Uganda oil project critics pay a visit to the Vatican to solicit the Pope’s backing.
On Wednesday, environmental campaigners attempting to halt a massive oil pipeline project in Uganda shared their concerns with the Vatican in order to get Pope Francis’ public backing.
The $10 billion contract agreed last month by Chinese and French oil companies to unleash Uganda’s energy riches has enraged environmentalists, who fear it risks destroying one of the world’s most biodiverse areas.
“We need clean energy and a green economy that is good for people and employs a lot of people,” said Maxwell Atuhura, a member of AFIEGO, Uganda’s top environmental organization.
On Wednesday, Atuhura and three other activists met with Vatican authorities to discuss the pipeline.
“The Pope is often regarded as one of the most powerful persons on the planet. He can assist us in amplifying this message “Atuhura paid a visit to the United Nations in Geneva on Monday as part of a European awareness trip.
The agreement announced by TotalEnergies in France and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation in China could open the way for the export of millions of barrels of black gold found in Uganda in 2006.
Supporters claim it would provide a significant economic boost to the landlocked East African nation, where many people live in poverty.
Others, however, argue that it would jeopardize the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people and may harm Africa’s delicate ecosystems.
According to the team visiting the Vatican, it might result in the relocation of 14,000 households, as well as the contamination of 40 million people’s drinking water and the destruction of their natural environment.
Pope Francis, who is especially concerned with environmental issues, has often condemned human and natural resource exploitation.