NEMA's 2017/18 achievements summarised

The National Environment Management Authority Annual Corporate Report for the Financial Year (FY) 2017/18 has been completed. NEMA has registered numerous achievements in line with the mandate, statutory functions, strategic and approved annual work plan of the institution as described below.

To increase the capacity and strengthen of the institution to effectively deliver its mandate, NEMA established four new regional offices in Mbale Lira, Mbarara and Masindi districts. The opening of the new offices came with the recruitment of new 35 additional staff (20 male and 15 female) to address staffing gaps and meet the increasing service delivery demands. This alone has improved service delivery to and facilitated faster reviews of ESIA documents to ensure timely decision making.

In addition to the above, with support from the Environmental Protection Force (EPF), a total of 59 wetland degradation and 33 noise pollution cases were successfully prosecuted. The EPF has been instrumental in enforcement, investigations, apprehension of suspects and compilation of evidence to support criminal prosecution.

Further still, significant progress has been witnessed in the review and drafting of environmental laws. The National Environment Bill 2017 and National Environment Management Policy, once enacted into Law, will address the gaps in the current National Environment Act, Cap 153; and take care of the new and emerging issues including management of the environmental aspects of oil and gas related activities, electronic waste, climate change, alien invasive species, environmental justice, biotechnology and biosafety, biodiversity loss and offset, payment for ecosystem services, strategic environmental assessment, access and benefit sharing, sound management of chemical and plastics, among others.

Also worth noting is that in FY 2017/18 NEMA contributed to the National Development Plan (NDP11), the Vision 2040 theme and the Manifesto 2016, by giving guidance on strategic EIAs and successfully approving 84.7% of projects for developers. These included; fuel facilities (200), infrastructure projects (194), Information Communications Technology (ICT) (123), processing/manufacturing industries (105), and mineral/mining (62) projects. This is the highest number of projects in a financial year ever approved by NEMA.

NEMA successfully carried out a total of 1,518 compliance audits and verifications inspections against the planned target of 1,400; hence accounting for a 108% success. The Inspections were undertaken at various facilities and activities across the country, including players in the manufacturing and processing industry; waste management and health care; infrastructure like roads and transport projects; mining and quarrying activities that impact on the green environment. Compliance inspections were also carried out at the countries major hydro-power projects; Isimba, Nalubale and Bujagali.

Numerous restoration activities of critical degraded fragile ecosystem were undertaken and key findings of concern at the time were issues pertaining to site restoration, securing of sedimentation tanks, alien species, biodiversity offset, fish ladder, water stagnation, aquatic weed and soil erosion among others. The Authority has also observed the regeneration of the ecological functions of wetlands such as Limoto, Rwizi wetland systems, and Nakivale lakeshores among others. Restoration of approximately 1000ha of various wetland systems has also been documented.

In a bid to promote Education and Sustainable Development goals (ESD), countrywide environmental education and awareness campaigns were undertaken. These programs were on electronic and print media such as newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. Of which a total of 47.3% were corporate materials; 31.6% for information, education, promotional, and publicity/branded materials; and 21.1% was through the publication of NEMA Quarterly Newsletter.

Finally, NEMA has participated in various regional and international conventions, protocols and conferences. Because of such engagements; a number of officers have been nominated for international assignments; thus contributing to resource mobilization for NEMA through projects and thus strengthening technical environment management skills in Uganda.

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Tony Achidria
Senior Public Relations Officer