Introduction to the Project
Supporting Inclusive Resource Development in East Africa (SIRD) is a five year project to be implemented by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) in the East Africa region, with a focus on Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, working closely with the law societies in those countries including the East African Law Society at the Regional level with the overall project goal to “increase sustainable economic growth for East Africans, in particular, women and vulnerable groups, affected by extractive industries (EI)”. The project is made possible with the financial contribution of Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
The Project Purpose
To support initiatives that improve the education, understanding and training on laws and legal rights and how these affect women; empowerment of communities, especially women to increase their ability to engage in decisions that impact their rights; and enhanced collaboration among stakeholders on gender-sensitive initiatives that contribute to improving the quality and administration of the regulatory frameworks supporting the Extractive Industries.
SIRD Objectives and Outcomes
The Project's ultimate objective is to increase sustainable economic growth for East Africans, in particular women and vulnerable groups, affected by extractive industries. Recognizing that equitable treatment and equal opportunities for women and girls are fundamental prerequisites for sustainable development, SIRD will integrate gender equality into all programming and apply a gender transformative approach to the implementation of activities. The SIRD theory of change is based on the assumption that to achieve the ultimate outcome, a number of intermediate and immediate outcomes must be reached in order to increase sustainable economic growth for East Africans, especially women.
Project activities will fall under the following outcomes and strategies:
1. 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.
2. Increased community participation, particularly women, in consultations, dialogue, negotiations, advocacy and other initiatives to advance and protect their rights related to the extractive industries.
Rationale for the Project Establishment and Implementation in Uganda by Uganda Law Society
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.
Members of the legal profession are well placed to provide this support. Leveraging Canada’s role as a leader in the extractive industries and recognizing that several of the governments in the region have received support on the governance and regulation of natural resources, the CBA will draw on the experience and expertise of its members to fill a gap by supporting professional skills training and capacity building for the legal profession, civil society and community advocates in Kenya, Tanzanian and Uganda toward increasing transparency, gender sensitivity and accountability in the extractive sector.
SIRD Project Partners at the CBA Regional Forum and CEOs Forum held in Dar-es-Salaam on 2nd December