The news of discovery of oil, gas and other minerals in various parts of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania has been received with great enthusiasm by both citizens and the governments of the three countries. Experiences from other countries in Africa however indicate that oil, gas and mineral extraction can lead to displacement of communities and the accompanying loss of land rights and livelihoods, widespread environmental degradation, endemic corruption, poor governance and a lack of transparency, a situation that has been termed ‘the natural resource curse’. The good news is that the natural resource curse can be avoided if proper mechanisms for open, accountable and sustainable development in the sector are put in place. Empowering citizens to actively participate in decision and policy making; increasing access to information; improving awareness and appreciation of the legal framework governing the natural resource sector are critical components of creating such mechanisms. It is against this backdrop that ILEG, with the generous support of the Open Society for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) is implementing this two-year project whose main objective is to promote open and accountable governance in the oil, gas and mining sector in East Africa.
The specific objectives of the project are to:-
- Empower East African citizens to take active part in making decisions and policies relating to oil, gas and mining;
- Increase awareness and appreciation of the laws, policies and regulations governing the oil, gas and mining sector in East Africa.
- Increase public access to information relating to oil, gas and mining sector in East Africa.
- Enhance the capacity of Members of Parliament and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in East Africa to promote open and accountable management of oil, gas and mineral resources; and
- Promote open and transparent processes in oil and extractive sector investment projects and decision for socio-economic growth in East Africa.
In order to achieve these goals, ILEG has outlined a series of activities including research on the Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs); education and training to enhance awareness and appreciation of the laws, policies and regulations governing the oil, gas and mining sector in East Africa; and advocacy and outreach to key policy and decision makers.
Community and civil society seminar and experience-sharing workshop on Impacts of oil exploration in Nyakach on local communities
ILEG conducted a two day-community and CSOs seminar and experience-sharing workshop on impacts of oil exploration in Nyakach on local communities. The event took place from September 18th to 19th 2015 at Papyrus Hotel in Katito. The overall goal of the workshop was to empower host communities in Nyakach to be better prepared to harness the opportunities and handle the challenges created by hydrocarbon exploration and development. The seminar brought together over 50 participants drawn from the local community in Nyakach, local Civil society working on land, environment and natural resources in Kisumu and select community representatives from Turkana, Kitui, Kwale and Elgeyo Marakwet. Participants engaged in interactive and stimulating dialogue, representatives from each of the counties sharing their good experiences and warning about pitfalls they have gone through. Participants also heard from industry and sector experts giving their perspectives on effective civic participation and public engagement around the extractive sector. Click here for the workshop report.
New Extractive Sector Forum to facilitate Civil Society-Industry-Academia Engagement in Kenya’s extractive sector
ILEG and several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), CSO networks and academic institutions and companies working on extractive sector issues have come together to create the ‘Extractive Sector Forum’. The forum aims to facilitate regular dialogue and promote cross-sharing of information on on-going extractive sector projects, identify issues of mutual interest and plan how to address them, build trust and provide an opportunity for capacity building on aspects of the sector that are of value to all stakeholders. The organizations are currently in the process of finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) detailing the forum’s objectives, membership, governance and activities among other important issues.