• Isaiah Owiunji

Student thesis: Phd


AbstractIsaiah Owiunji, University of ManchesterThesis Title: Petroleum Development and Biodiversity Conservation in the Protected Areas of the Albertine Graben in Uganda: Can they Co-exist?The co-existence of oil and gas development and biodiversity conservation in protected areas is a worldwide challenge because of the risks posed by petroleum development in sensitive ecosystems. This research focuses on the relationship between petroleum development and biodiversity conservation in protected areas of the Ugandan Albertine Graben, to establish how these two sectors with different goals can co-exist without one sector significantly compromising the other. In 2006, Uganda confirmed the existence of commercially viable quantities of oil and gas in the Albertine Graben and, given Uganda's overwhelming energy needs and pressure for economic development, started to develop these resources. However, the area is also identified as a region of great importance for biodiversity conservation and is designated as a Biodiversity Hotspot, Ecoregion and Endemic Bird Area. Petroleum development has started to show impacts on wildlife, tourism, agriculture, fisheries, culture and communities. The research drew on the Driver, Pressure, State, Impact and Response (DPSIR) concept to identify the impacts of petroleum development and the wider issues that impact on biodiversity management and affect the livelihoods of communities living in and around the exploration areas. Data sources included literature, document analysis, field observations, focus groups and interviews. During the study 41 interviews involving 52 people from central and local government, private sector, non-governmental organisations, consultant and member of parliament; one focus group each in eight of the villages in the exploration areas were undertaken.The study examined current strategies to address the emerging issues of petroleum development and identified their limitations. It highlights the roles of stakeholders in developing and influencing responses in the management of the petroleum development, and makes recommendations for addressing the weaknesses currently not covered by the legislation and environmental management practices. A number of recommendations are made to ensure co-existence, including implementation of legal and regulatory frameworks, development of efficient and effective institutions to enforce and monitor the laws and regulations, maintenance of ecological integrity of protected areas and sensitive ecosystems, improving the effectivenes of environmental management tools for decision making, creating an enabling environment for participation of all stakeholders in the process, and promoting good governance. In addition, the co-existence between petroleum development and biodiversity conservation can be realised if more resources are committed by Government, NGOs, private sector for the environment sector, that there is political will to champion biodiversity conservation, a transparent decision making process, and stringent operating practices. Finally, all key stakeholders need to play a role in the petroleum development process and biodiversity conservation.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCarys Jones (Supervisor) & Richard Kingston (Supervisor)


  • Petroleum Development, Biodiversity Conservation, Protected Areas, Albertine Graben, Uganda, Legislation, Capacity Building, Impacts

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