The impact of gold mining on indigenous women in North Canada

This is an image of the Nunavet Territory in Northern Canada. The photo by IamNotUnique is available under a Creative Commons Licnese.

A report on the impact of resource extraction on Inuit Women and Families in Qamani’tuaq, in northern Canada, has revealed that while gold mining in the locality has created some jobs, it has also created hardships for women. The women interviewed in the report state that there has been an increase in substance abuse, discrimination and cases of sexual violence. They want ‘to see more benefits for the whole community rather than for certain individuals.’

This study is also an interesting example of how project-level reporting and revenue transparency could benefit women. The mining company in question makes royalty payments directly to Inuit organisations that are to go to the benefit of the community, including on projects that meet women’s needs. Yet the community has nothing to show for it and there is no information available as to how the revenues have been spent. Project-level reporting would enable members of the community to hold their organisations to account for how the revenues are spent.

Read an article about this report or the full report itself – The impact of resource extraction on Inuit women and families in Qamani’tuaq, Nunavut Territory.

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Les industries extractives et les questions du genre, un coup d’œil sur l’année écoulée

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En mars de l’an dernier, Publiez Ce Que Vous Payez a commencé à examiner de plus près la question du genre dans le cadre de la transparence et des industries extractives. En partenariat avec ONU Femmes, nous avons lancé un atelier en Tanzanie pour développer une approche commune parmi les intervenants travaillant sur les questions du genre et ceux qui travaillent sur les industries extractives. Dans le cadre de cet atelier, nous avons créé une version de notre chaîne de valeur qui prend en compte les sexospécificités (celle-ci est disponible ici.) Nous voulions mettre en évidence la façon dont les questions du genre recoupe l’objectif de transparence et de responsabilisation à chaque étape de la chaîne de valeur. Si nous voulons que tous les citoyens bénéficient de leurs ressources naturelles, nous devons nous assurer que les femmes sont également prises en compte.

Peu de temps après l’atelier, nous avons élargi le débat lors d’une séance de discussion en direct pour proposer des modifications quant à cette chaîne de valeur. Nous travaillons actuellement sur le développement d’un format plus partageable et motivant pour la chaîne, alors restez à l’écoute !

Quels sont les autres événements de l’année passée dans le domaine du genre et des industries extractives ? Ce résumé est très loin d’être exhaustif, alors n’hésitez pas à nous faire part de vos commentaires !

ONU femmes pour l’Afrique de l’Est et l’Afrique australe a poursuivi ses travaux sur les industries extractives, organisant une réunion virtuelle en décembre portant sur les question du genre dans les industries extractives. ONU Femmes pour l’Afrique de l’Est et l’Afrique australe a également été invité en tant que panéliste lors de la 3e conférence de l’Union africaine des ministres responsables du Développement des ressources minérales à Maputo, ce qui a offert l’opportunité de souligner la nécessité de l’intégration des questions du genre dans le secteur des industries extractives.

Un projet passionnant a été lancé en octobre : Womin. Womin, hébergée avec l’IANRA en Afrique du Sud, offre une plate-forme de solidarité et de coopération pour les mouvements et organisations de la société civile travaillant dans le domaine de l’extraction et des droits des Femmes en Afrique.

Womin a d’ores et déjà mené une étude approfondie explorant une variété de thèmes au sujet de l’extraction et des droits des femmes – depuis l’impact des activités d’extraction sur le corps, la sexualité et l’autonomie des femmes jusqu’à la façon de valoriser les femmes qui exercent une activité d’exploitation minière artisanale. Womin a également créé un outil de plaidoyer résumant les divers cadres pertinents pour l’extraction et les droits des femmes, et sur la façon dont ceux-ci pourraient être utilisés pour venir en soutien des femmes marginalisées.

Vous pouvez trouver plus d’informations sur Womin en visitant leur site.

