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The East African region has in recent years witnessed massive discoveries of oil and gas which
adds to its impressive record of natural resource wealth. This has created excitement and a rush
to exploit these resources and consequently the development of a robust extractive industry in
the region. While this industry has the potential to contribute substantially to economic development
and social growth; equitable distribution of economic and social benefits arising from these
activities require responsible and sustainable development.

This is the inspiration behind, “Supporting Inclusive Resource Development in East Africa
(SIRD)”, a five year project being implemented in East Africa by the Canadian Bar Association
(CBA) working closely with the East Africa Law Society and National Bar Associations of
Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. SIRD’s overall objective is to increase sustainable economic
growth for East Africans, especially women and vulnerable groups affected by extractive industries.
The project is made possible with the financial support of Global Affairs Canada

The key outcome areas for this project are:

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 their rights related to the extractive industries.
The role of the East Africa Law Society in this project and in ensuring equitable resource exploitation
in the region The ‘resource curse’ or the ‘paradox of plenty’ is a common phenomenon is many
countries where natural resources have been discovered in abundance. This is because such discoveries tend
to incite civil strife, reduce government transparency
and accountability end up undermining economic growth. This is a scenario East Africa must take precaution
to avoid. Members of the legal profession are well placed
to provide the guidance in this area and this project comes in handy in helping East African Countries reform
their laws and policies in the sector. The project will leverage on Canada’s role as a leader in the extractive
industries and the recognition of the fact that several governments in the region have already received support
on the governance and regulation of natural resources to streamline extractive industry
operations in the region.

The Canadian Bar Association and East Africa Law Society will draw on the
experience and expertise of its members to provide professional skills training and capacity building for the legal profession, civil society and community advocates in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with the aim of increasing transparency, gender sensitivity and accountability
in the extractive sector. This project will ultimately improve the capacity of the legal profession and other members of the judiciary to address the rights of women in context of both the benefits available to women and harms caused by extractive industries. It will also strengthen local communities, civil society organisations and other stakeholders in the sector. In addition SIRD will
and works closely with governments both nationally and regionally to ensure that they respond better to the needs of women and girls when
entering into contracts and negotiations in the extractive industry.

1ST SIRD REGIONAL FORUM The East Africa Law Society and the Canadian Bar Association organized the first extractives industry regional forum themed: “Towards Transparency, Gender Sensitivity and Accountability: Extractive Industry Development in East Africa”, from 30th November to 1st December, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania. The forum brought together more than 60 participants
from a wide range of national, regional
and international stakeholders, including representatives
from national law societies (Implementing partners), women’s groups, government institutions, the private sector, local
community agencies, academic institutions and
Non-Governmental Organisations, (NGOs).
The overall objectives of the Regional
Forum were to provide participants with opportunities to; Exchange knowledge
and share experiences on best practices related to gender sensitivity,
transparency and accountability in the extractive sector;

Identify key challenges and opportunities to maximize benefits and reduce harms,
in particular to women and girls affected by the extractive industry in East Africa; Analyse the governance structures
of the extractive industry in East Africa, and provide recommendations
for the formulation of effective gender sensitive legal and policy
reform and, Build partnerships and develop networks for
increased coordination among regional and international stakeholders.
Download the Forum Report Here