EIA Country Report for Uganda

Legal Framework
State, Country or Province: 
Uganda
EIA law: 
National Environment Act, Cap 153
EIA Regulations: 
Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, S.I. No. 13/1998
EIA Guidelines or Other Guidance: 
Various sectoral guidelines available from the National Environmental Management Authority (not available on the internet)
EIA Procedure
Projects Requiring EIA: 
Government projects
Projects Requiring EIA: 
Private projects
Abridged Assessments: 
Yes
Assessments Detail: 
The project developer must submit a project brief to the Executive Director of NEMA, who may transmit the project brief to the lead agency. Based on the project brief and agency comments, the Executive Director may approve the project if no significant impacts are expected or sufficient mitigation measures are proposed. If there will be significant negative impacts for which no adequate mitigation measures are prescribed, the Executive Director shall require the developer to undertake an environmental impact study. NE Act sec. 19(1); EIA Regulations, secs. 5-9 (describing required content of project brief and procedure).
Best Practices in Lieu of EIA: 
No
Who Conducts Screening: 
Government
Who Conducts Screening Detail: 
NE Act, secs. 19(2), 19(3).
Criteria for Screening: 
List or appendix of project or activity types
Criteria for Screening: 
Proposed project or activity may cause significant environmental impact
Criteria for Screening Detail: 
See National Environmental Act, Third Schedule (listing projects that require EIA). The Executive Director of NEMA may also screen projects that are not listed in the Third Schedule and conclude that these are subject to EIA. NE Act, sec. 19(7).
Who Prepares EIA: 
Project Proponent (with or without contractor)
Who Prepares EIA Detail: 
"Where the Executive Director has. . . . determined that anenvironmental impact study be made under these regulations, the developer shall make an environmental impact statement on completing the study." EIA Regulations, sec. 13(1).
Who Pays for EIA: 
Project Proponent
EIA Contractor Qualifications: 
Yes
EIA Contractor Qualifications Detail: 
The project developer must submit the names and qualifications of the persons who will undertake the EIA study to NEMA for approval. NE Act, sec. 19(4); EIA Regulations, sec. 11. Practitioners are licensed according to the category of the specialization following their academic qualifications and experience. They are categorized into: team leaders; general consultants; and foreign consultants. See also, National Environment (Conduct and Certification of Environment Practitioners) Regulations, 2003
Conflict of Interest: 
Yes
Conflict of Interest Detail: 
EIA contractors "shall conduct themselves in accordance with the guidelines, an established code of practice or the written directions issued by the Executive Director[.]" EIA Regulations, sec 11(3). In general, any person who fraudulently makes a false statement or alters a project brief, environmental impact statement, or EIA is subject to a specified term of imprisonment or fine. See NE Act, sec. 96; EIA Regulations, sec. 36.
Terms of Reference (TOR): 
Yes
Terms of Reference Detail: 
"An environmental impact study shall be conducted in accordance with terms of reference developed by the developer in consultation with the Authority and the lead agency." EIA Regulations, sec. 10(1)
Days for Decisionmaker Review: 
180
Automatic Approval: 
No
Written Decision: 
Yes
Written Decision Detail: 
The regulations do not expressly require an approval decision to be issued in writing, but it is implied by the fact that a certificate of approval must be prepared. EIA Regulations, sec. 26. A decision to reject a project must be communicated in writing. EIA Regulations, sec. 27
Authority to Impose Conditions: 
Yes
Authority to Impose Conditions Details: 
In making a decision to approve a project, the NEMA Executive Director shall "give approval subject to such conditions as it [sic] deems necessary." EIA Regulations, sec. 26(a)
Expiry of Decision: 
Variable
Expiry of Decision Detail: 
The period of time for which the approval shall remain valid is determined by the NEMA Executive Director and will be communicated in the decision. EIA Regulations, sec. 26(c)
Financial Assurances or Bond: 
Sometimes
Financial Assurances Detail: 
Performance bonds may be required from "activities and industrial plants which have or are most likely to have significant adverse effects on the environment when operated in a manner that is not in conformity with good environmental practice." NE Act, sec. 94.
