The Presidential directives and priorities related to National Environment Management Authority

The key Presidential Directives and Priorities, which relate directly to the functionality of NEMA are;

(i) Fast tracking mechanisms for approval of EIAs;
(ii) Stopping encroachment on forests, wetlands, river banks and lake shores;
(iii) Promoting a clean and healthy environment;
(iv) Setting up a Fund to support resettlement of people settled in vital
ecosystems – wetlands; and,
(v) Scaling up provision of Water for Production Delivery Strategies.

Progress made on the implementation of the Directives and

NEMA has made the following significant progress in the implementation of the
Presidential Directives and priorities.

Fast- tracking mechanisms for approval of EIAs
NEMA introduced internal administrative reforms effective 1st July, 2016 to
enhance efficiency and effectiveness in clearing development projects (investments);
consequently, review time has reduced and the number of projects reviewed and
approved increased significantly. These reforms include:

(i) Legal reforms - where the National Environment Act (NEA) and regulations
on EIAs, audit and permits have been reviewed to meet the new and emerging
national priorities and the related environmental and social concerns; E.G For the Karuma Power Project

(ii) Process steps-merger where various steps in the EIA review process have
been merged in order to create efficiency through time saving and reduction in the
lengths of processes and procedures;

(iii) Use of electronic database which has been established and operationalized to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the review and approval of EIAs and permits.

(iv) Use of software systems and real time data through GIS, remote sensing and
satellite applications which are time-saving and more effective.

(v) Electronic transfer of reports to Lead Agencies to save time and avoid
unnecessary forward and backward movements of documents. This is where soft
copies of the reports are uploaded onto the database. The reviewers download and
transmit them electronically to the lead agencies, hence leading to improved timely
response to Lead Agencies Electronic transmission of documents has also reduced
the use of paper and hence reducing cost and contributing to long-term initiatives for forest conservation.

(vi) Application of the full cycle process- baseline verifications, monitoring and
inspection as well as environmental audits through the cluster teams and use of
technology and scientific applications like Google Earth.

(vii) Formation of cluster teams for the review of EIAs on sector basis lsuch as
– energy, mining, infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and ICT, among others.
(viii) Joining the One-Stop-Centre with other Government institutions, which are
involved in handling of investments such as Uganda Investment Authority (UIA),
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

Halting encroachment on forests, wetlands, river banks and lake shores

NEMA has made the following attempts to avert the current encroachment and
degradation of fragile ecosystems in Uganda;

(i) Strengthening enforcement with support from the Environment Protection
Police (EPF), some local governments and lead agencies. Such enforcement
interventions include community policing and environmental monitoring/
surveillance by the Environment Protection Force and joint operations with MDAs
such as Uganda Communication Commission on illegal community radios that noise
pollution, noise and industrial pollution control with KCCA, enforcement of the ban
on kaveera with URA, among others.

(ii) Strengthening the enforcement of the Presidential Directive and the
subsequent National Strategy on conservation sustainable use of shea butter tree in
northern Uganda through;

a) Strategic environmental inspections in conjunction with
Environment Protection Police, District Local Governments and
Resident District Commissioners in the districts of Lira, Otuke,
Kitgum, Agago, Pader and Amuria.

b) Functional partnership with Resident District Commissioners in
northern and north-eastern Uganda and religious institutions such
as Soroti Church of Uganda Diocese.

c) Value addition interventions to shea products through support
to CBOs including, Gwokke Kheni and Agago District Farmers
Association, Fountain of Life and Facilitation for Peace and Development/
FAPAD in Otuke District, and Ochamo Anyim Farmers Association in
Kitgum District.

d) Support to NFA towards restoration through enrichment planting
of shea butter tree in Kitgum District.

(iii) Increased public education and awareness programs through the mass media
and strategic meetings (or better the theme of these meetings) with the District leaders held on regional basis; in Tororo for eastern region on 26th October 2016 involved 71 District Leaders and Officials. In Mbarara for western region on 18th December 2016 involved 75 participants from District Local Governments and in Arua for West Nile on 18th January 2017 with 72 district participants; while more meetings are planned in Jinja for Busoga sub- region, Soroti for Teso sub-region and Masaka for Buganda area. Community engagements such as barazas for the population that is adjacent to the fragile ecosystems, with focus on the conservation of the fragile ecosystems for human livelihoods and environmental sustainability in Pallisa and Kibuku Districts with focus on Limoto and Mpologoma wetland systems.

(iv) Delegation of responsibilities to local governments to empower in decentralized environment management; this has been initiated and implemented in Kibuku and Pallisa Districts through delegation of responsibilities and signing of MOUs with 30 sub counties in Pallisa and Kibuku Districts.

(v) Strengthening partnerships and synergies with Lead Agencies (MDAs) on environment management through performance MoUs. NEMA has signed MoUs with Uganda Communication Commission, Electricity Regulatory Authority, Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda National Roads Authority, Atomic Energy Council (draft MoU) and Uganda Wildlife Authority.

(vi) Continuous implementation and enforcement of the systems, procedures
and guidelines developed for effective management of the environmental aspects of
Oil and Gas; over the years, NEMA and its partner institutions developed a number
of systems and management instruments for handling the environmental aspects of
Oil and Gas.

