Ugandan National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)
Uganda's National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is a semi-autonomous institution, established in May 1995 as the principal agency in Uganda, charged with the responsibility of coordinating, monitoring, regulating and supervising environmental management in the country, according to the Authority's website. NEMA advises Government and spearheads the development of environmental policies, laws, regulations, standards and guidelines; and guides Government on sound environmental management in Uganda.
NEMA liaises and coordinates the activities between institutions to ensure environmental and biodiversity protection during oil exploration activities. The Authority has appointed full time officers to monitor activities in the oil and gas sector.
Activities around oil
Oil and gas training
NEMA together with the British Council partnered to host a training session for over 50 people in the management and monitoring of the Oil and Gas developments in Uganda. Participants were drawn from NEMA, the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department, the Ministry of Water and Environment, the Ministry of Lands, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), environmental impact assessment (EIA) practitioners, and civil society organizations (CSOs) and oil and gas developers in Uganda.
The training came after a capacity assessment conducted by to NEMA to identify gaps and needs in the oil sector, in which NEMA found a major challenge to be the disposal of waste. NEMA encouraged the trainers to share successful case studies and best practice on managing waste from oil and gas activities elsewhere. Other topics included: an introduction to oil and gas, environmental and social issues, impacts and managing environmental and social risk, the EIA process, monitoring the industry, national contingency plans and oil spills and emergency response scenarios.
As part of its Environmental Monitoring Plan (EMP) for the Albertine Graben 2012-2017, NEMA is tracking the impact which oil and gas-related developments will have on the environment of the Albertine Graben. The plan lists several environmental monitoring indicators to be used to monitor oil activity's impact on five major ecosystem components, including: aquatic, terrestrial, physical/chemical, social, and management and business. Over time, according to NEMA, the monitoring indicators will be used to demonstrate progress and changes in the ecosystem components, signaling when environmental management in the petroleum sector is on track, or giving early warnings for when developments are heading in the wrong direction.
The EMP also gives a detailed summary of the current state of the environment in the Albertine Graben, the possible effects which oil and gas developments may have on species such as fish, mammals, amphibians and birds, and other environmental components including water and air quality.
Oil spill sensitivity atlas
NEMA develops a yearly oil spill sensitivity atlas to provide environmental planners with tools to identify resources at risk, establish protection priorities and identify timely appropriate response and clean-up strategies in the event of oil spill around the petroleum-rich Albertine Graben.
The objective of NEMA's Sensitivity Atlas, according to its 2010 edition, is to "display, identify and provide the ability to analyse the relative environmental sensitivities (physical, biological and socio-economic) to oil spill and oil development within the exploration areas in the Albertine Graben region of western Uganda".
- "About NEMA", NEMA website, retrieved 11 January 2012.
- "Environmental Management in Uganda’s Oil and Gas Sector", Ministry of Energy website, January 2011.
- "NEMA and British Council Capacity Building Partnership", NEMA website, retrieved 11 January 2012.
- "Environmental Sensitivity Atlas 2010", NEMA website, retrieved 11 January 2012.