The Ugandan government has taken the fight about the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) to the United Nations following last week’s resolution by the European Union (EU) parliament.
Vice President Jesca Alupo who represented President Museveni at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York said that it is hypocritical for countries that are at the centre of polluting the environment to begin preaching to countries which have borne the impact of these environmental violations how to act responsibly.
“It is regrettable and hypocritical that some of the regions and nations that mismanaged the environment and are disproportionately responsible for global warming have embarked on a rigorous campaign to thwart efforts of other countries, to responsibly and sustainably develop the oil and gas sectors. Our view is that development should be environmentally friendly, inclusive and provide benefits for all; it should leave no one behind,” Alupo said.
She explained that the African continent like many developing regions of the world suffers the effects of Climate Change to a disproportionate degree and that Uganda has continued to experience prolonged droughts, floods, erratic rainfall patterns, landslides and melting of ice caps at its highest mountain; Mt. Ruwenzori despite contributing an insignificant amount of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Citing environmental concerns and human rights violations, the EU parliament called for a temporary halt to the construction of the 1443 kilometres pipeline that runs from Bunyoro in Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania. The resolution solicited both applause and condemnation from some sections of the Ugandan political intelligentsia and the general public. Those in favour of the resolution argue that it will foster openness in the project while those against argue that it’s a flagrant violation of the country’s sovereignty.
In her address, Alupo added that Uganda has continued to scale up investments in climate adaptation and mitigation measures such as; increasing access to clean energy to enhance production and increasing forest and wetland cover among other interventions. However, she added, the world must understand that climate change actions must uphold the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities, consistent with the national context.
“We, therefore, urge the developed countries in line with the Paris Agreement to fully deliver on the USD100 billion goal commitments per year, to assist developing countries in their climate change actions to mitigate the adverse effects,” Alupo said.
Meanwhile, the Vice President also stressed the need to reform the UN Security Council to have a proportional representation of Africa.
“The present geopolitical realities are more compelling for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council to make way for equitable representation. Africa with more than one billion citizens, and with over seventy per cent of issues on the agenda of the Council, continues to suffer the historical injustice of having no representation in the Permanent category of the Security Council, and is under-represented in the non-Permanent category too,” Alupo said.
She called upon the UN member states to continue pushing toward an equitable representation so that what she called a long-standing injustice and imbalance towards Africa are addressed.
On the conflict in Ukraine which is overshadowing the meeting, Alupo said that a military solution should be ditched in favour of a negotiated settlement to end the conflict whose reverberations have been felt as far afield as Uganda. “The Russia-Ukraine military conflict continues to cause more suffering, destruction and displacement of the civilian population, mostly women and children.
The longer it persists, the more suffering, destruction and displacement we shall witness. We are deeply concerned about the loss of lives and the serious humanitarian situation. Uganda supports dialogue to reach a peaceful resolution to the crisis. My President has said many times, “We think the best way is to negotiate. Everybody who wants peace in the world should support negotiations to get balanced peace that ensures safety for all,” Alupo said.