It’s time to Address the Gender Gaps in the Natural Resources Governance Process

Published By UNNGOF |  November 6, 2015

“For all its progress, government’s performance on promoting gender equality in the energy and mineral sector remains disappointing,” indicated Winfred Ngabirwe; the Global Rights Alert Executive Director; a civil society organization working towards enhancing citizen’s participation in natural resource management. This was emphasized during the Public Dialogue on Natural Resource Governance in Uganda organized by Makerere University department of Philosophy, in collaboration with Global Rights Alert.

The conference, which was held on Tuesday 20th October, 2015 at Makerere University Senate Building, Upper Conference Hall from 9:00am – 5:00pm, brought together about 100 participants including members of the academia; CSO representatives; Government officials; Private sector members from Mining, Oil and Gas Companies; community groups; University Students; Religious Leaders and development partners,

Participants benefited from presentations on managing natural resources in conflict situations with emphasis on the stakeholders inter-play in natural resource management in Uganda; Ethics and Human Rights approach to Natural resource management; and  Gender and extractives  with focus on the Social, cultural, political and economic inclusion of women and vulnerable people in Natural Resource Management.

Indeed like Ms Ngabirwe noted, the aspect of involving women in process and the would-be benefits of mineral and specifically oil exploration is yet to be enhanced. It was very clear that women have suffered the adverse effects of the preparation for oil exploration, especially in land compensation and relocation. These were caused by the irregularities in the customary land ownership laws that didn’t give women enough power to demand ownership. Government was also accused of failing to educate women about the existing opportunities for the women in the oil and mining sector where they could be engaged.

The meeting agreed that government needs to do much more to involve women and deal with the glaring gender gaps in the oil and mineral governance process. Participants also indicated that the organizers needed to provide more statistics on the gender roles played by the people involved in the mining process and extraction to ensure that women are not left behind. Indeed as it has been said before empowerment of the womenfolk will lead to family, community and overall country transformation that can solve many development challenges.

Story By Elone  Natumanya.