uganda: focus on NAPE
The National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) was formed in 1997 and became a member of the Friends of the Earth federation in November 2008. NAPE is an indigenous environmental NGO that focuses on a number of environmental issues within Uganda. It works to lobby and advocate for sustainable use of natural resources in the area of water and energy to ensure transparency and accountability in development processes.
Betty hopes that the new partnership between NAPE and FoEI will influence governments and corporations "to respect the plight of communities and observe human rights in all development undertakings." She also expects the partnership to "increase awareness of [the] sustainable use [of] resources globally."
NAPE’s major goal is the “improved management of natural resources in Uganda.”
The organization aspires to achieve this goal through the following strategic objectives:
- To "promote gender parity in the management of natural resources"
- To "enhance good governance in the management of natural resources"
- To "increase public awareness on best practices in natural resources management"
- To "mitigate the effects of environmental/climate change through the sound management of natural resources"
- To have “a national environmental organization that lobbies and advocates for the sustainable management of natural resources for the benefit of all”
NAPE is currently working on a number of campaigns having to do with the protection of natural resources:
- They are working to halt "illegal limestone mining in protected areas (Queen Elizabeth National Park) and oil extraction in the Albertine Rift"
- They are promoting "better compensation and resettlement processes for big infrastructure developments e.g. dams and oil mining"
- They are advocating for "transparency and accountability in development processes"
- They are working to stop the "degradation of natural resources like forests and wetlands, and advocating for better policies that promote sustainable use of natural resources"
- They are promoting "traditional/cultural practices for the management of forests"
- They are championing "good governance through observation of human rights by government, e.g. water and land rights for marginalized communities"
The highs and lows
Since its onset, NAPE "has made substantial progress" in protecting the country's natural resources. Some of its successes include its campaign to empower communities to demand for fair compensation for their land and crops as well as influencing the Ugandan government to halt the proposal to turn the Mabira Forest reserve into a sugar cane plantation.
But it hasn't been easy. Betty says that Ugandan communities' "lack of awareness of their rights" and the "lack of transparency" and "corruption issues" of developers and government regarding the process of project development have caused setbacks in their work.
She hopes that in the years to come NAPE will be able to better "effectively influence policies regarding natural resources management nationally and contribute to sustainable development globally for the benefit of humankind."
about obbo Betty
Obbo Betty has a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Management and Practical Skills from Makere International Institute of Environmental Development and Practical Skills.
She started working with NAPE in 1999 because of her interest in environmental management. Betty currently works as the information and publication officer for NAPE and develops bi-monthly newsletters posted on the organization's website with the goal of sharing the group's working experience with other networks and their partners.