Uganda: Regional Court Throws Out Multi-Billion EACOP Challenge

Harare — On Wednesday, November 29, 2023, a regional court reportedly dismissed a legal challenge to a multibillion-dollar oil pipeline project between Tanzania and Uganda, which has drawn criticism from human rights and environmental organisations.

Several civil society groups filed a challenge, but the East African Court of Justice ruled that it was submitted too late. The 2020 case “cannot be adjudicated upon for having been filed outside the time period prescribed,” according to a five-judge bench at the court located in the Tanzanian town of Arusha.

The pipeline is a component of a U.S.$10 billion project to develop Ugandan oilfields and transport the petroleum to Tanzania, which is being spearheaded by the French energy company TotalEnergies.

There would be detrimental socioeconomic and environmental effects on communities as a result of the project. Environmentalists are protesting against the dangers the pipeline poses to the climate, vulnerable ecosystems, and livelihoods. Resistance from local residents and climate activists, the pipeline – which is scheduled to extend from Hoima, Uganda, to Tanga, Tanzania – became the focus of debate worldwide. Activists who are part of the Stop EACOP coalition, have been unrelenting in their call on financial institutions to distance themselves from the proposed pipeline, resulting in 24 commercial banks and 18 (re)insurers committing to not supporting the project.

Experts say the pipeline will produce 25 times host nations’ combined annual emissions, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) warning that the world risked not meeting its climate goals if new fossil fuel projects were not stopped.