Dr. Giuliano Martiniello, assistant professor in Rural Community Development (RCODE) program, was an invited speaker at the international conference on “Environmental Politics - Environmental Justice in Northern Uganda & the East Africa Region.” The conference (July 16-17) was co-organized by the University of Cambridge, Makerere University, Gulu University, and Human Rights Focus. Dr. Martiniello presented a paper entitled: “The expanding sugar frontier in Northern Uganda: social and ecological implications”.
The paper discussed the boom in large-scale plantations of sugarcane in Uganda, which are resulting in conflicts between investors and communities as investments take place on communally owned land. The presentation showed that, despite sugarcane cultivation being seen as a green commodity due to its multiple uses in bio-ethanol and green electricity, there are massive ecological implications to its cultivation that include deforestation, air and water pollution, and soil deterioration.
The conference goal was to better understand the relationship between the prospects and challenges to rural development presented by such ecological transformations. Dr. Martiniello initiated the idea of using such a conference, which hosted talented African students and researchers, to advertise the RCODE program at FAFS. The audience included scholars, graduate students, civil society organizations, policy makers.