Les activistes de la République démocratique du Congo ont continué de s’investir dans leur lutte en faveur des femmes, afin qu’elles aient voix au chapitre. Femmes et Justice Économique a mené une enquête de terrain pour accroître les connaissances sur la manière dont les femmes interagissent avec le secteur de l’extraction et en subissent les conséquences. Cela allait de l’examen des types d’emplois que les femmes peuvent occuper dans les villes minières jusqu’à la collecte de données portant sur les violences dont souffrent les femmes vivant à proximité de sites d’extraction. Vous pouvez en savoir plus en consultant les bulletins de FEJE – Voix des Femmes. FEJE a également travaillé sur l’autonomisation des femmes à travers des formations et le renforcement de leurs capacités afin qu’elles puissent s’impliquer davantage dans les initiatives en faveur de la transparence, comme l’ITIE.

Ce qui précède n’est qu’un infime aperçu de ce qui s’est passé dans ce domaine, veuillez nous faire parvenir vos commentaires si vous avez quelque chose à ajouter !

Cette Image par Caro’s Lines est disponible sur Flickr sous une creative commons license
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Gender and the extractives – a quick look back at the past year

calendarAround this time last year, Publish What You Pay started looking more closely at the issue of gender, transparency and the extractives. In partnership with UN Women, we kicked off with a joint workshop in Tanzania to develop a common way forward between practitioners working on gender and those working on extractives. As part of this workshop, we created a gender-responsive version of our value chain. We wanted to highlight how the question of gender intersects the goal for transparency and accountability at every step of the value chain. If we want all citizens to benefit from their natural resources, we must ensure that women are being taken into account too.

Shortly after the workshop, we widened the discussion to others in a live-chat edit of this value chain. We are currently working on developing a more shareable and engaging format for the chain, so watch this space!

So, what else has happened over the past year in the field of gender and the extractives? This round-up is very far from exhaustive, so if you have anything to add in the comments please do so!

UN Women Eastern and Southern Africa continued their work on the extractives, hosting a virtual meeting in December on gender equality in the extractive equalities. UN Women ESARO was also invited as a panelist to the 3rd African Union Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development in Maputo, providing the opportunity to highlight the need for integrating gender in the extractive industry sector.

An incredibly exciting project was launched in October: Womin. Womin, hosted with IANRA in South Africa, offers a platform of solidarity and co-operation for movements and civil society organisations working on extractivism and women’s rights in Africa.

Already, Womin has undertaken in-depth research exploring a range of themes surrounding extractivism and women’s rights – from the impact of extractivism on Women’s bodies, sexuality and autonomy to how to empower women artisanal miners. Womin has also produced an advocacy tool summarising the various frameworks relevant to extraction and women’s rights, and how these could be used to support marginalised women.

You can find out more about Womin by visiting their website.

Activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo remained busy in their fight for women to have a space at the table. Femmes et Justice Economique conducted field research to increase knowledge around how women interact with and are affected by the extractive sector. This ranged from examining the types of jobs women undertake in mining cities to collecting data on the violence women living near extractive sites are subjected to. You can read all about this in FEJE’s newsletters (French only) – Voix des Femmes. FEJE also worked on empowering women through trainings and capacity building so that they could be more involved in transparency initiatives such as EITI.

The above is only the tiniest snapshot of what has happened in this field, please let us know in the comments if you have anything to add!

 Image by Caro’s Lines and available from Flickr under a creative commons license
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Un manque d’accès à l’information – comment le processus extractif affecte les femmes

ImageAprès une recherche qui a duré près de 100 ans, l’Ouganda a découvert des gisements de pétrole commercialement viables en 2006. Cette découverte a apporté avec elle la promesse de la prospérité et de la croissance – mais qu’en est-il des collectivités qui doivent déguerpir pour laisser la place à l’extraction du pétrole ?

Global Rights Alert, membre de PCQVP Ouganda, a examiné le processus récent de relocalisation et d’indemnisation qui a été mené dans le district d’Hoima où le gouvernement est en train de construire une raffinerie de pétrole. En particulier, GRA a examiné la dimension sexospécifique du processus de relocalisation. Leur rapport, Notre terre est notre banque, illustre la façon dont les femmes et les hommes sont touchés différemment par la relocalisation et les indemnisations de la communauté. GRA a constaté que bien que le plan gouvernemental d’action de relocalisation de Hoima était soucieux de l’égalité entre les sexes et conçu pour répondre à ces différences, sa mise en œuvre n’a pas réussi à refléter la rhétorique.

