AREALA: A platform to spur development that respects the environment in the Albertine Rift Region

The Albertine Rift has recently been the centre of major developments in terms of infrastructure development projects, oil exploration, and many other projects in agriculture, energy and transport sectors. These projects may represent a potential threat to biodiversity, and ecosystem services, especially in mountain areas where they impact negatively the livelihoods of local communities. The sustainable implementation of such projects need an effective Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to assist decision making and plan for the mitigation of major impacts that can’t be avoided. While a good EIA has to be conducted through a public and transparent process involving all concerned sectors including the civil society and grassroot communities, this is not the case in the Albertine Rift countries where the EIA process is largely marked by lack of public participation and shallow assessment by the practitioners who conduct the EIA studies. Since 2014, the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) leads a group of civil society players who want to advocate for harmonization of development and conservation in the region. The group called “Albertine Rift Environmental Assessment Leadership Alliance (AREALA) advocates for increased transparency and public participation in EIAs and other planning processes in the region. We believe we can only achieve the sustainable development we want if we resist the increasing pressure from investors who want to cut corners in the name fast economic growth and educate our population that environment conservation constitutes the cornerstone of sustainable development. This becomes even crucial in mountain areas where we find many ecologically important ecosystems that underpin the livelihoods of millions of people and entire national economies.

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Event Partners

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