SEATINI, TNI AND Both ENDS HOLD A VIRTUAL CIVIL SOCIETY POLICY ENGAGEMENT ON THE ENERGY CHARTER TREATY
On 15th July 2021, SEATINI Uganda in partnership with the Transnational Institute and Both Ends organized a virtual Civil Society Policy Engagement on Africa’s accession to the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). The Civil Society Policy Engagement was intended to examine and share perspectives regarding the implications of joining the ECT and to further discuss the available alternatives that governments can explore rather than joining the ECT.
While giving her remarks, Ms. Jane Nalunga, the Executive Director at SEATINI Uganda observed that a number of trade and investment related treaties and agreements are signed at national, regional and global levels without being debated by relevant stakeholders. She further stressed that such policies are likely to drown the country into expensive lawsuits by the investors.
On the otherhand, Ms. Lucia Barcena, Project Officer at TNI while giving her presentation indicated that countries have been convinced by the secretariat that once they join the treaty, they will be able to attract more foreign investment in the Energy sector especially in renewable energy. However, this is a false promise because the treaty doesn’t mention it anywhere.
Ms. Brenda Akankunda, the Program Officer, Investment for Sustainable Development at SEATINI Uganda while giving a presentation implored African governments to focus on renegotiating their existing Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) to avoid being sued for large sums of money.
Hon. Lawrence Biyika Songa, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change noted that Parliament has a duty to make laws that protect the planet and people. He further questioned African countries and Uganda in particular are rushing to join the ECT.
Hon. Christine Kaaya, the Woman Member of Parliament for Kiboga District noted that there is need to raise awareness and build capacity of relevant stakeholders on the dangers associated with joining the Energy Charter Treaty. She also noted that there is need to engage relevant Ministries such as the Ministry on Environment and Water, Ministry of Trade.
At the end of the policy engagement, participants resolved that there is need to disseminate information concerning the ECT and other treaties among relevant stakeholders so that they clearly understand risks associated with them and how to engage in ongoing processes.