Achieving No Net Loss For Communities And Biodiversity In Uganda
Period: April 2016 – April 2019
Funder: Department for International Development, UK’s Darwin Initiative
Collaborators: National Environment Management Authority Uganda (NEMA), Nature Uganda, International Institute of Environment & Development (IIED), Wild Business Ltd & Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Uganda
Governments, financial institutions and businesses worldwide are adopting No Net Loss (NNL) targets for biodiversity, and using offsetting to achieve this. Biodiversity offsets offer the potential to reconcile the objectives of conservation and development through compensating for residual biodiversity impacts after the mitigation hierarchy has been implemented (avoid, minimise, restore/rehabilitate, offset). Moreover, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) highlighted how offsets can help Parties to achieve conservation goals.
The technical challenges of NNL are widely explored from an ecological perspective within academic literature. However, while international good practice guidance calls for offsets not to make local people worse off, there is a fundamental lack of understanding of how to achieve NNL with regard to people’s use of, and cultural values for, biodiversity, and the social, economic and ecological trade-offs involved.
This is a major challenge for countries where poor people depend on natural resources, where poorly planned offsets can exacerbate local poverty, and where impacts vary by gender and livelihood.
Using the Bujagali and Isimba Hydropower Projects and the Kalagala Offset in Uganda, this work seeks to explore ways in which development and offset activities can result in no net loss of biodiversity while at the same time ensure that local people are no worse off.
The World Bank-funded Bujagali Hydropower Project (BHP) was completed in 2012, with a sustainable management plan developed for its offset (Kalagala) to address biodiversity and human impacts. The area has high cultural, livelihood and biodiversity value.
The Isimba Hydropower Project (IHP) is being constructed downstream of BHP (planned completion in 2018) and an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of IHP and its effects on the Kalagala Offset is now being undertaken.
NEMA, the responsible Government agency, and Nature Uganda, a leading conservation NGO, have identified an urgent need to understand how the Isimba project may affect the Kalagala offset while they can influence its implementation, and for general guidance on monitoring and mitigating social and ecological impacts of offsetting in Uganda.
This project will work at a local, national and international level, supporting governments, NGOs and business to integrate local poverty alleviation, equity and cultural heritage into biodiversity offsets for national economic development. From research on the biggest hydropower/offset in Uganda, it will produce, and support implementation of, local and national policy guidance for Uganda, and generate lessons internationally.
- Research the costs and benefits that the Bujagali and Isimba Hydropower Projects and the Kalagala Offset have on local people and biodiversity in the area.
- Review the existing Kalagala Offset Sustainable Management Plan and the Isimba Management Plan and provide recommendations on how to address key gaps and aid their implementation.
- Assist NEMA with drafting and publishing new biodiversity offset guidelines.
- Work with NEMA and Nature Uganda to improve their understanding on how to achieve NNL through biodiversity offsetting so that they are better equipped to design, implement, monitor and evaluate biodiversity offsets.
- Establish a Business and Biodiversity Forum, enabling government, NGOs and businesses to work together on NNL of biodiversity goals for development which better account for local people’s needs and priorities.
- Draft new international guidelines on incorporating social costs and benefits into biodiversity offsetting.
The project inception workshop was held in Kampala, Uganda in May 2016.
Social data collection was completed in Feb 2017; analysis and write up is complete.
Ecological data collection has been completed; analysis and write up is also complete..
The first annual project meeting was held in Kampala, Uganda in April 2017. Priorities for year II were finalised
The main project researcher Victoria Griffiths presented part of her research at the at the Annual Conference for the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA 2018), Durban, South Africa in May 2018. You can download the ppt here
The second annual project meeting
The Natural Capital workshop was held on March 7th 2018, the minutes can he downloaded here
The presentations can be downloaded here:
Ensuring Net Gain for Biodiversity and People
On the 20th of November 2018, a symposium was held to launch a set of good practice principles "Ensuring No Net Loss for people as well as biodiversity"
Thank you to all those who participated
Find out more and see the agenda, attendance list and all the presentations here
Good Practice Principles: Download the document here
Download the project flyer here
Download the Stakeholder and institutional analysis here
Presentation training on social aspects of Biodiversity NNL in Uganda here
Research ethics and data management here
BBOP Webinar on Social Principles for NNL, September 2018 you can download the Presentation materials here
Read Helena Newell's 2018 MSc thesis: Natural capital accounting to support assessment of the "no net loss" principle for biodiversity and people for an infrastructure project in Uganda (pdf)
Prof. EJ. Milner-Gulland was invited to do a guest lecture at the Aga Khan Development Network in April 2017 in Kampala. Read the press coverage here: