Lake Kivu, Bugoma forest issues capture CSOs attention in DRC and Uganda

DR Congo's National Executive Director of Appui Aux Initiatives Communautaire de Conservation de l’environnement et de Développement Durable (AICED), Mr Faustin Nyobone. (Image: Courtesy)

Civil Society Organisations in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have used the World Environment Day commemoration as an opportunity to remind duty bearers of the threats facing Lake Kivu and Bugoma Central Forest Reserve (CFR).  

In Uganda, the Save Bugoma Forest Campaign (SBFC) has written to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), requesting it to ensure that Hoima Sugar Limited adheres to its directive of restoring the degraded parts of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve. 

Similarly in DRC, environmental activists circulated reminder letters to the Ministry of Hydrocarbons to halt plans to exploit methane gas in Lake Kivu.  

Uganda’s save Bugoma forest campaigners request NEMA to avail them and the general public with a copy of the approved restoration plan for Bugoma CFR as a sign of commitment to cooperate with other stakeholders to save the forest.  

They also want NEMA to stop any activities that further degrade the forest.  

Bugoma is the second largest forest reserve in Uganda, which, according to the National Forestry Authority (NFA), about 8,000 hectares have been destroyed in the past three years of land dispute involving Hoima Sugar Limited, Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and the NFA itself.  

Degraded part of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve. (Image: File)

In the DR Congo, environmental activists have delivered letters containing their reiterated concerns of Lake Kivu methane gas exploration plan fearing that it will have negative consequences on environment, health and livelihoods. 

They request the ministry to conduct more community sensitisation and assurance that it will not become a disaster to aquatic life and affect millions of people that depend on Lake Kivu for water.  

While speaking to Kazi-njema online radio, the National Executive Director of Appui Aux Initiatives Communautaire de Conservation de l’environnement et de Développement Durable (AICED), Mr Faustin Nyobone, said they have delivered their petitions to various offices of authority.

“We delivered our letters of reminder to the Governors of North Kivu and South Kivu Provinces as well as their respective offices in charge of the environment. CSOs in Kinshasa will do the same tomorrow because they couldn’t afford today due to some transporters’ protest there,” said Mr Fautin. 

The DRC CSOs that participated in this exercise include AICED, Barbara ASBL and SOPRODE ASBL. 

Lake Kivu, one of the largest of the African Great Lakes is situated between DRC to the west and Rwanda to the east.

The government is mobilising companies to bid and start exploration. 

Elsewhere, plastic pollution was the main issue of focus as a serious danger to life.


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