EA set to advocate law reforms

14Dec 2018
Mtapa Wilson
The Guardian
EA set to advocate law reforms

EAST African law societies are all set to implement the five-year programme, Supporting Inclusive Resource Development project (SIRD) to advocate for law reforms reflecting principles of transparency, gender sensitivity and accountability in the extractive industries.

TLS programme manager, Steven Msechu.

SIRD which is funded by the Global Affair Canada (GAC) is implemented by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) together with the East Africa Law Society (EALS), Law Society of Kenya (LSK), Uganda Law Society (ULS) and Tanganyika Law Society (TLS).

TLS programme manager, Steven Msechu said that extractive industries have a potential to contribute substantially to economic development and social growth.

He said equitable distribution of economic and social benefits requires the responsible and sustainable development of social resources.

“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”, Msechu said.

TLS project manager, Frank Nelson said the SIRD project needs to engage media since it has adapted its scope to focus on the media effects which can help to address women’s priorities and needs and rights to economic and social development in the extractive industries.

Nelson said as the sector remains a male dominated industry as compared to other industries in Africa, thus it is important to provide support to women by involving them in consultations, negotiations and decision making to ensure that they share equitably and equally in the benefits of extractive contracts.

“Members of the legal professional and other stakeholders including media are well placed to provide their support.  TLS will support professional skills trainings and capacity building for the legal profession, civil society and media to assist in advancing women rights,” said TLS’s project manager.

He said the media is engaged in SIRD project since it is among the key stakeholders on ensuring increase of engagement of East African Law Societies to advocate for law reform to reflect principles of transparency, gender sensitivity and accountability in the extractive industries.

“Through media it is easier to increase community participation particularly women in consultations, dialogue, negotiations, advocacy and other initiatives to advance their rights related to the extractive industries,” he said.

According to Nelson, the SIRD project is supported by Project Support Office (PSO) which serves as the focal link between the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) head office and national projects offices at LSK, USK and TLS.

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