La relocalisation et les indemnisations constituent naturellement un moment difficile pour l’ensemble de la communauté. Toutefois, en raison des rôles et des pratiques existants selon les sexes et des pratiques s’agissant du régime foncier, ce sont les femmes qui sont les plus vulnérables aux changements.

Par exemple, alors que les femmes ougandaises utilisent la terre et en dépendent, elles n’en ont généralement pas la propriété légale. Lorsque cette terre est échangée contre une indemnisation, il devient donc très difficile pour les femmes de recevoir ce qui leur est dû. Les femmes ont de plus en plus de mal à s’adapter et à trouver de nouvelles possibilités de travail en raison des faibles niveaux de formation et d’éducation – leur mobilité est également restreinte et elles manquent d’exposition.

À Hoima, l’un des problèmes posés aux femmes en particulier était un manque d’accès à l’information. Elles estimaient qu’elles n’avaient pas reçu suffisamment d’informations appropriées sur le processus et que leur voix n’avait pas été entendue. GRA a recueilli le témoignage de femmes à Hoima, dont beaucoup craignent qu’elles ne soient pas traitées de façon équitable s’agissant de leur terre.

Le rapport vaut la peine d’être lu et illustre certaines des questions liées à l’égalité entre les sexes posées par le processus extractif. Il est crucial d’étudier et de communiquer les différentes façons selon lesquelles les femmes sont touchées par le secteur de l’extraction afin d’atténuer ces impacts. Comme Alice, l’une des habitantes à Hoima, qui a déclaré « si je savais où vit le président Museveni, j’irais lui rendre visite à pied pour expliquer mon problème et les problèmes des autres femmes ».

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‘Our land is our bank’ – how community resettlement affects women

HazeoverHoimafloescherGlobal Rights Alert, a PWYP member in Uganda, has published a report examining the gender issues in Uganda’s resettlement action plan, for communities who have to make way for extractive projects.

“Our land is our bank. That is where we get money for fees, money for medical expenses and money to buy the necessities in the home.” Grace, from the Kabaale community in Hoima.

After a search that lasted almost 100 years, Uganda discovered commercially viable deposits of oil in 2006. This discovery brought with it the promise of prosperity and growth – but what of the communities who have to make way for oil extraction?

PWYP Uganda member Global Rights Alert examined the recent resettlement and compensation process which was carried out in Hoima, where the government is building an oil refinery. In particular, GRA looked at the gender dimension of the resettlement process. Their report, Our land is our bank, illustrates how men and women are affected differently by community resettlement and compensation. GRA found that while the government’s Resettlement Action Plan for Hoima was gender-sensitive and designed to deal with these differences, its implementation failed to reflect the rhetoric.

Resettlement and compensation is, naturally, a difficult time for the whole community. However, because of existing gender roles and practices around land tenure, it is women who are most vulnerable to the changes.

For example, while women in Uganda use and depend on land, that land is rarely legally in their name. When that land is exchanged for compensation, it therefore becomes very difficult for women to receive what they are owed. Women find it harder to adjust and find new working opportunities, due to low levels of training and education – as well as their restricted mobility and lack of exposure.

In Hoima, one of the issues women particularly highlighted was a lack of access to information. They felt that they had not been given adequate information about the process and that their voices hadn’t been heard. GRA collected testimonies from women in Hoima, many of whom feared they would not get a fair deal for their land.

The report is well-worth a read and illustrates some of the gender-based issues thrown up by the extractive process. It is crucial to investigate and communicate the different ways in which women are affected by the extractive sector in order to mitigate these impacts. As Alice, one of the residents from Hoima stated, “If I knew where President Museveni stays, I would walk to his home to explain my problem and the problems of other women”.

The image, ‘Haze over Hoima’, was taken by flöscher and available on Flickr. 

