By Prince Papa
Program Coordinator, Africa
Global Catholic Climate Movement

Just a day after a critical mass of over 260 civil society organizations signed a letter to various financial institutions, including the Standard Bank of South Africa, asking them not to finance the proposed East African Crude oil Pipeline (EACOP), Archbishop Stephen Brislin, the Liaison Bishop for Denis Hurley Peace Institute in South Africa, issued a statement, calling on the financial institutions to “ …rethink on their decision to invest either directly or indirectly…” in the proposed pipeline.

Archbishop Brislin stressed the urgent need for people of faith to act with solidarity in caring for creation and protecting the vulnerable members of the community.

His strong statement adds to that of Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect for the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. In 2019, Cardinal Turkson, while marking the fourth anniversary of Laudato Si’ in Nairobi’s UNEP headquarters, termed EACOP “a worrisome destructive project” that will exacerbate the climate crisis.

In his statement, Archbishop Brislin pointed out the urgent need to develop policies that will ensure a drastic reduction in carbon emissions.

He asked financial institutions to initiate and implement environmentally-conscious policies. He also called on the Ugandan government and other EACOP project investors and stakeholders to redirect their resources to the renewable energy sector.

The proposed EACOP will be 1,445 kilometers long and electrically heated. The proposed pipeline will run from Uganda’s Hoima region to Tanzania’s port of Tanga.

An independent report on EACOP, conducted by Friends of The Earth and Survie, highlighted “an alarming rise in human rights violations in Uganda and Tanzania.”

Jim the photographer

Various CSOs and other environmental groups both at the local and global level have continued to put pressure on the East African governments to abandon this project and choose to invest in a more resilient economy, one that supports renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.

In France, Total, the major partner in the EACOP project, is facing a lawsuit, while in Uganda there is a local court case challenging the project. Another case has been filed in the East African court of Justice to try and stop EACO