EIA Content
Interdisciplinary Team: 
No
Range of Alternatives: 
Yes
Range of Alternatives Detail: 
The EIA must contain a description of "the proposed site and reasons for rejecting alternative sites;" "alternative technologies and processes, and the reasons for not selecting them;" alternative environmental effects; and alternative mitigating measures. EIA Regulations, secs. 14(1)(b),(f),(h),(k).
No Action Alternative: 
No
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Direct environmental impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Cumulative environmental impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Social impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Cultural impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Health impacts
Type(s) of Impact Analysis: 
Economic impacts
Mitigation: 
Yes
Mitigation Detail: 
The EIA must contain "the measures proposed for eliminating, minimising, or mitigating adverse impacts." EIA Regulations, sec. 14(1)(i). In addition, if a post-EIA environmental self-or NEMA-authorized audit is pursued, the Executive Director may "require that the developer takes specific mitigation measures to ensure compliance with the predictions made in the project brief, or environmental impact statement[.]" EIA Regulations, sec. 33(1).
Monitoring Plans: 
No
Access to Information
Draft EIA Available: 
No
Draft EIA Available Detail: 
The EIA law and regulations do not discuss preparation of a draft EIA.
Draft EIA Locations: 
Not Available
Public Notice of Final EIA: 
Yes
Public Notice of Final EIA Detail: 
NEMA must invite the public to comment on the final EIA through invitation published in a newspaper having national or local circulation. The length of time that the invitation will be published is up to the discretion of the Executive Director. EIA Regulations, sec. 19. In addition, the Executive Director shall invite comments from persons specifically affected by the project. EIA Regulations, sec. 20.
Final EIA Available: 
No
Final EIA Available Detail: 
It is not clear whether the EIA is made easily accessible to the public. The National Environment Act states that the EIA is a public document that can be viewed at any reasonable hour by a member of the public. NE Act, sec. 20(5). However, the EIA Regulations state that the EIA is to be made available to the public "on such terms as [NEMA] considers necessary." EIA Regulations, sec 29(2). One practitioner notes that EIAs are written in English, which a majority of people may not understand.
Final EIA Locations: 
Library
Final EIA Locations: 
Agency or ministry office
Final EIA Locations: 
Local government office
Fee to View EIA Documents: 
Yes
Fee to Obtain EIA Documents: 
Yes
Availability of Reference Studies: 
Yes
Availability of Reference Studies Detail: 
"Subject to article 41 of the Constitution and subsection (3) of section 85 of the Act, any project brief, environmental impact review report, environmental impact evaluation report, environmental impact statement, terms of reference, public comments, report of the presiding officer at a public hearing or any other information submitted to the Executive Director or the Technical Committee under these regulations shall be public documents." EIA Regulations, sec. 29; see also NE Act, sec. 85(1). Proprietary information may be withheld if the project developer requests and the Executive Director agrees that the information qualifies as proprietary. EIA Regulations, sec. 30
Public Notice of Final Decision: 
No
Public Notice of Final Decision Detail: 
The Executive Director of NEMA is only required to communicate the decision to the project proponent. EIA Regulations, sec. 25(2).
Public Participation
Public Scoping: 
Yes
Public Scoping Detail: 
The developer "shall take all measures necessary to seek the views of the people in the communities which may be affected by the project during the process of conducting the study," including publicizing the project and its anticipated effects and benefits for a period of fourteen days. After fourteen days, the developer shall hold meetings with the affected communities to explain the project and its effects. See EIA Regulations, sec. 12.
