Uganda: Agri-Vie-01/Kiboga (Luwunga)
Affected community representatives, Oxfam International, Oxfam Great Britain, and Uganda Land Alliance
Displacement from land, impacts to property, livelihood concerns, and project due diligence
The IFC-supported Agri-Vie Agribusiness Fund is a private equity fund with investments in agribusiness companies in Southern and Eastern Africa. In its current portfolio, Agri-Vie has invested in New Forests Company (NFC), a UK-based forestry company operating established and growing timber plantations in Eastern Africa. Operational in Uganda since 2005, NFC operates three pine and eucalyptus plantations in the Mubende, Kiboga, and Bugiri districts respectively.
In December 2011, a complaint was submitted to CAO by five affected community representatives, Oxfam International, Oxfam Great Britain, and the Uganda Land Alliance (a national consortium of organizations advocating on land issues) on behalf of people living around the plantation in Kiboga. The complainants raise concerns about forced evictions and displacement in the plantation area. They contend that the evictions have negatively impacted their communities by displacing them from land, destroying their private property, and forcing them to forgo health, education, and livelihood opportunities. The complaint also voices broader concerns about the due diligence surrounding the project.
CAO found the complaint eligible for further assessment in January 2012. The CAO team traveled to the field in February and March to meet with the relevant stakeholders to explore options for addressing the issues raised in the complaint.
After CAO conducted its assessment, both the representatives of the affected community and NFC indicated their willingness to participate in a dispute resolution process. This is captured in CAO's Assessment Report which was released in April 2012 (available at the links below).
A mediation process aimed at finding an acceptable and workable solution between the affected community and NFC (“parties”) was proposed and accepted. Between April 2012 and mid-2014, CAO conducted extensive bilateral, plenary and caucus sessions with the parties, as well as their advisors (Oxfam) and legal representatives.
The mediation culminated in the parties signing a Final Agreement in May 2014 which represents full and final settlement between the Kiboga Affected Community and NFC on the set of issues set out in the complaint to CAO.
In terms of the Agreement, the parties launched a joint programme of sustainable development aimed at benefiting the affected community. The parties have agreed to the following aspects being made public:
• NFC has undertaken to provide significant support to the KIBOGA TWEGATTE CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD representing the affected community, expanding its social responsibility investment programme to meet some of the specific needs of this community. NFC has also agreed to work closely with the co-operative and its members to build more solid and lasting mutually beneficial relations with the community.
• The Kiboga Affected Community has agreed to respect NFC’s legal rights to operate within the Luwunga Central Forest Reserve, and both NFC and the community have agreed to act lawfully and to engage with each other to develop long-term co-operation and good neighborliness.
• The parties have agreed to work closely together on a range of programmes and projects aimed at the long term sustainable development of the community.
Oxfam, through its Uganda office, provided on-going support to the affected community throughout the CAO mediation process.
This Agreement between NFC and the Kiboga Affected Community concluded the CAO dispute resolution process.
From 2014 to 2018, CAO monitored the parties’ implementation of the terms of the agreement. In March 2015, CAO released a monitoring report, which can be found in the "Documents" link below, together with all other documents related to this case. In August 2018, CAO convened a final closure meeting in Kiboga, Uganda, during which the parties confirmed that all of the complaint issues had been resolved to their satisfaction.
CAO has closed the case following monitoring of the agreement reached by the parties. A Conclusion Report summarizing the dispute resolution process is available in English and Luganda under "View Documents" below.
For information on the Mubende Kiboga community complaint regarding Agri-Vie, see case "Uganda/Agri-Vie Fund-02/Mubende".
Status as of December 14, 2018