- National Environmental Management Authority always carries out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before any exploration activity is done
- The Civil Society Organisations have time and again raised concerns of environmental protection in the oil exploration areas
By Edwin Mumbere
Kasese- As Uganda has already started its journey into oil extraction and production, many Ugandans and scholars are asking themselves some questions such as how best shall we conserve the biodiversity amidst the oil exploration activities.
We can try to over these fears by using the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) and several mining companies have used this tool to help them understand the new areas that they are going to and how they can protect the environment while they carry out the activities.
IBAT has got tremendous benefits for using it in the operation any institution and they are; better decision making by providing quality data to helps in making decision and it also helps with aligning to the international standards best practice, this tool can be used to screen against world bank, IFC and other finance sector standards.
It is now the best tools to use in order to get a license to operate, companies can use this tool to align with environment regulations early in the project cycle, increasing market access by providing good biodiversity management can help users to secure a place in the market and it also helps to gain competitive in the market.
“If we can apply the IBAT tool in Uganda’s oil and gas industry then we can help solve some of our worries and reduce mistrust issues that Ugandans have with National Environmental management authority in doing environmental analysis about the oil and gas industry.”
For better analysis and modeling, this tool underpins key global analyses undertaken by research institutions, non-government organizations and governments as well as reducing risk and uncertainty by screening for potential biodiversity impacts and opportunities early in any project.
However, the IBAT tools has some unique features for its users which include access to the world database on protected areas, threatened animal species, key biodiversity areas through its data downloads services which can include even smaller areas.
IBAT also plays a key role in Rio Tinto’s ability to devise effective biodiversity management plans for new and current sites: “In terms of risk analysis, for a mining company, or any extractive for that matter, it’s a really powerful tool for us to be able to use and understand when we’re going into new areas and when we want to expand in areas where we currently are operating.”
The Writer is a Field Officer for AFIEGO in Kasese