Public Review of TOR: 
No
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Scoping
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Public meetings and/or public hearings
Public Participation Opportunities: 
Review of final EIA
Public Meetings: 
Yes
Public Meetings Detail: 
The project proponent must hold a public meeting prior to finalizing the EIA study. (See: Scoping) In addition, after the EIA is submitted to NEMA, the Executive Director must call a hearing if the project is controversial, may have transboundary impact, or if the Executive Director believes a hearing is necessary for the protection of the environment and the promotion of good governance. EIA Regulations, secs. 21 & 22
Public Input at Meeting: 
Yes
Public Input at Meeting Detail: 
"Any person may attend either in person or through a representative and make presentations at a public hearing provided that the presiding officer shall have the right to disallow frivolous and vexatious presentations which lead to the abuse of the hearing." EIA Regulations, sec. 23(1)
Criteria to Hold Public Meeting: 
Public meeting and/or hearing is automatically required
Criteria to Hold Public Meeting: 
The proposed project is controversial
Criteria to Hold Public Meeting: 
Ministry or agency has discretion to decide whether to hold a meeting and/or hearing
Criteria to Hold Public Meeting: 
Other
Days for Public to Review Draft EIA: 
N/A
Days for Public to Review Final EIA: 
21 (affected individuals) or 28 (general public)
Public Comments on Draft EIA: 
No
Public Comments on Final EIA: 
Yes
Public Comments on Final EIA Detail: 
The public is provided 28 days to comment on the EIA. EIA Regulations, sec. 19(4)
Response to Public Comments: 
Yes
Response to Public Comments Detail: 
The NEMA Executive Director shall consider all comments received in determining whether a public hearing will be held. EIA Regulations, sec. 21(1). The Executive Director shall also consider any comments when making a decision regarding an EIA. EIA Regulations, sec. 24(1)(b)
Facilitation of Public Participation: 
Yes
Facilitation of Public Participation Detail: 
The EIA Regulations require NEMA to solicit comments from persons who are most likely to be affected by the proposed project. The invitation to comment on the project and EIA must be accomplished through mass media and through local governments, and "shall be in languages understood by the majority of the affected persons." Interesting, the regulations state that comments must be received within 21 days of the invitation whereas the general public is permitted 28 days to comment. Compare EIA Regulations, sec. 19(4) with sec. 20(4). Also, although the invitation to comment may be written in a local language, EIAs are written in English and may not be understood by a majority of people who could be affected by a project.
Judicial Review/Enforcement
Citizen Administrative Review: 
No
Citizen Administrative Review Detail: 
See judicial review.
Citizen Judicial Review: 
Yes
Citizen Judicial Review Detail: 
"[A]ny person who is aggrieved by any decision by any decision of the Executive Director may, within thirty days of the decision, appeal to the High Court." EIA Regulations, sec. 38(1)
Project Monitoring: 
Yes
Project Monitoring Detail: 
The developer is required to conduct an audit between 12 and 36 months after completion of the project or commencement of operations. EIA Regulations, sec. 31. an inspector may enter the land or facility to determine if the predictions made in the project brief or EIA are being complied with, and may inspect records. EIA Regulations, sec. 32. Any member of the public may petition NEMA to undertake an audit. The petition must show reasonable cause. EIA Regulations, sec. 32(3). See also NE Act, sec. 22 (describing audit process) and The National Environment (Audit) Regulations, 2006 (available at http://www.nema-ug.org/regulations/audit_regulations.pdf). Audits may be performed by certified and registered consultants.
Enforceability of EIA: 
No
Enforceability of EIA Detail: 
Only the Executive Director may require the developer to take specific mitigation measures to ensure compliance. EIA Regulations, sec. 33(1). Also, an environmental inspector may issue an improvement notice and commence appropriate criminal or civil proceedings. EIA Regulations, sec. 33(3).
Enforceability of Permit: 
No
Enforceability of Permit Detail: 
Only the Executive Director may require the developer to take specific mitigation measures to ensure compliance. EIA Regulations, sec. 33(1). Also, an environmental inspector may issue an improvement notice and commence appropriate criminal or civil proceedings. EIA Regulations, sec. 33(3).
   Updated 24 Dec, 2015