The newly launched Tilenga Biodiversity Program by TotalEnergies EP Uganda is aimed at protecting and conserving biodiversity in and around the Tilenga project area.
The program which was launched on Wednesday is hinged on four key pillars; Reducing human pressures and strengthening the ecological resilience of the Murchison Falls protected area through enhanced park protection and community-based management such as supporting alternative livelihoods.
Implementing conservation and restoration measures for forests and their connectivity targeting the protection of 10,000 hectares of a natural forest threatened with deforestation and restoration of 1,000 hectares of tropical forest.
Protecting and maintaining the connectivity of habitats in the savannah and in the proximity of the Bugungu Natural Reserve by addressing threats within and around the Reserve and developing schemes to support diversification of livelihoods and reduce dependency on Bugungu Natural Reserve, and
Working with the host community to manage and restore wetlands along the southern bank of Lake Albert through community-based management initiatives
Speaking during the launch, Philippe Groueix General Manager TotalEnergies EP Uganda said, “We are mindful of the sensitive context within which we are undertaking our activities. We have thus made a commitment to ensure that we implement action plans designed to produce a net positive impact on biodiversity. The biodiversity program will ensure a sustainable approach in working with the community towards protecting and conserving the ecologically rich area in and around the Murchison Falls Conservation Area.”
Now, this approach involves the implementation of conservation and community awareness initiatives, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to achieve biodiversity gains above baseline conditions. The program has been developed in close collaboration with Government agencies and reviewed by international experts.
“We thank all our partners on this program, it is through these joint collaborations and consultations that we have been able to develop a robust plan to ensure that oil development activities are undertaken and can co-exist harmoniously with the environment and biodiversity. Our overall mission is to leave the environment in better condition than if the project had not taken place.” Mr Groueix added.
Dr Barirega Akankwasah, Executive Director NEMA commended Total Energies for their efforts towards applying the Mitigation Hierarchy (Avoid, Minimize, Restore, and finally Offset) in relation to the unavoidable significant residual impacts that can/may arise from the implementation of the Tilenga Project.
“NEMA welcomes the initiative towards offsetting the significant residual impacts of the Tilenga project. NEMA in collaboration with relevant lead agencies will ensure that the Net Gain programme is implemented in accordance with the provisions of the National Environment Act 2019; the National Environment (Environmental and Social Assessment) Regulations of 2020 on biodiversity offset,” said Dr Barirega.
He called upon TotalEnergies to demonstrate that the proposed approach and/or conservation actions will result in tangible and measurable conservation outcomes that would not have been achieved were the proposed mechanism not to be implemented; thus demonstrate additionally.
“We hope that the interventions by TotalEnergies under this program shall be clear and distinguishable and not overlap with the mandates and functions or work of various institutions such as the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and the National Forestry Authority, among others,” he added.