(vii) Strategic environmental inspections country wide especially in the greater
Kampala, Kigezi Tea growing areas (Kisoro and Kabale), River Rwizi catchment
areas (Mitooma, Buwheju, Ibanda, Mbarara, Isingiro and Ntungamo), eastern Uganda
Rice growing areas (Pallisa, Kibuku, Kumi and Soroti), and northern Uganda (Gulu
and Lira). District leaders are always involved in these inspections in order for them appreciate and prioritize the negative impacts of wetland degradation.

Promoting a clean and healthy environment
The following are the on-going initiatives by NEMA to ensure clean, healthy and
productive environment in Uganda;

(i) Implementation of the ban on the polyethylene carrier bags (kaveera) though
public education and awareness programs and enforcement where some of the major
suppliers such supermarkets have complied by introducing alternative carrier bags
and the support by the public. Notably NEMA carried out operations on the ban on
kaveera in Kampala (in the major super markets), Mbale, Jinja, Masaka and Mbarara
coupled with country-wide public education and awareness programs through
electronic and print media. It should be noted that the implementation of has slowed
down as NEMA awaits the response from the Cabinet to the request made by Ministry
of Trade and Industry for amendment of the law to allow production, distribution
and use of polyethylene carrier bags.

(ii) Support the Municipal Solid Waste Composting project where 12
Municipalities (Arua, Hoima, Masindi, Lira, Soroti, Mbale, Jinja, Mukono, Fort
Portal, Kasese, Mbarara and Kabale) have been supported through the construction
of solid waste composting plants and waste management equipment. Besides, the
Municipal Councils of Gulu, Tororo, Busia, Entebbe and Mityana were provided
with waste management equipment (wheel loaders, trucks and skips). The project
has contributed to improvement in waste management and sanitation where about
65% of the solid waste is collected and processed into manure at the solid waste
composting plants and eventually used as organic fertilizers to improve on soil
productivity for agriculture.

(iii) Working with Urban Authorities and KCCA to regulate noise pollution
where a number of equipment have been confiscated and prosecutions related to
noise are on-going in various courts of law.

(iv) Working with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the Judiciary
where selected Prosecutors, Magistrates and Judges have been trained by NEMA
and assigned specifically to handle environment-related crimes and cases; 45 Judicial Officers and Prosecutors participated in this training which focused on awareness creation on environmental laws, environmental crime and case management.
Remarkable compliance has been demonstrated by the Oil and Gas companies
through establishing and operationalization of systems and procedures for the
effective management of the environmental aspects of oil and gas in Uganda.
Compost manure at the Arua CDM plant.

(v) A number of prosecutions are on going in various Courts countrywide in
respect to violation of environmental laws; these include the Bukasa-Namamve
cases at High Court of Uganda at Kampala, cases on Nakayiba wetland at Masaka
High Court, other cases are at High Court of Uganda situated at Kabale, Mbarara,
Masindi, Jinja, Lira, Gulu, and Soroti, among others.

Implementation challenges related to the implementation of the Presidential Directives

The following key challenges hinder the effective implementation of NEMA mandate
in general and the Presidential Directives in particular;

(i) Personnel at NEMA, MDAs and in Local Governments where there are
inadequate number of staff and at certain cases lack of specialized staff to handle
the new and emerging environmental challenges.

(ii) Limited funding for NEMA, MDAs and Local Governments for effective
environment management especially for restoration of the degraded fragile
ecosystems, equipment and technology for environmental inspections, monitoring
and audit.

(iii) Inadequate institutional coordination and synergies that have contributed
greatly to enforcement challenges amidst various institutional mandates, which cause
apparent role conflicts and duplications.

(iv) Low capacity (personnel, technology and personnel) to respond to new and
emerging environmental challenges like electronic waste and chemicals. The capacity
challenges are experienced by NEMA, MDAs and local governments and therefore
there is need for deliberate efforts to enhance environment management capacity at
all levels due to the new and emerging issues related to environmental aspects like
electronic wastes, management of chemicals, biotechnology and biosafety, climate
change, among others.

(v) EIAs for development projects in unplanned industrial parks or outside
industrial parks take long to be reviewed for decision making due to the fact the
processes have to follow all the key steps and procedures to ensure a comprehensive
environmental and social impact studies.

Proposed/on-going strategies for the implementation of the Presidential Directives

(i) Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED)
provided funding for the wage bill to implement the NEMA structure that has been
approved Ministry of Public Service.

(ii) Introduce provision of specific conditional grants for environment
management for operationalized in local governments, while the budgets for the
MDAs, should integrate interventions for environmental sustainability.

(iii) Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should reconsider
and prioritize the program that has been developed by NEMA and approved
by the Cabinet for the strategic restorations of lake Victoria shores and selected
catchment areas. Besides, strategic actions should be focused towards restore all the critical fragile ecosystems in the country.

(iv) The responsible Government Ministries and Agencies should expedite
the planning and gazettement of all industrial parks in the country and encourage
(attract) investors in the gazetted industrial parks rather than in unplanned areas.
Such a strategy would facilitate and fast-track EIA processes in which decisions and
approvals undertaken within 2-3days.

(v) Office of the President should organize a national forum on the sustainable
use of the fragile ecosystems to ensure sustainable human livelihoods and
environmental sustainability. Such a forum would include all development players in
Uganda (MDAs, Local Governments, the private sector, development partners, civil
society, cultural institutions and the media, among others). The forum is a platform
for strategic planning to guide decision making and resolutions identified for and
implementation of interventions, which relate to sustainable development in Uganda.