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  1. The role of NEMA

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is a principal agency of the government responsible for coordinating, monitoring, regulating, and supervising all activities relating to the environment. NEMA reviews Environment and Social Impact Studies before granting approval or rejecting projects that may have an impact on the environment.

  1. Issuance of titles in Wetlands

The issuance of land titles is the responsibility of the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development and the respective agencies under it, specifically the Uganda Lands Commission.

  1. How to know if your land is in a wetland or not

Check the authenticity of your land title with the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development or the Uganda Lands Commission.

  1. Issuance of permits to use a wetland

NEMA has indefinitely suspended the consideration and issuance of approval for all projects in wetlands. The suspension was effective September 2, 2021. The decision was made to reduce pressure on wetlands that were being severely encroached upon and to build government capacity to regulate their use.

  1. To report cases of noise pollution

Report any cases of noise pollution to your LC, town, municipal, city, or district council.

Noise pollution is managed locally. Environment management is decentralised, and local governments are mandated, empowered, and financed to handle issues of noise pollution. This is because it is the local governments that issue operational licences to entities such as bars, schools, churches, and other businesses.

  1. Requirements for one to become a certified environmental practitioner

An environmental practitioner is an environmental auditor, an environmental impact assessor, or any person certified and registered by NEMA to conduct environmental and social assessments, studies, or environmental audits.

  1. Overview of ESIA Procedure

The Ugandan ESIA regulations consider two types of procedures:

  • Projects requiring submission of project briefs (limited ESIA)
  • Projects requiring full ESIA
  1. Projects requiring the submission of project briefs

These projects, according to Schedule 4, Part I of the National Environment Act, 2019, can be submitted directly to NEMA. NEMA will consult with lead agencies and then take a decision on the project brief.

According to Schedule 4, Part II of the National Environment Act, 2019, they can submit these directly to the applicable lead agency, who is then mandated to decide on the project brief.

NB: No scoping or terms of reference are required.

  1. Projects for which a full ESIA is mandatory (this can be presented as a statement since it’s very detailed and hence long)

According to Schedule 5 and possibly Schedule 10 of the National Environment Act 2019, these go through a more elaborate procedure involving:

  • Scoping/ToR,
  • Consideration of the ToR by NEMA (in consultation with lead agencies)
  • Undertaking the ESIA study, including stakeholder consultation during the ESIA study

This results in the ESIA Statement, which is then submitted to NEMA. A review of the ESIA statement is done in consultation with the lead agencies, the general public, and persons likely to be affected by the project. NEMA will then proceed with decision-making, taking the review and consultation results into account. The decision will lead to an environmental certificate of approval. In some cases, NEMA may decide to hold a public hearing at the expense of the developer.

In some cases, environmental risk assessment is required as part of the ESIA (section 114 of the National Environment Act, 2019). This is, for example, the case when genetically modified organisms will be introduced.

NEMA may, in liaison with the relevant lead agency, arrange for onsite inspections and monitoring of the project within 12 months of the grant of a certificate of approval from the ESIA to ensure compliance with the conditions in the certificate of approval.

After the period of 12 months, the developer shall be subject to the requirements of the National Environment (Audit) Regulations.

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