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BRIEF November 30, 2021

Inspection Panel Issues Notice of Non-Registration in Uganda Natural Resources Case

The Inspection Panel on November 29, 2021, issued a Notice of Non-Registration for a Request for Inspection of the Securing Uganda’s Natural Resource Base in Protected Areas Project.

The Request was submitted in October 2021 by 193 community members living in the project area who authorized the Twerwaneho Listeners Club, a Ugandan human rights organization, to represent them. The Requesters alleged that the project would perpetuate severe social harm and exacerbate serious human rights violations in communities targeted as project beneficiaries. In part, the Requesters alleged that the project is being implemented on land that was taken from them by one of the project implementing agencies, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and is therefore legitimizing this land take, which, the Requesters claimed, is unlawful. 

The project, located in western Uganda, has the development objective “to improve sustainable management of, and increase benefits to communities from, target protected areas in response to COVID-19 impacts.”

After conducting its due diligence, the Panel did not register the Request due to the absence of a plausible link between the harm alleged in the Request and the Bank-financed project. The Panel noted that the project is providing small grant funding for livelihood-related activities and involves no land acquisition. The Panel also observed that the area where the project activities are planned has been disputed by the Requesters for many years and that there are on-going legal processes in the High Court of Uganda at Fort Portal taking place in relation to this matter.