandemic to US$28 billion in 2021 and then to an astounding US$49 billion last year. International agencies like the World Bank blamed the spike in fertiliser prices on the Russian war in Ukraine, resulting in high natural gas prices (used to produce nitrogen fertiliser) from shortages and trade disruptions. But as can be seen in Graph 2, a major part of the story is the monopoly power of the fertiliser companies. These companies increased prices far beyond the increases in production costs and boosted their profit margins to a massive 36% in 2022.
Graph 2
There are signs that fertiliser prices are coming down from their stratospheric heights earlier this year, but the effects of the price spike are still being felt. The high prices and lack of supply in some countries caused farmers to cut fertiliser use, thereby reducing production levels and contributing to an alarming rise in global food insecurity. The high prices also pushed many farmers deeper into debt. Farmers from Cameroon to the U.S. say they are still spending three times as much on fertilisers as they were a few years ago. And in countries where fertilisers are heavily subsidised, the price spike has saddled governments with huge debts. In India alone, the central government’s expenditure on fertiliser subsidies last year surged from US$9.8 billion to US$17.1 billion. People are paying the price for the fertiliser industry’s price gouging.
The costs are also rising for the planet. Chemical fertilisers are a major source of environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, with nitrogen fertilisers alone accounting for one out of every 40 tonnes of annual emissions. New reports from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and Earth4All, a global collective of leading scientists and economists, make it clear that steep and immediate reductions in global fertiliser use are required to avert catastrophic climate change. Both recommend a near phase-out of nitrogen fertiliser consumption by 2050 (see Graph 3). The idea is not to recklessly crash production levels, but a planned transition toward more sustainable, agroecological farming systems that require less or no fertiliser.
Graph 3
It is increasingly clear that today’s food inflation is a product of both corporate greed and ecological breakdown. Obscene levels of profit-taking by corporations are happening across the food system, from fertilisers to processing to retail, and this is pushing up prices. But the way these corporations organise our food production and distribution is also driving climate change and, undermining the capacity for the global food system to deliver affordable and accessible food, now and over the long term.
Bold new approaches are urgently needed to reign in corporate power in the food system and turn the food crisis around. When it comes to fertilisers, policy actions like windfall taxes and price controls can help. But to deal with both profiteering and environmental catastrophe we need to transition food production to rely far less on chemical fertilisers. The fertiliser industry will be pushing for the opposite when it gathers for its annual meeting in Prague this week, yet around the world there are farmers and rural movements already leading a transition away from chemical fertilisers, with plenty of successful examples to learn from. What’s holding us back is the structural political change needed at all levels to address the excess profiteering from the fertiliser industry, and chart a new path toward more resilient food systems.

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