Local civil society groups say oil & gas production along DRC-Uganda border will compromise their livelihoods
Author: Halima Abdalla, The EastAfrican (Kenya), Published on: 9 December 2019
"Ituri residents petition Tshisekedi, Museveni, Nema over impact of oil activity"
Residents and civil society organisations in Ituri province, Democratic Republic of Congo, have raised concerns over the negative impact that oil and gas production by Uganda will have on their trade, security and share of Lake Albert waters. Recently, 23 organisations and Ituri residents petitioned Uganda’s environmental watchdog National Environment Management Authority (Nema) together with DR Congo’s President Félix Tshisekedi and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni. According to the petition, Lake Albert supports a population of about 100,000 people in Ituri, but also facilitates trade, water transport, fishing activities and provides water for domestic use. However, the Tilenga oil production project threatens the ecosystem of the lake...
They are concerned that certain areas of the lake will be declared no-go zones because of the oil and gas operations, yet communities in DR Congo and Uganda engage in trade activities by the lake such as transporting fish, vegetables, fruits, cosmetics, cement and steel products. On November 9, President Museveni and President Tshisekedi held a meeting at State House, Entebbe, to discuss promotion of trade between the countries. The expected high demand for water in the oilfields will increase pressure on local water resources and could potential spark conflicts in areas of high water stress across the two countries. The community organisations estimate that up to 20,000 people will be affected by pollution—in cases of an oil spill—and influx of people into the Lake Albert area when oil production starts. The environmental and social impact assessment presented by the oil companies notes that oil production activities could increase the population relying on Lake Albert, which could result in overfishing and reduced fish stocks.