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Want long-term peace in post-conflict countries? Involve women in natural resource management

PeacejimmybrownflickrWe’ve written about the need to empower women in natural resource management so that they can benefit, rather than suffer from, the natural resources in their country.

The benefits of increasing women’s engagement are obvious and extend beyond women’s own well-being. However, did you know that empowering women over natural resources could also help contribute to long-term peace in countries affected by conflict?

That is what the UN has put forward in its recent report, ‘Women and natural resources: unlocking the peace-building potential’.

The relationship between natural resources and conflict is a well-document one. Not only can natural resources drive or exacerbate conflict but they can remain a source of tension in post-conflict situations. (You need only look at the tensions oil caused between North and South Sudan after the countries separated.)

Women are often left out of the post-conflict negotiating process, and remain shut out of many decisions regarding natural resource management. Women still struggle to get a space at the table when extractive agreements concerning their community are being negotiated.

Yet including women in negotiations results in a longer lasting agreements. As the issues of natural resources and conflict are closely bound together, why not tackle the engagement of women in natural resource management and in a post-conflict setting at the same time?

As the report states, ‘Addressing issues of inequality related to resource access and ownership, participation and decision-making and benefit-sharing early on in the peacebuilding process is… a critical condition for lasting peace and development’.

It continues, ‘One of the unexplored entry points for strengthening women’s contributions to peace-building relates to the ways in which they use, manage, make decisions on and benefit from natural resources.’

The report provides an overview of the relationship between gender and natural resources in a peace-building context. It also offers various entry points for how to enhance women’s political participation, improve their protection and increase their opportunities for economic empowerment in this context.

Peppered with case studies, this report illustrates various roads to increasing the engagement of women. After all, as the foreword states, ‘Excluding women is clearly a missed opportunity’.

Read the report in full here. 

Photo is by jimmy brown on Flickr 

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Uganda – how to ensure women benefit from oil?

Tullow oil camp, Uganda

Tullow oil camp, Uganda (Photo credit: Conservation Concepts)

In 2006, Uganda discovered oil. Since then, the question on everybody’s lips has been whether this discovery will prove a blessing or a curse. Will all of Ugandan’s citizens benefit from the country’s natural riches? How can Uganda prepare itself to ensure a transparent and responsible management of its natural resources?

When we talk about ‘citizens’ it is important to remember that we are not only talking about men but women too, who in many cases have a very different experience to men when it comes to the extractive sector. The exploitation of natural resources has an important gender dimension to it, one which it is necessary to address if we want resources to truly benefit all citizens.

PWYP member in Uganda Global Rights Alert has been working on gender issues within the oil sector for some time and runs a programme that offers advocacy training to women living in extractive communities.

Global Rights Alert has published a report, covering the Hoima and Buliisa districts, which assesses the impact the discovery of oil has had on women’s lives, their participation in the oil sector and how that participation could be increased.

For their report, GRA conducted a survey of 151 women living in these districts. They found that women remain on the outside of several aspects of natural resource management, for instance only a third were able to take part in the community consultations about compensation. Other obstacles prevent them from making the most of the economic opportunity an extractive project throws up – for instance no transport is provided to the site from local communities. As women have to stay with their families and cannot stay in camps like the men, the lack of transport inhibits their ability to take up jobs offered around the site. Their economic opportunities remain peripheral to the project, although the women did state that these opportunities had increased with the arrival of the industry.

As well as exploring how women experience the effect of the arrival of the oil industry oil extraction, the report lays out some recommendations for how to improve women’s participation in – and therefore ability to benefit from – the oil sector.

A lot of it boils down to access – to training, credit and information. Suggested training courses ranged from business skills to finance literacy so that women can best capitalise on economic opportunities created by extraction. Linked to this is the proposal that women be given access to capital via microcredit facilities, as well as access to the market itself. Finally, increased transparency and accountability will empower women with the information they need to be able to influence decisions.

Read the report in full.

Posted in Uganda, Uncategorized, Value Chain, Violence | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment