I am delighted to participate this week in the First Regional Forum of SIRD in Arusha, Tanzania: Towards Transparency, Gender Sensitivity and Accountability. Warm congratulations to SIRD on organizing a very successful First Forum.
I was honoured to be invited to join a distinguished faculty of speakers from the CBA and East African Law Societies to speak yesterday on the topic: Building an effective and Gender-Sensitive Environmental Management System
Supporting Inclusive Resource Development in East Africa (SIRD) is a five year project, funded by Global Affairs Canada, and implemented by the CBA in partnership with law societies in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The ultimate objective of SIRD is to increase sustainable economic growth for East Africans, in particular women and vulnerable groups, affected by extractive industries. The project has two expected Intermediate Outcomes:
- Increased engagement of East African law societies to advocate for law reform to reflect the principles of transparency, gender sensitivity and accountability in the extractive industries.
- Increased community participation, particularly women, in consultations, dialogue, negotiations, advocacy and other initiatives to advance their rights related to the extractive industries.
In recent years, countries in East Africa have seen the expansion of their extractive industries, with new discoveries of oil, gas and minerals. As the extractive sector continues to grow, a key concern for East African citizens is how to avoid the ‘resource curse’ or the ‘paradox of plenty’, whereby an abundance of natural resource wealth incites civil conflict, reduces government transparency and accountability, and undermines economic growth. Extractive industries have the potential to contribute substantially to economic growth and social development; however equitable distribution of economic and social benefits requires responsible governance of the sector. In particular, extractive operations have legal, social, economic and environmental impacts on communities, which affect women and men differently. In many countries, women and girls are disproportionately exposed to greater risks associated with extractive operations, while they receive fewer of the benefits.
In line with Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy, the SIRD project has adapted its scope to focus on the effects of the extractive industry on women in particular. As the sector remains a male-dominated industry as compared to the other industries in Africa, it is important to provide support to women, to include them in consultations, negotiations and decision making, and to ensure that they share in the benefits of the extractive industry.
Manning Environmental Law is a Canadian law firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Our practice is focussed on environmental law, energy law and aboriginal law.
Paul Manning is a certified specialist in environmental law. He has been named as one of the World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers and one of the World’s Leading Climate Change Lawyers by Who’s Who Legal.
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