SEATINI Uganda Engages the Youth on Climate Justice and the Energy Charter Treaty in Investment Governance
International Investment Agreements (IIAs) such as the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) are silent on issues concerning Human Rights and Environmental protection. As a result, the Treaty has become increasingly controversial and undermines the States democracy to implement policies that mitigate climate change, promote human rights and provide universal access to energy.
On 25th March 2022 SEATINI Uganda with financial support from Transnational Institute (TNI) organized a youth dialogue on climate justice and its nexus with trade and investment governance. The dialogue that was held at Kampala International University provided a platform for the youth to deepen their knowledge on climate change justice and its linkage with trade and investment. This dialogue was aimed at building a strong coalition of youth activists to interrogate the legitimacy of the Energy Charter Treaty and Uganda’s accession.
During the dialogue, Ms Brenda Akankunda, Policy Analyst, Trade, Investment and Development noted that we can cannot talk about investment and leave out climate change given the impact of investment on the environment.
She highlighted some of the impacts of climate change which included; food insecurity, water insecurity, climate migrants, loss of human life and extreme poverty. Other health impacts include; challenges of malnutrition, biodiversity loss and water and sanitation challenges where as for the economic impacts, we look at loss of some cash crops, reduced water for production and increased expenditures on food imports
Some of the environmental justice demands highlighted included;
- The need for right of all people to have access to affordable and sustainable energy
- Right of all workers employed in extractive, fossil fuels and Greenhouse gas producing industries to have a safe and healthy working environment
- Fossil fuels be held strictly liable for all past and current life cycle impacts relating to the production of greenhouse gas and associated local pollutants.
During her presentation, Ms Brenda Akankunda recommended the need to incorporate the principles of climate justice within the domestic legal frameworks, hold corporations accountable especially when it comes to violations of human and environmental rights. She further called for the need to have a binding treaty at the global level to address climate change.
At the end of the dialogue, the youth were called upon to interest themselves in discussions regarding climate change and also make their voices heard and join CSOs in collective action against the Energy Charter Treaty given its implications on African Countries like Uganda.