The SIRD training program aimed to equip a core group of lawyers with knowledge and skills in natural resource management to support inclusive and sustainable resource development in their country. In particular, the program emphasized the legal and economic empowerment of women and communities affected by mining, oil and gas operations. Training participants included lawyers working in civil society, legal aid, community-based agencies, government, and extractive companies. The training program consisted of five modules offered to members of the law societies in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Participants were selected according to criteria that consider, inter alia, their commitment to strengthening gender equity, community engagement, transparency and accountability in the mining, oil and gas sectors.
The sessions were conducted by National trainers in each of the three countries working collaboratively with volunteer Canadian lawyers experienced in the extractive sector in Canada. The National facilitators gave an overview of the national laws, policies and challenges whilst the Canadian facilitator gave a Canadian and international perspective on the same issues and how Canada and other countries have attempted to deal with these issues.
Session One introduced the national extractive industry and examined governance frameworks to support inclusive resource development. It considered the relationship between different legal instruments (constitution, sector laws, regulations, contracts) and possibilities to entrench special protections, e.g. community development, gender equity, environmental protection etc.
Session Two examined the critical relationship between government, extractive companies and host communities and the importance of meaningful engagement. It considered whether existing frameworks and practices in each of the countries were responsive to the needs of communities, women and marginalized groups. It also examined the development outcome of extractive activities and opportunities to ensure that benefits accrue to host communities. While gender has been a cross-cutting issue in all sessions, in Session Two, there was a particular emphasis on women empowerment. The three national gender experts for the SIRD project facilitated sessions in their respective countries on issues facing women in general and specifically in extractive industries.
The third session examined the relationship between land rights and land acquisition, as well as the resulting impacts on land rights and associated concepts of appropriate compensation. It considered the nature of communal and individual land rights in this context, and what compensation and resettlement are appropriate when such land rights are impacted. It also explored dispute resolution mechanisms and practices in addressing disputes.
The impact of resource extraction on the environment and the legal and policy frameworks governing environmental management and protection from the national, regional and international perspectives were examined in Session Four. It explored monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, best practices for environmental impact assessments and strategies for addressing health and safety risks faced by communities and employees affected by extractive industry operations.
The last and fifth session examined the purpose of resource policy, legal frameworks for revenue management, transparency and accountability in the extractives sector. It considered key clauses in resource contracts, anti-corruption enforcement mechanisms, and important mining closure obligations as they impact communities in the environments in which extractive activities take place. The key learnings on inclusive resource development from Modules 1 – 5 of the Training Program were also summarized.