Effectiveness of Esia in minimising environmental and social impacts: a case study of oil and gas exploration in the Albertine region of Uganda
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Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) is important component in the global environment and plays a key role in ensuring sustainable management of our natural resources. I t is regarded as a national instrument that shall be undertaken for proposed activities that are likely to have a signiﬁcant adverse impact on the environment. The study was set out with the to ascertain the role of Environmental Impact assessment in minimizing the potential and present environmental impacts in the Albertine region of Uganda with the overall objective of assess the influence of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment on decision making to minimize the hazardous impacts in the oil and gas exploration in the Albertine region of Uganda. And the specific objectives included assessing if the ESIA process was comprehensive, identifying the actual activities on ground that contributes to long-term sustainability of the project and lastly identifying what can be changed in the ESIA to process to ensure effective minimization of the impacts. The study was qualitative and a total of ninety respondents were obtained from two villages. The results showed that the ESIA process was mainly based on environmental aspects hence not being comprehensive as the process did not consider much of the social, economic and cultural aspects. The respondents were also a view that that ESIA’s potential to minimize impacts is strong on paper and weak in the implementation, due to human capacity constraints, the failure for the ESIA consultants to be transparent to avoid bias in developers’ favor (The government). And for ensuring the ESIA minimize impacts, he local leader and people should be fully engaged with the specialists to ensure involvement and participation so as people’s views on the impacts are captured to the fullest; NEMA should in the long run set up a provision where international Environmental auditors (Third-party) make audits of the ESIA process while in the short run Individual feasibility studies of sectorial areas on different aspects should be carried out so as to see if the project is worth pursuing from the beginning and lastly there is need for enforcement of monitoring during the construction and more importantly during the operational stage should be considered as the crucial factor in ESIA process as ESIA success depends on enforcement to pass from the theoretical stage to the practical stage and actually achieve its objectives.