Independent Review Exposes Flaws in Land Acquisition Process for the Wadelai Irrigation Scheme Project in Uganda

IAP with members of UCCA meeting the complainants to discuss the Draft Management Action Plan from the management of the African Development Bank

Communities’ demands and priorities are heard at last! The Paten Clan community finally has been asserting their right to land in the face of forceful land acquisition for the Wadelai Irrigation Scheme Project. This followed protracted discussions between the Paten community and the governments, companies and investors of the Farm Income Enhancement and Forestry Conservation project in Uganda aimed at seeking community consent to land acquisition for infrastructure development and agri-business.

For two years, the Paten Clan community in Uganda’s Pakwach District fought against the unfair seizure of their land for the Wadelai Irrigation project. The Wadelai Irrigation Scheme is one of the four irrigation schemes under the African Development Banks’ Farm Income Enhancement and Forestry Conservation Project (FIEFOC-2). Despite repeated attempts to meet with the project’s ministry, their pleas were ignored. Left with no voice, the Paten community took action: they sued the project leaders, the local government, and the construction company. Additionally, they filed a complaint with the African Development Bank to stop the land grab.

Fearing forceful land seizure by government security forces, the Paten community then sought help from civil society groups. With guidance from the International Accountability Project (IAP) and the Uganda Consortium on Corporate Accountability (UCCA), they filed a complaint with the African Development Bank’s Independent Recourse Mechanism (IRM). IAP further secured international support, including financial resources and petitions, from the Coalition for Human Rights in Development and others, to pressure the African Development Bank and Nordic Development Fund.

Read more: Heard at last: Project suspended for a community in Uganda to negotiate with government and investors

The intervention of the African Development Bank’s IRM through a complaint raised by the Paten Community has eventually culminated in a compliance report. It highlights a lack of meaningful consultations with the Paten Clan community over the use of their land, the absence of an assessment of the socioeconomic impacts of the project on the community, and the failure to get consent from the Paten Clan community to use their community land.

IAP will continue to support the Paten Clan community to seek remedies for harm occasioned by the actions of the project implementers. This is through contributing to the development of a Management Action Plan by the Bank’s Management that proposes actions that address concerns raised in the compliance report and requires the Bank to strengthen its due diligence function.

Uganda Coalition for Corporate Accountability produced a short video about the community-led response of the Paten Clan in Uganda.

Get details on IAP’s support for the Paten Clan community: john@accountabilityproject.org

For a full history of the case including background documents and the summary decision please click here.

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International Accountability Project (IAP)

IAP is a human and environmental rights organization that works with communities, civil society and social movements to change how today’s development is done.