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The Civil Society Coalition for Oil (CSCO) is a network of more than 40 civil society organizations that aim “to maximize the benefits to the people of Uganda from oil and gas discoveries by promoting social, economic and environmental sustainability in exploration and production activities.”
The coalition was formed in February, 2008 when a number of NGOs convened to prepare comments on environmental impact assessments related to oil exploration and a proposed ‘early production scheme’ in the Kaiso-Tonya valley.
Since then, CSCO has met frequently with oil companies and government departments to present a civil society perspective on oil and gas development. It has hosted numerous forums to share knowledge and promote discussion around oil issues, and has held training and capacity building workshops for member organizations and for community groups in areas of the country directly affected by oil exploration.
In 2010, in association with UK-based NGO, PLATFORM, the coalition published a strong critique of production sharing agreements that the government of Uganda had signed with international oil companies. This influential document received wide attention and stimulated demands for greater transparency in the oil sector.
In March, 2012, CSCO convened, together with the Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change, a meeting of MPs, activists and researchers to discuss two petroleum bills that had been tabled in parliament and passed to the parliamentary Natural Resources Committee for review. MPs who sit on the committee had the opportunity to hear and discuss analysis of the bills presented by CSCO members and partners.
CSCO defines its objectives as:
“To create a forum in which members can share information, plan and strategize together for purposes of conducting joint advocacy and engaging with government agencies, companies and the media as well as facilitating a two-way access and exchange of information and other resources between members working at different levels.
“To maximize individual organizations’ potential to sensitize and inform an ever-widening constituency of stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities presented by oil and gas.
“To strengthen capacity building networks which disseminate and build expertise across relevant advocacy areas.”
The coalition’s activities are coordinated by a five-person Steering Committee, elected by a General Assembly of members. The CSCO’s current Chairperson is Henry Bazira, who also serves as Executive Director of one the coalition’s member organisations, the Water Governance Institute. He can be contacted at: watergovinst[at]gmail.com
Another member organization, ACODE (Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment), serves as CSCO’s host, provides office, meeting space and secretariat support to the Coalition. This work is coordinated by Tony Okao Otoa, who can be contacted at: tony.otoa[at]acode-u.org