How the new Environment Protection Force will work

How the new Environment Protection Force will work

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja (center) flanked by NEMA Executive Director Barirega Akankwasah (left) and Minister of State for Environment Beatrice Anywar (right) in Sironko, Uganda on World Environment Day 2024.

The Ugandan government has launched the Environment Protection Force (EPF), a fully-uniformed paramilitary unit tasked with enforcing environmental laws across the country. The move is aimed at strengthening environmental protection and conservation efforts in Uganda.

Establishment and Training

The EPF was established under Section 25 of the National Environment Act No.5 of 2019, which mandates the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to create a dedicated force for environmental law enforcement. The Force comprises persons appointed by NEMA in consultation with the Uganda Police Force and will be trained by the police.

Functions of the EPF

The EPF will perform various functions, including monitoring and enforcing compliance with environment laws, providing timely and coordinated responses to environmental law enforcement, undertaking 24-hour environmental surveillance, detecting and investigating environmental crimes, arresting individuals suspected of committing environmental offenses, and prosecuting environmental crimes subject to the directions of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Collaboration with Security Agencies

The EPF will work closely with various security agencies, including the Uganda Police Force, the army, the Uganda Wildlife Authority Ranger Force, and the intelligence community.

Launch and Impact

The launch of EPF demonstrates the government’s commitment to effective environmental protection and management. Speaking at the World Environment Day celebrations held at Mafudu Primary School in Sironko District, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja represented President Yoweri K Museveni and emphasized the importance of environmental conservation. The launch of EPF marks a significant milestone in Uganda’s environmental protection journey. With training and equipping underway, the Force is poised to make a significant impact in safeguarding the country’s natural resources and promoting sustainable development.

According to Dr. Barirega Akankwasah, Executive Director of NEMA, the  establishment of the EPF is a significant step towards ensuring that environmental laws are enforced in Uganda.

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