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Mid Year Bulletin

Mining projects pose challenges and opportunities for women and men. However, women often bear an unequal burden of the negative impacts from mining projects and, when benefits are made available to local stakeholders, women often go without a share of those benefits.
Resource Equity: Women, Land and Mining: Effective Strategies for Improved Global Practice

Hi. Welcome to the mid-year Resource Equity Bulletin. 

In this edition, we’re focusing on the intersection between gender and extractive industries. This represents the culmination of several years worth of work by Resource Equity, exploring the obstacles to women benefitting from mining and other extractive projects. Our research indicates that positive outcomes are possible, providing certain processes are followed. You’ll find more in Section 2, below.

As always, if this bulletin raises any questions for you, – feel free to post a question to our help desk, or get in touch info@resourceequity.org.

In this issue 



Webinar Report – ‘What Works For Women’s Land And Property Rights?’

As you may know, on Wednesday 22nd July, we hosted a webinar in collaboration with LandPortal, building on our recent discussion paper ‘What Works for Women’s Land and Property Rights? What We Know and What We Need To Know.’ That paper summarizes the strength and availability of evidence on the effectiveness of different interventions to improve land rights for women.

Around 300 people joined us from all over the world for a vibrant discussion about improving women’s land rights: what’s known to work and what’s next for research in the field.

Our panellists were Dr Cheryl Doss, Senior Departmental Lecturer in Development Economics and Associate Professor at Oxford University; Nana Ama Yirrah, founder and Executive Director at the Ghanaian NGO Colandef; and Joao Montalvao of the World Bank’s Gender Innovation Lab.

On reflection, a few things stood out for us.

First, the World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab is looking at specific interventions that will encourage joint titling of land in the land titling programs. In Uganda, it found that persuasive video clips about the value of joint titling increased joint titles by almost 50%. Involving both men and women in education and information campaigns is critical, a point highlighted by Nana Ama.

Both Nana Ama and Dr. Cheryl Doss emphasized the importance of context in designing interventions to improve women’s land rights. There should be no place for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

Another issue highlighted by both Joao and Nana Ama is the need for sustained effort on women’s land rights. Changes take time, and other kinds of assistance – like extension services and credit – are needed to help them take hold.

All three panelists believe that for women to improve their rights to land, they must organize and work together to push for those rights.

But there was so much more in there!  You can watch the whole webinar here.

And if the discussion raises any questions for you, – feel free to post a question to our help desk, or get in touch: info@resourceequity.org

Women, Equity And Extractive Industries

In the last few years at Resource Equity we’ve been looking at the intersection of gender, land, and extractives.

While it’s not the only way to understand culturally determined gender dynamics, the intersection of gender and land tenure can provide unique and helpful insights into how an extractive project will affect a community. That intersection is based on the same culturally defined structures, roles, norms, and institutions that establish power, opportunity, voice, and agency in a community.

Land tenure is gendered. Land tenure systems reflect this. Understanding this is the first step towards addressing the disadvantages faced by women.

We explore these linkages in more detail in this piece, Gender, Land and Extractive Development: Issues and Opportunities for Improved Understanding and Practice.

Civil Society Organizations and The Private Sector

In many places where extractive investments are taking place, governments or the rule of law is weak. This can result in private sector actors taking on roles that government might otherwise fill, such as providing social infrastructure or addressing the needs of women. However, most businesses and investors lack the expertise and experience to address social and livelihoods matters effectively and appropriately.

Civil society actors – NGO’s for example – are well placed to bridge this gap, but they face a range of barriers in doing that. In an innovative project based in East Africa, we worked with thirty-six civil society groups to explore how they might serve the needs of their constituents by engaging the private sector and government.

In any setting, the obstacles to this engagement are real. To name just a couple: amongst many civil society organizations there’s an understandable reluctance to get too close to a private sector actor, for fear of reputational damage. It’s also challenging to balance helping constituents negotiate an equitable share of the benefits from a project with keeping the private sector and government accountable for meeting their national and international legal obligations.

Yet the opportunities are real too: civil society can act as a trusted third party. Their understanding of context, local dynamics, and effective approaches for making a difference in the lives of those who are already disadvantaged can help willing private sector actors meet their obligations, while also meeting the needs of communities in general and women in particular.
Read more about what strategies our civil society partners see as critical to playing a more effective role in this space here.

Women Land and Mining: Effective Strategies’ for Improved Global Practice

Continuing our focus on strategies for improving global practice, we undertook three case studies to identify what works, what doesn’t and what lessons could be learned for future projects.

Each project we studied was unique in terms of the scale of the mining investments, the political and cultural contexts, funding sources, and the stage in the project life cycle. The one thing that they have in common is that in each case a concerted effort was made to address gender from the start.

The case studies centre on a large gold and copper mine that is in the licensing stage in Papua New Guinea, a development project working with artisanal diamond miners in Cote d’Ivoire (in light of the Kimberly Process), and a large copper mine in Peru that was in the process of closing down.

