Research theme 4

Sustainable use of natural resources underpins all of our livelihoods, and community well-being. It is an important area of community concern, both domestically and internationally.

Successful management of natural resources involves sound technical practices, good policy, and often most importantly, collaboration between individuals and groups with different interests within a landscape.

It combines environmental, social, economic and policy considerations, considered from local to global scales. Since many of the issues are interdisciplinary in nature, there is need for extensive research in this area to support development policy discussion and enhance the quality of strategies, policies and NRM related operations.

Sub-themes under Natural Resources Management 

4.1 Oil Resources Management

To support the on-going process of putting in place the policy, legal and regulatory framework for oil resource use, EPRC research in this sub-theme shall focus on topical issues in management of oil revenues undertaking vigorous research and analysis of the potential impacts on other sectors of the economy, environment and measures to mitigate against degradation, impact on the social-economic welfare, and providing information on good practices elsewhere.

Research could also critically examine and assess the existing laws and draft legislations with a view of ensuring equity and prudent utilization. To what extent does the oil policy and revenue management strategy address the likely development challenges?  

Local participation in the oil sector is a critical and sensitive issue that require careful balancing. Research in this area may focus on avenues to enhance the "Local Content" in the sector including participation of SMEs and Uganda's workforce. For example, what skills that the country need to develop in order to maximize benefits? In particular, research could help to understand which areas can be developed competitively in the downstream of oil production and which ones could be import substituting.

Through its outreach and networking EPRC work could help in filling the information and communication gaps which exist in the oil sector. This is important not only to manage expectations but enhance the citizens' capacity to demand accountability on a sustainable basis.

4.2 Non-oil Natural Resources and Climate Change

This sub-theme focuses on non-oil natural resources such as forests, climate change issues and other non-oil mineral exploitation. Research could focus on areas related to sustainable natural resource management policies and practices.

  • What are the good practices and lessons which can be emulated from elsewhere and in what contexts are they likely to succeed?
  • What are the incentive structures for the private, public and civil society institutions to take the required actions that would ensure sustainable natural resource management?
  • What is the likely economic and social impact of the acceleration in the natural resource degradation such as forest cover depletion and what measures can be adapted to reverse this trend?
  • What are the gaps in the legal framework and regulations that need to be addressed to ensure sustainable utilization of natural resources?
  • What lessons can be learnt or replicated from the numerous initiatives on climate change, e.g Rio20, and their potential impacts on low income countries like Uganda?

4.3 Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy

Energy sources will continue to be a major factor in economic growth, poverty reduction, and socio-economic transformation. Research in this area will focus on the renewable as well as no-renewable sources, including harnessing hydropower sources and efficiency, solar technologies, and the feasibility of nuclear energy given its safety and international security issues.

These various sources have varied effects and consequences for the economy and the populations. These sources of energy will require research in order to inform policy and on the required safeguard measures that would support a balanced outcome.

4.4 Sustainable Land Use

This thematic area will focus on issues of land use, focusing primarily on the nature of the required land reforms, and improving land productivity and usage. Whereas many studies have been undertaken in this area, EPRC research will be selective, focusing on the critical emerging issues particularly as they relate to the high population growth, land fragmentation and agricultural productivity.

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