- Operations take into account the sensitivity of the area and local environment
- Biodiversity strategy and action plans designed in accordance with IFC performance standards
- Commitment to leaving a positive environmental footprint
- A collective approach with TotalEnergies teams working with authorities,CSO's and NGO's
Stakeholders in the Oil and Gas sector have pledged to work together to avoid environmental destruction by minimizing the potential impacts of oil production.
The move comes in the wake of several environmental concerns raised by conservationists ahead of Uganda’s commercial oil production.
This was during the launch of the Tilenga Biodiversity Program, an initiative aimed at protecting and conserving biodiversity in and around the Tilenga project area in Bulisa and Nwoya districts.
Representing the Chief Guest, the commissioner for Environmental affairs, Mugabi Stephen, noted that the Memorandum of Understanding with Total Energies would be finalized to have the program move smoothly.
He disclosed that the Tilenga Net gain program was guided by a number of tools, for example, the National biodiversity strategy and the National Biodiversity and social offset guidelines to ensure that there will not be any net loss but a net gain for biodiversity.
Mugabi also revealed that as a ministry they had established a task team to provide a support service role involving the efforts of all the involved parties and Non-Governmental Organisations for the smooth running of the Tilenga Biodiversity Program.
Philippe Groueix, the General Manager, Total Energies, said that the emergency of oil and gas is compatible with other sectors and will not damage them.
“Biodiversity is important for Uganda and we are all here because we are convinced that this development is compatible with the biodiversity even when there is legitimate fear”.
“We will be able to make sure that the biodiversity will be in better shape compared to the situation when we were not yet here.” Said Groueix.
“There have been years of extensive studies trying to build this program and now it is time to take action on the ground and quality of execution is of the essence.”
The program was built following an observation of Uganda’s environment and the four keys that guide it includes avoiding any impact on the environment where possible, taking into account the site’s sensitivity, minimizing potential impacts through measures to preserve local biodiversity, restoring by focusing efforts on ecosystem rehabilitation and compensation through biodiversity improvement programs when needed.
According to Pauline McRonald, the head, Environment & Biodiversity at Total Energies Uganda, the first pillar is working alongside Uganda Wild Life Authority with activities to reduce human pressures and strengthen the ecological resilience of the Murchison Falls protected area through enhanced park protection.
The second pillar is working with National Forestry Authority and implementing partners to roll out conservation and restoration measures for forests and forest connectivity.
This she said will include activities to increase the protection of forest reserves, restoration of forest linkages in the Bugoma-Budongo corridor, and rollout community conservation education programs.
“Our third pillar will be to maintain Savannah connectivity and Savannah habitats in the proximity of Budongo wildlife reserves by addressing threats around reserves whilst working alongside communities to diversify livelihoods”,
“ …and our final pillar is working with the ministry of water and environment with host communities to help build a more resilient wetland ecosystem in and around Murchison falls Albertine delta wetland system and the wetlands along the southern part of the lake Albert,” Pauline remarked.
Also in attendance were the Executive Director of NEMA- Barirega Akakwatsa, Country Director - WCS Simon Nampindo, Director EHSS at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, Joseph Kobusheshe among other officials.