Through the representation of its Programs Manager, David Munene, the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA) participated at the consultative forum on good governance, accountability and transparency in Kenya’s extractive industry sector on 25th and 26th May, 2015.
The forum brought together the private, civil society, academia, community, and government representatives to provide diverse insights and perspectives geared towards enhancing participative development and mutual benefits from extractives for all. Rev. Dr. Fr. Rigobert Minani, SJ presented an overview of the extractive industries sector in Africa with principal focus on opportunities and challenges and expressed that stewardship, equitable and efficient use of its resources is now able to lift millions of Africans out of poverty over the next decade. However, one of the most notable challenges was that most African leaders lack negotiating power with multinationals due to economic mismatch. For example, Shell in 2012 had an income of USD 467.2 while Gabon had a total operation budget of USD 17.1 billion; Glencore recorded a USD 214.4 billion revenue against DRC’s operational budget of USD 7 billion.
There were highlights concerning the legal and governance avenues available for ensuring that all stakeholders to the extractive industries engage responsibly to ensure equitable resource distribution and just shares. For example, Dr. Melba Kapesa Wasunna (Director, Strathmore Extractives Industry Centre) presented informative highlights concerning the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the 12 principles for promotion of open and accountable management of natural resources. Rose Kimotho, (Programme Manager, Institute for Human Rights and Business), called for the need to understand the standards we are concerned with and which ones are applicable in the industry and advocate for their inclusion in the country’s law. Oceanic Sakwa (NEMA), disambiguated the role of the National Environmental Management Authority of Kenya in the extractives sector. Oceanic cited the EMCA 1999 policy, which is a framework for environmental legislation and contains 13 parts including the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Community representatives also provided different perspectives from areas such as Kwale, Kilifi, Machakos, Kitui and Kajiado. One of the outstanding presentations in this respect were from MajalaMlagui (CEO, Thamani Gems) concerning the perspectives from Gems Industries. She explained that 80% of gemstones produced in the world are produced by artisanal miners, most of whom are not licensed and usually perceived to be illegal miners. Majala encouraged participants to ensure that they read more to understand what the industry is all about as opposed to focusing on splitting shares, which she described as “…splitting the cow before it is born…”
Other presentations included perspectives from the Kenya Oil and Gas Association (KOGA) by Emmanuel Kitusa, perspectives from Kenya Chamber of Mines by Stephen Mwakesi, the role of county governments in developing and enforcing the policies by Edgar Odari of ECO-news Africa, perspectives on the Kenyan Legislation by Charity Cheruiyotfrom Kenya’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Legal opportunities and threats in Kenya’s extractive sector by Doris Asembo from the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), and Transparency and accountability through stakeholder consultation and engagement by Dr. C.A. Mumma-Martinonfrom the University of Nairobi (UoN).During the last session of the forum, David Munene raised the issue of considering the role of faith in the quest eco-justice in future forums concerning extractive industries sector and this was adopted one of the critical points in the proposed way forward.
David Angell (Canada’s ambassador to Kenya), Gladwell Wathoni Otieno, the AfriCOGfounder and Executive Director), and Mr. James Mbugua Ng’ang’a (a senior superintending geologist at the Kenyan Ministry of Energy) graced the first session of the forum and gave keynote addresses. The forum was organized by the Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations (HIPSIR) and the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) with the support of Canada.
David Munene is the volunteer Programs Manager for the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA), a member of the Global Catholic Climate Movement(GCCM).