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View the documentNew Network Overcomes Lack of Expertise in East Africa - Environmental Impact Assessment
View the documentWatching over Charcoal Kilns in Uganda

New Network Overcomes Lack of Expertise in East Africa - Environmental Impact Assessment


Training course participants, who launched the new network. Authors of the articles: Timothy Byakola (sitting 1st row 2nd from right), and John Tumuhimbise, (3rd row 2nd from right).

By Timothy Byakola, Climate and Development Initiatives (CDI) INFORSE member, Uganda

A new networking initiative to promote Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) in the East-African region has been formed.

· The Environment Impact Assessment for East Africa (EIANEA) was launched in September 2000 during a regional training course on EIA at MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation in Arusha, Tanzania.

· The course attracted 19 participants from Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. It was organised by the Danish NGO “Forum for Energy and Development” (FED), and funded by the Danish government through the DANIDA Fellowship Programme.

· This course was organised in recognition of the many environmental impacts that can result from development activities in which NGOs and governmental authorities are involved.

· The course was very successful in trying to ease the present shortage of local expertise, providing practical tools and methods for assessing environmental impacts in the region.

· EIANEA is to increase networking and information sharing among EIA practitioners in the region.

· The network will contribute to increased awareness of the use of EIA in development planning, as well as provide a platform for capacity-building and research about EIA.

· The regional coordination office for EIANEA is hosted by the INFORSE member “Climate and Development Initiatives” (CDI) in Uganda, with national coordination offices at Econews Africa in Kenya and at MS in Tanzania.

· The network will complement and work with similar network initiatives such as the International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA) and Capacity Development and Linkages for EIA in Africa (CLEIAA).

Contact:
Regional Coordinator, Environment
Impact Assessment Network/or East Africa (EIANEA)
Climate and Development Initiatives, P.O. Box. 8849 Kampala, Uganda.
Ph: 256-41-259521,
fax: 256-41-234248,
e-mail: acs@starcom.co.ug

Watching over Charcoal Kilns in Uganda

Environmental Impact Assessment in Practice

By John Tumuhimbise, Department of Energy, Uganda

A method known as Environmental Impact Assessment was used to detect the impacts of using portable metal charcoal kilns in Uganda. The overall aim is to reduce environmental damages by improving charcoal production. The assessment involved INFORSE members and the Ministry of Uganda.

Portable Metal Kilns are More Efficient, but...

In Uganda, environmentally harmful burning of charcoal in traditional earth kilns is expected to increase. Therefore, the Department of Energy in the Ministry of Lands, Water, and Environment in Uganda is embarking on a project in Luwero District to improve charcoal production by encouraging conversion to efficient portable metal kilns.

The project is massively supported in the area because of the many benefits expected from it. But, there are concerns that some related activities may have significant environmental effects. To address these concerns, an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was done.

Assessing Impacts

The EIA of the portable metal kilns was completed as a practical field exercise during a regional training course on EIA in East Africa. It was organised by the Danish NGO “Forum for Energy and Development” (FED), which also hosts the INFORSE Network, and by the Ugandan INFORSE-member organisation, the Joint Energy and Environment Project (JEEP), in collaboration with the Danish NGO MS in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Major findings of the assessment study include:

Positive impacts

· The better recovery of charcoal will translate into increased levels of income for the charcoal producers and for the surrounding communities;

· The process of charcoal production will become less strenuous and less time-consuming;

· Amelioration of the physical environment will be achieved by easing pressure on the available resources in the district;

· A better-quality product will be produced for the market.

Negative Impacts

· Change in ecology of the area
· Health and safety of the charcoal producers and that of domestic animals
· Soil sterilisation
· Influx of more charcoal venders in to the area.

Proposals

The study also identified a number of mitigation measures to counter some of the negative environmental impacts of the project. Some of these required enrichment tree planting to restore forest cover, and discouragement of clearcutting to reduce damage to young trees. The land will also be kept fallow for a period of not less than 5 years to allow for regeneration.

More Information:
John Tumuhimbise, Senior Energy
Officer, Department of Energy, P.O.Box. 7270 Kampala, Uganda.
Ph: 256-41250142, fax: 256-41230220, e-mail: kamugi@imul.com.

Charcoal Burning

Charcoal is a major fuel in Uganda’s urban and suburban households. The production of this source of energy relies largely on clearcutting of mature live trees, especially high-density species. At present, wood is converted into charcoal by exclusive use of the traditional earth kiln. The efficiency of the traditional earth kiln is estimated to be as low as 10-15%. Charcoal consumption is estimated to be increasing at a rate of 6% per annum.

The production of this fuel contributes significantly to denudation of forest cover and to general degradation of the physical environment.