The battle to save Bugoma forest goes to a regional court

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A group of environmentalists from Little Hands Go Green spent three days touring the forest. Photo by ChimpReports.

By witnessradio.org Team

Kampala – Uganda – The battle to save Bugoma Forest has been taken to the East African Court of justice.

Environmental Shield, a nonprofit organization promoting human rights and battling climate change has partnered with Robert Turyakira, a human rights defender to block the giveaway of part of Bugoma Forest land for sugar cane growing through the regional court.

Through their lawyers of Kiiza Mugisha and company advocates, the duo accuse environment body NEMA of granting Hoima Sugar limited  a certificate of approval of the environment and social impact assessment okaying the use of 9.24 square miles of the area neighboring Bugoma central forest reserve for sugar cane growing and associated developments.

The duo claim that on the 14th of August 2020, Uganda’s environment regulator and sustainable guarantor, NEMA, issued a certificate number. NEMA/ESIA 13709 to Hoima sugar authorizing the Kyangwalo mixed land use project entailing the planting of sugarcane.

The project approval relates to within plot 216 block 2 traversing Butoole Parish and Kaseeta Parish, Buhanguzi County, Kikuube district boarding Bugoma Forest reserve.

The applicants claim that the Project area neighbors Bugoma central forest reserve which was gazzeted in 1932 as a tropical high forest and home to over 600 chimpanzees and its part of its ecosystem.

They also say that sugar cane growing has adverse environmental and climate change impacts including pollution of water bodies, rivers and streams boiling water quality and accuse NEMA of ignoring a climate impact assessment as necessitate by the dictates of the contemporary good environment governance and didn’t consider the human rights impact assessment prior to the project approval contrary to the constitution of the republic of Uganda, the National environment act and that o the East African treaty.

Nema is also accused of ignoring a climate change impact assessment as necessitated by the dictates of the contemporary good environment governance and didn’t consider the human rights impact assessment prior to the project approval contrary to the constitution of the republic of Uganda, the National environment act and that o the East African treaty.

Environment shield and Mr. Turyakira insist that the project approval threatens the area individual’s communities, will trigger biodiversity loss, jeopardize sustainable development, and derail appropriate climate action.

They now want court to interpret whether the actions of the government of Uganda as a partner state are unlawful and inconsistent with the provisions of the treaty and ensure that it adheres to the law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the treaty by the partners.

Environmentalists and conservationists have warned about the dangers of giving away Bugoma forest and areas around the forest for sugarcane growing because it threatens the environment and the different wild species and birds that reside in and around the forest.

The matter is still before the Ugandan courts of law.