Key findings from our synthesis report highlight that certain conditions can lay the groundwork for positive experiences for women. Among them are gender-equitable legal and governance frameworks for land and mining; an organizational commitment on the part of all actors to be gender-responsive; an over-arching framework of international
standards and obligations; and dedicated human and financial resources to make all these possible.

When underlying social dynamics and historical patterns of discrimination against women are addressed, it becomes more possible for women to express their views, represent their interests and have those considerations directly influence decision that are made. Improving the confidence of women to engage in consultation and decision-making is key to achieving this. Working with women in groups and ensuring buy-in from men and other people in positions of power is also crucial.

Finally, benefit sharing arrangements are often based on gender discriminatory interpretations of who “owns” land, who is the head of household, and who represents the community’s interests. But they need not be. If those associations are dismantled, it becomes more possible for women to have equal opportunities to share in benefits of extractive projects.

Starting With Women

Finally, remember our ‘Starting with Women’ approach?

Here’s a refresher: Starting With Women is a field-tested model for making positive changes in women’s land rights. Its toolkit provides step-by-step guidance using an empowerment framework to strengthen women’s rights in customary land tenure settings.

With local partners ARTU, we applied the Starting with Women empowerment approach to the activities of artisanal mining associations in Uganda’s Karamoja region. Karamoja is resource-rich area in the northern part of the country. Traditionally, local communities practice agro-pastoralism and cattle grazing. Today, local women and men also engage in artisanal mining of gold, lime, and marble in extreme conditions and for very little return.

Despite somewhat favorable policies at the national level, local communities and local governments (charged with enforcing regulations) are unaware of to whom mining licenses have been issued. They deal with middlemen, local buyers, and low-level staff who facilitate collection of the mined goods. Women are actively engaged in mining and depend on income from it to support themselves and their families, yet when it comes to the participation in miner’s associations they are largely excluded, in part because customary rules leave decisions about land to men.

After working with women and men in the mining associations, using the Starting With Women approach, we saw some positive results: women’s knowledge of their rights increased. Women played a greater role in speaking in association meetings, as well as a stronger role in household decision-making. The improved outcomes extended to the mining association itself in the form of improved governance processes, better regulatory protection because of registration, and more savings produced for its members.

The outcomes from this collaboration are available here.

Gender, Extractives and COVID19

Finally, some of our thoughts on extractives, best practice and COVID19 pandemic are included in our recent blog post by David Bledsoe.

When it comes to infrastructure and extractive projects, he says, the COVID19 emergency should not be used as an excuse to ditch hard-won improvements in social and environmental practices:

The economic fallout that comes with COVID19 is prompting companies to ask governments for help of all kinds – from loans to cheap credit, emergency funds to payroll subsidies, from tax relief to regulatory rollbacks. While it’s in everyone’s interest to mitigate the effects of any economic downturn as successfully as possible, the prospect of regulatory waivers and rollbacks worries me. COVID19 is a perfect Trojan horse, with the potential to speedily undo progress that’s taken decades to achieve.

You can find the full blog post here.

Landwise Updates

Landwise is a library of laws and secondary materials related to women and land.  Over the last three months we’ve added a new content to the Landwise library, here are some of our favorites.

Powerful Women – Does Exposure Reduce Bias? Read Here

Gender Quotas Increase the Quality and Effectiveness of Climate Policy Interventions. Read Here

Gender and Formalization of Native Communities in the Peruvian Amazon. Read Here

Media Links

We’ve been reading a lot lately. Here are some recent publications on women and land that have caught our attention.

A great piece by Joyce Ndakaru, Gender Officer with the Tanzanian NGO HakiMadini, about the evolving power dynamics and changing attitudes during a multi-year project on land tenure security for women. ‘Seats of Power – women’s land rights and chairs’

In the East New Britain province of Papua New Guinea, women combat increasing incidences of gender based violence. Gender-based violence shakes communities in the wake of forest loss.

From The World Bank, a list of guidelines and resources on how to collect gender-sensitive data on assets/land rights. World Bank Data topics.

From The African Development Bank Group: Rethinking land reform in Africa – new ideas, opportunities and challenges

‘Across sub-Saharan Africa, women play an important role in managing the forests that support their lives, livelihoods and households. Yet they are often excluded from decision-making processes affecting these natural resources.’ Understanding the barrier to women’s participation is key to good decision=making going forward.
From the World Resources Institute. Who’s Governing Community Forests?                        

From the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a range of resources relating to land policies in Latin America: books, reports, working papers, videos and podcasts and pedagogical tools and other content. In Portuguese, Spanish and English, and freely available, for the most part. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy resources

From the National Resource Governance Institute: How Can Extractive Sector laws and Policies Contribute to Gender Equality? 

If anything in this bulletin raises any questions for you, – feel free to post a question to our help desk, or get in touch: info@resourceequity.org.

Thank you & stay safe.

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