"Bridging the gaps in Public Participation"  15-16 November 2011, Speke Resort, Munyonyo, Hotel, Kampala, Uganda.
NBD would like to commend the NEL countries for embarking on developing a regional power master plan involving a series of interconnections lined up for countries in the Nile river basin region. Countries within the NEL sub-region are Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda; however, they are part of a larger network, the Nile Basin Discourse that operates in 10 countries across the Nile basin. In spite of the commitment of NEL countries in regard to the various regional interconnection projects, at specific country levels; national assessments reveal that a number of gaps still exist in the projects' implementation processes.

It is against this background that NBD has organized a national forum under the theme "Bridging the gaps in public participation" scheduled for 15th-16th November 2011 at Munyonyo (Uganda) with the objectives of; promoting an open and public platform for enhancing dialogue with governments on power development and trade among Nile basin countries; providing a learning environment for civil society actors to understand the nuances of legal, regulatory and pricing regimes for regional power generation, transmission and trade; and lastly to identify regional points of action on how best community benefit sharing mechanisms can be mainstreamed into the NELSAP projects.

The forum will amongst others be attended by regional and national policy makers, representatives from civil society within and outside NBD, NBI, development partners, community leaders, the media, private sector and private utility companies. Previously there has been limited regional trade in electricity in the NEL sub-region. For instance, Uganda exporting power to Kenya from the Owen Falls power station (150MW), the Ruzizi project in DRC exporting power to Burundi and Rwanda. Hence the forum will focus more on power interconnection projects of all the NEL countries; The Rusumo falls hydroelectric project, the proposed construction of 220KV double circuit transmission line from Bujagali via Tororo substation to the Uganda-Kenya border, the Kenya-Tanzania power interconnection, the Iringa-Mbeya transmission line in Tanzania and Uganda, the Uganda-DRC (Beni-Bunia) power transmission lines among others.

NBD stresses its commitment to work cooperatively with NEL governments and all concerned stakeholders to support continued discourse and promote power trade so as to create a regional power market through development of regional power infrastructure and ensure establishment of rules and procedures for power exchange.

Note to the Editor:
Water and energy are an integral component of development and trade and this will be a key focus of the forum. Further more, it is worth noting that the Nile Basin region's recent positive economic performance and Africa as a whole as well the projected economic growth will result into an increasing energy demand. Ultimately, it has become vital to implement concrete measures to end power insecurity and to set the region on a reliable and sustainable energy path.
However, there are challenges to power interconnection projects. For instance; modalities for land acquisition and compensation (property valuation and resettlement) have previously been agreed on unilaterally and local communities rarely get timely updates on project implementation status. In addition, grievance mechanisms are weak which implies that the fundamental principle of public participation will help victims of a project to have a right of say in the decisions determining how it is developed.

Nile Basin Discourse
Box 185, Entebbe, Uganda
Tel +256 414 322 432
Fax: +256 414 323 930
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.nilebasindiscourse.org

The Nile Basin Discourse (NBD) is a dynamic civil society network with over 1200 member and partner organizations within the Nile Basin region. The NBD is registered in Uganda as a regional NGO with a Secretariat in Entebbe and 10 National Discourse Forums (NDFs) operating in the ten riparian States (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) that share the Nile. These NDFs are networks that have established critical national and regional level partnerships with NBI and other partners. The NDFs reflect a very broad constituency of civil society across the basin. NBD network provides knowledge and builds capacity to strengthen the voice of civil society organizations within the Nile Basin region. NBDs networking approach has provided a mechanism for coordinated action and has added value to the work of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and other key development partners.

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