KAMPALA, Uganda: On June 14, 2022, the Conservation, Mitigation, and Biodiversity Offsets (COMBO+) Project, a four-year project (2021—2024) implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society in partnership with Biotope and the Government of Uganda institutions, will be launched at Protea, Hotel- Kampala. The project is supporting the Government of Uganda to ensure Economic development and conservation are balanced through the application of the mitigation hierarchy: avoid and minimize development impacts in Key Biodiversity Areas, restore impacted sites, and finally offset their residual impacts so that biodiversity and people live in harmony. The project aims to achieve this by a) Strengthening policy and governance systems, b) Integrating biodiversity data into decision-making, c) Developing models and institutional mechanisms for offsets, and d) building national capacity to adapt the mitigation hierarchy in project design and implementation. The project is funded by the Agence Française de Developpement (AFD) and the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM).
The first phase of the COMBO Project (2016— 2019) contributed to the review of the National Environment Act of 1995 and provided technical language for Section 115 in the National Environment Act No. 5 of 2019 on the mitigation hierarchy for ensuring No Net Loss of biodiversity. The project also supported the Ministry of Water and Environment to develop the National Biodiversity and Social Offset Strategy. In addition, COMBO has been instrumental in identifying the ‘minimum set’ of required datasets for NNL/NG policy development and implementation, including land use planning for biodiversity conservation. These data sets are now being used to improve project design and implementation, enforce the application of mitigation hierarchy, monitor project developers’ compliance with the environmental laws, and assess the effectiveness of mitigation measures for new development projects.
To integrate biodiversity data into decision-making, the COMBO Project is continuing to work with the relevant stakeholders to enhance the development of tools and guidance for spatial planning. The project aims to collect and fill data gaps, establish a working relationship with institutions hosting platforms for data dissemination, develop ecosystem-based metrics for assessing loss and gain and apply them in at least one landscape. It will also support the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to develop and operationalize a national offsets registry to support effective implementation and monitoring and permanence of outcomes from offsets.
The project intends to support the identification of operational models for successful conservation or restoration actions funded by private and public-sector projects to document best practices and lessons learned from implementing the mitigation hierarchy at the country level.
In addition, the project will build national capacity, including designing a national capacity-building program, training local government staff and other key ministry departments, the private sector companies, and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) practitioners to understand the opportunities and practices for mitigation of impacts and the use of the measurement metrics developed. It will also strengthen civil society platforms, and train the private sector companies, including financial institutions to conduct environment and social impact appraisals of investment projects submitted for financing.
The project will follow international best practices, policies, and methodologies and adapt them for Uganda. Since these international principles and standards have received a widespread review by a range of stakeholders, this approach will facilitate the improved application of the mitigation hierarchy (avoid, mitigate, restore, or rehabilitate and finally offset biodiversity loss).
For more information, contact:
Dr. Simon T Nampindo
Wildlife Conservation Society Plot 802, Kiwufu Road, Kansanga
P.O. Box 7487, Kampala - Uganda Tel: +256 (039) 200-0381
COMBO is an initiative that mainstreams biodiversity conservation into national development policy and practice. COMBO is operating in Guinea, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, and Uganda.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a 125-year-old international conservation organization, which started its operations in Uganda in 1957. WCS’s goal is to conserve the world's largest wild places in 14 priority regions that are home to more than 50% of the world's biodiversity.