Ugandan High Court grants application to intervene in deforestation and climate change case

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On the 24th June, the Ugandan High Court granted an application to intervene in a potentially seminal case on deforestation brought by Greenwatch.

The challenge is one brought by the Ugandan NGO, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) in response to state policies allowing for the loss of immense swathes of Ugandan forest and woodland cover since the 1980s, with over 2.5% of remaining cover lost every year.

In their remarks, the judge sought recommendations on the factors that affect biodiversity loss and underlined the impact of deforestation to indigenous communities. Landmark’s Alex Goodman KC and Yaaser Vanderman drafted the amicus curiae in this case, citing research by King’s College Human Rights and Environmental Legal Clinic. They acted on behalf of NAPE, and were instructed pro bono by King’s College Legal Clinic.

The amicus included an expert opinion on deforestation in Uganda and made arguments regarding the Paris Agreement and the public trust doctrine. Here, NAPE relied on the public trust doctrine to argue that the Ugandan government holds the forest on trust for the benefit of Ugandan citizens. The amicus also addressed the Ugandan constitutional right to a healthy environment and international jurisprudence on the right to life in relation to environmental protection.

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