NEMA holds high level consultative meeting with MPs to discuss National Environment Bill, 2017

February 1, 2017 -The National Environment Management Authority has held consultative meeting with Members of Parliament and relevant stake holders including delegated from the Government of Norway, as part of the process of repealing the National Environment Act Cap. 153.

After all the legal drafting procedures, the Bill was read by Hon. Rebecca Kadaga for the 1st time in Parliament on December 21, 2017. As a required procedure, after the first reading the Bill is then sent to the relevant Committee, in this case the Natural Resources Committee; for the necessary consultative process to commence.
Comments gathered from the meeting will be incorporated in the Bill which will then be presented for the 2nd reading in Parliament after 45 days of consultations.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Water & Environment, Hon. Sam Cheptoris said the Bill comes at a time when the environment is under pressure to meet the demands related to livelihoods, provision of environmental services and development.

“Uganda, like the world over, is facing increasing challenges including; population pressure, climate change, degradation of agricultural land, decrease in soil fertility and wetland degradation. Mountainous and hilly areas are also now more fragile than ever before because of a number of issues including settlement of people in those areas and cultivation. Forest resources are also continuously degraded for those same reasons and to feed the commercial market,” Hon. Cheptoris Stated.

He added, “The country is also faced with the challenges related to the management of chemicals and waste, including electronic and medical waste. There is an increasing concern is the misuse of chemicals including the use of formalin for preserving meat. In addition, Mercury is being used in artisanal gold mining, a very dangerous practice considering the effects on human health.”

“Water resources and catchment zones, food security and nutrition, are also being impacted on. You have been following the issues related to illegal sand mining in the lake. Am glad Parliament is adding voice to our measures to address this issue,” Hon. Cheptoris explained.

The 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda under Article 245 mandates Parliament to make laws that provide for measures to protect and preserve the environment from abuse, pollution and degradation; to manage the environment for sustainable development; and to promote environmental awareness.

The Bill has comprehensive provisions on a number of issues including;
•Enhancement of synergies among regulatory institutions both at central government and local government;
•Increased protection of the green environment, including riverbanks, lake shores, forests and habitats of biodiversity.
•Protection of special conservation areas; and
•Measures for environmental disaster preparedness and response including contingency planning, among others.

In summary, the objective of this bill is to; to repeal and replace the National Environment Act to make it conform with existing Government policies; to continue in existence the National Environment Management Authority established under that Act as a coordinating, monitoring, regulatory and supervisory body of all activities related to the environment; to provide for emerging environmental issues including climate change, the management of hazardous chemicals and biodiversity offsets; to provide for strategic environmental assessments; to address environmental concerns arising out of petroleum activities, to provide for the management of plastics and plastic products; to establish the Environmental Protection Force; to provide for the establishment of an Environmental Tribunal; to provide for enhanced penalties for offences under the Act; to provide for procedural and administrative matters; and for related matters.

Follow link below to access the Bill