Alex Bataamba Muhweezi
A Mediator/Dialogue Facilitator
Alex Muhweezi is an ecologist (MSc) with 25 years of working experience in field of environmental management in Uganda and eastern Africa region. Since April 2008, Mr. Muhweezi established and manages Future Dialogues International, a Kampala based Consulting firm that focuses of promoting dialogue a tool for facilitating efforts geared towards achieving sustainable development.
Since July 2009, Mr. Muhweezi serves as a part-time Lecturer to Post Graduate Students in Environment at Makerere University, Kampala.
Since 2012, Mr. Muhweezi is a member of Africa Mediation Association.
Mr. Muhweezi professional experiences include research, environment and natural resources planning, environment policy development, policy analysis, institutional building and development, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, facilitation, dialogue facilitator and conflict management.
Alex Muhweezi believes that sustainable development efforts have often been disrupted by differences in opinions, mandates, knowledge levels, information levels, communication, preparedness and lack of appropriate platforms to discourse and plan together for common strategies and action.
Investments in sustainable development have not achieved the intended impacts and outcomes largely because of conflicts in mandates, opinions and practices. Intended impacts and outcomes have been curtailed because synergies and complementary roles and mandates have not been fully at work or energies have been spent to undo each other through competition, criticism, sabotage, lack of cooperation and un-readiness to learn and share experiences.
Since 2008, Alex Muhweezi established a consulting firm, Future Dialogue International Ltd, which applies “Dialogue” as a tool for addressing sustainable development challenges. Dialogue is applied broadly to encompass efforts that are geared towards facilitating institutional and policy level preparations for engaging in sustainable development initiatives. Dialogue is also applied in assessing performance and impacts and using the outcomes of these assessments to learn and share lessons and experiences for informing future investments. Dialogue has been applied to manage conflicts and resolve conflicts between to investment projects and communities.
Future Dialogues International Ltd applies three approaches towards facilitating sustainable development.
a. Knowledge generation: FDI has facilitated generation of evidence based knowledge (baselines, impact assessments, monitoring and evaluation) for informing design and implementation of sustainable development initiatives. FDI has facilitated learning and sharing platforms and discourses utilizing such evidence based knowledge.
b. Empowerment: FDI has facilitated institutional capacity building and preparedness for better performance (programme/project design, natural resources planning, and designing tools for implementation, monitoring and evaluation) and, institutional building (visioning and strategic planning, training and, systems development).
c. Governance: FDI has facilitated creation of harmony within and between policies, legal and institutional frameworks and their implementation processes (policy reviews and assessments, reviewing management systems and processes, development of implementation or management tools and systems (manuals). FDI has facilitated dialogues to resolve conflicts and or disputes.
3. Dialogues processes facilitated by Alex Muhweezi/FDI
a. Facilitating the Uganda Dams and Development Dialogue bringing together government, NGOs and Private Sector into developing Code of Conduct for Dams and Development in Uganda
b. Technical support to the management of conflicts relating to use and access of natural resources from protected areas (national parks, forest reserves and wetlands)
c. Facilitating trans-boundary natural resources management processes and planning as means to creating harmony across borders in shared ecosystems. Processes have been facilitated for Protected Areas ecosystems, Water and River Basins.
4. Recent mediation processes facilitated by Alex Muhweezi/FDI
Mediator (2012- 2013): A Mediation process initiated in March 2012 and facilitated by the European Investment Bank Complaints Mechanism (EIB-CM) involving five Parties namely; Government of Uganda (represented by Ministry of Energy and Minerals Development (MEMD), Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL), National Association of Professional Environmentalist (NAPE), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and European Investment Bank (EIB-CM), has concluded successfully by resolving to repair cracks in 240 buildings within the Bujagali Hydropower Project area in the villages of Wakisi and Budondo sub counties of Buikwe and Jinja districts as the Settlement to the Complaints. The Mediation process was spearheaded by Alex Muhweezi of Future Dialogues International Ltd as an independent Mediator.
The Mediation process considered 842 complainants registered with BEL/SALINI, 105 complaints who petitioned IFC/CAO and 688 complaints who petitioned EIB – CM through NAPE, Counterbalance and Sherpa. In December 2012, the mediation process received an additional 231 complaints from the Associations of the Dam Affected People.
The Mediation process involved five (5) formal meetings of the Mediation Parties, consultations with affected people through their Associations, verification of existence of cracks and distances from cracked building to blasting points, technical appraisal of blasting records, estimated costs for conducting repairs and, assessment of socio-political issues pertaining to the complaints.
The Mediation process took into account the following principles in order to conclude the settlement of the complaints:
a. Technical merits of blasting effects: Mediation Parties noted that the blasting standards that were approved for use in Uganda were complied with by BEL and the likely effects on buildings in form of formation or propagation of cracks beyond 500m were expected to be minimal or no impacts. In this regard, Mediation Parties adopted the European Blasting Standards for fragile constructions to determine the likely cut off distance where blasting vibration could cause an effect such as cracks on fragile buildings.
b. Social and political landscape in the project area: the Mediation Parties considered the need for ensuring continued harmonious co-existence between the Bujagali HEP and neighbours as well as between the Government of Uganda and its citizens.
On the basis of the above considerations, the Mediation process concluded that complainants of alleged cracks on buildings whose names appeared in the three registers and whose locations fall within a distance of 1.8km from the blasting points would be eligible for settlement. Further, Mediation process recommended in kind settlement in form of repairing cracks of the approved buildings.
The Government of Uganda approved a budget for supporting repairs of approved cracks as a Bujagali project cost. The implementation of the mediation settlement is underway and Mediation Parties will monitor the implementation and ensure effective and transparent implementation.