By Witness radio team
The latest annual report by the Uganda Human Rights Commission has faulted various government agencies particularly National Forestry Authority of denying ethnic minority groups access to their land which is an abuse of a fundamental right to own land.
According to the 2015 report seen by Witness radio, government tops the
list of three top perpetrators.
“In terms of land use, 41% of the respondents said that the ethnic minority groups were denied access to their own land” the report notes. On who denied them access to land, the report findings which were based on the accounts by respondents of the research blamed it on different players ranging from government which was ranked at (47%), the surrounding community that stood at (26%) and fellow ethnic minority groups and the business community and other individuals at (7%).
A total of 81% of the research’s respondents said that the Ethic minority groups had no “titles” for their land.
According to a report, most of the minority and indigenous people were “evicted” from their “ancestral land with an aim of creating national parks”
In this process, the report notes that the principles of meaningful consultation, participation, “prior and free consent were never applied” which resulted into “persistent landless, extreme poverty conditions, isolation, exclusion and discrimination,” affecting their economic livelihoods and socio-cultural lifestyles.
The ethnic minority communities, the report notes therefore, that live as squatters on other people’s land, with none they call theirs to set up homesteads, graze their animals and grow crops.
For example, the Batwa in Kisoro and Kabake districts were evicted from Bwindi and Mgahinga forests which were gazetted as national game parks, while the Benet were evicted from land belonging to Mt. Elgon National Park.
The Kuku in Yumbe district were also evicted from Kei Forest Reserve by the National Forestry Authority but on a different ground which was that they had “encroached on it.”
Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is due to publish a new Energy Sector Strategy before the end of 2023. A total of 130 civil society organizations from over 40 countries have released a statement calling on the EBRD to end finance for all fossil fuels, including gas.
From 2018 to 2021, the EBRD invested EUR 2.9 billion in the fossil energy sector, with the majority of this support going to gas. This makes it the third biggest funder of fossil fuels among all multilateral development banks, behind the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank.
The EBRD has already excluded coal and upstream oil and gas fields from its financing. The draft Energy Sector Strategy further excludes oil transportation and oil-fired electricity generation. However, the draft strategy would continue to allow some investment in new fossil gas pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, as well as gas power generation and heating.
In the statement, the civil society organizations point out that any new support to gas risks locking in outdated energy infrastructure in places that need investments in clean energy the most. At the same time, they highlight, ending support to fossil gas is necessary, not only for climate security, but also for ensuring energy security, since continued investment in gas exposes countries of operation to high and volatile energy prices that can have a severe impact on their ability to reach development targets. Moreover, they underscore that supporting new gas transportation infrastructure is not a solution to the current energy crisis, given that new infrastructure would not come online for several years, well after the crisis has passed.
The signatories of the statement call on the EBRD to amend the Energy Sector Strategy to
- fully exclude new investments in midstream and downstream gas projects;
- avoid loopholes involving the use of unproven or uneconomic technologies, as well as aspirational but meaningless mitigation measures such as “CCS-readiness”; and
- strengthen the requirements for financial intermediaries where the intended nature of the sub-transactions is not known to exclude fossil fuel finance across the entire value chain.
Download the statement: https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2023-09/ngo-statement-on-energy-sector-strategy-2024-2028.pdf
The Corporate Capture of African Agriculture
Produced by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in partnership with the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, Biowatch South Africa, and PELUM Tanzania. This episode will expose the alarming reality of how multinational corporations are influencing Africa’s agricultural future.
In many African communities, women have traditionally held control over agriculture. This episode lays bare the danger posed by the potential loss of this power to corporate interests, a situation which could precipitate widespread hunger. Women are highlighted as the stalwarts preserving the rich traditions of African farming, and their displacement from this role is likened to an existential threat.
The episode shines a spotlight on AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), launched in 2006, primarily funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was envisioned as a mechanism to halve hunger in 20 African nations and double the income and yields of over 30 million small-scale farmers by 2020. However, instead of delivering on its promises, it appears that hunger has actually escalated by 30% in these countries.
We dissect the underlying flaws in AGRA’s model, arguing that AGRA’s narrative, epitomizes the failure of the so-called “Green Revolution.” The approach emphasizes a narrow concept of productivity, focused on yield enhancement for a limited number of grain types. This methodology overlooks centuries-old farming practices, wisdom and resilience strategies that African farmers have depended on.
Governments, absorbed by this narrative, have established laws and policies that champion this skewed vision of agricultural productivity, promoting the use of “approved” seeds, which must meet strict formal criteria. Traditional farmers’ seeds are ignored and sidelined, leading to a distorted perspective of what truly constitutes a seed.
The focus on profit over people leads to an emphasis on high-value crops, such as maize. The involvement of foreign entities and their seeds bring with them an increasing dependency on these external factors, essentially eroding the sovereignty of the African nations over their seed stock. This state of affairs is likened to a form of neo-colonialism.
Our collective knowledge about seeds, cultivated over centuries, risks being entirely wiped out, and farmers are effectively being marginised. They’re reduced to mere consumers, alienated from the intimate understanding and respect for the seeds they cultivate. This episode urges the empowerment of farmers as a crucial step to breaking free from the corporate dominance over African agriculture.
This episode is a rallying cry to protect these seeds, our traditions, and our sovereignty. When all else fails, our traditional systems, currently sidelined, will be our beacon of hope and our means of survival.
Watch the clip on our YouTube channel and become part of the struggle to resist the corporate takeover of African food systems.
Watch the full video here: The Corporate Capture of African Agriculture
Innovative Finance from Canada projects positive impact on local communities.
In this video Witness Radio Uganda and GRAIN express pessimism on why development finance from Canada may not be different from other financiers.
Witness Radio Uganda’s Team Leader Jeff Wokulira Ssebagala and GRAIN’s researcher Devlin Kuyek share views on the adverse effects of harmful financing and developments world Wide in an interview with the Co-founder of the Blended Finance Critique Susan Spronk, a Canadian based coalition of civil society organizations, unions and academics that condemns the operations of Blended Finance in Canadian Aid.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Blended finance is the strategic use of development finance for the mobilization of additional finance towards sustainable development in developing countries. The Canadian government is widely promoting blended financing as a form of privatization to meet the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
But civil societies such as Susan’s urge it (blended finance) undermines Canada’s ability to meet its commitments to the established goals of Official Development Assistance (ODA), namely poverty reduction, a central focus of the SDGs.
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK1 week ago
East African Court of Justice is to decide whether it has jurisdiction to try the EACOP case filed by Four East African NGOs today.
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A son of the community defender is shot dead, another critically injured in a retaliatory attack by security guards evicting locals off their land to give way to large-scale sugarcane growing.
FARM NEWS2 weeks ago
Report links 1,600 deaths to pesticide poisoning
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK7 days ago
The East Africa regional court dismisses a case challenging the construction of the EACOP project.