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Gender & Extractives: 2019 so far...

Due to new work projects and moving countries, it’s been a while since I did one of these. So here's a quick round-up of gender & extractives news for January & Februrary 2019, including "News from around the world", "EITI - A milestone", "Update re: Canada's C69 Bill", and "The female face of artisanal mining"

EITI reaches a milestone in Kyiv

It’s been a pretty exciting month for the transparency & accountability field, as the EITI Board agreed in Kyiv to include gender provisions in the EITI Standard, so that the initiative can be more responsive to women's needs.

Why is this so important? In simplified sum, because women have different needs and experiences when it comes to the extractive sector, are less likely to be in a position to make decisions about said sector, and have a different - usually lower - access to information & platform.

But don't take my word for it.

Instead, I recommend you read this call to action from PWYP's Executive Director Elisa Peters on why civil society campaigned for EITI to address gender, and this blog from NRGI's Rebecca Iwerks that explores how civil society's proposed changes could be implemented. Meanwhile Maria Ezpeleta from Oxfam recounts the story of women activists in the Dominican Republic to illustrate how they would benefit from being included in the EITI process.

So what changes were adopted? The EITI Standard will now require that employment data be broken down by gender, and that gender be a consideration when countries select the members of the multi-stakeholder committees. (NB - In a very quick and unscientific scan I did a while back of EITI country work plans I noticed that one of the countries with the most fleshed-out plans regarding gender was Burkina Faso, which happens to have on its MSG a representative from a woman's rights group).

For more on the changes to the EITI Standard see statements from NRGI and Oxfam.

News from around the world

  • Many women in the mining villages of Rajasthan have lost their husbands to silicosis and struggle to make ends meet. However, one local NGO - GRAVIS - provides microfinance and legal advice, allowing women to access compensation and keep their daughters in school, as well as set up their own businesses.
  • PWYP recently conducted an investigation into EITI & gender in West Africa - you can see some of the preliminary findings in this blog.
  • Alaskan indigenous women in Calista are campaigning against the proposed Domlin mine, which they say would affect the
    Kuskokwim river, the region's primary food source. 130 women, as Calista shareholders, wrote tothe Calista Native Corporation to register their dissent.
  • In Peru, private securityallegedly beattwo indigenous women protesting the damages of a Glencore mine on their crops and water sources. Glencore said it would launch an independent review into the event, which it described as "regrettable".
  • The UN launched a USD 180 million programme to reduce the use of mercury in mining.
  • In Ghana, environmental groups areseeking the helpof women journalists to advocate against Atewa Forest Reserve into a bauxite mining site.
  • Finally,this beautiful 150m mural in Quito, Ecuador, (see image above) celebrates the indigenous women fighting to protect the environment (or "Pachamama" - which means Mother Earth in Quechua). A nice touch is that the portrayed activists were invited to paint their face markings on the mural themselves. (NB If you’re ever in Quito keep an eye out generally for graffiti and murals - there are many celebrations of the environment and depiction of current social issues).

The female face of artisanal mining

  • Journalist Eleonora Vio travelled to DRC to meet the Mama Twangaise:women miners who often conduct the most difficult and dangerous jobs in artisanal mining. Visit “Women in Mining” to learn about their lives and roles, as well as read the stories of mineral trader Angelique, mining pit owner Murekatete, or medical doctor Viviane, who campaigns to protect women miners’ rights in Walungu.
  • To celebrate the launch of Women in Mining and Energy (WiME) in Indonesia, Pure Earth producedthis portraitof women miners in Central Kalimantan.
  • This Ozy article - which also highlights projects by IMPACT & Solidaridad -delves intohow women gold miners in Tanzania are increasingly accessing credit, mining licenses in their own names, and reaching leadership positions in the sector.
  • Finally, ZELA and Christian Aid have been working together to support women’s entrepreneurshipin Zimbabwe’s mining sector.

Quick update on Canada's C-69 Bill (Impact Assessment Act)

Canada's proposed new policy for assessing natural resource projects - the C-69 Bill - was debated by the Senate* this month. Amongst other things, the bill requires gender impacts to be included in the environmental & social assessment of a resource project.

While many support the bill for what it could do for women's rights and the environment, it is fiercely opposed by some in the extractive industry as well as by politicians from resource-rich Alberta and Ontario.

To learn more about this bill and the debate around it, see:

  • This thread by an Associate Professor at Calgary Law, debunking some of the misinformation around what the bill would do to assessment timelines and delays.
  • Oxfam Canada on why C-69 needs to be passed(includes a petition).
  • This op-edby Mark Butler, Director of the Ecology Action Centre, on the importance of the bill. 
  • Finally, on Thursday 7th March at 12pm MST (UTC-7), the University of Calgary will be live streaminga panel discussion on "Debunking the myths and clarifying the impact of Bill C-69".
  • For opposition to the bill, see Ontario's Minister of Natural Resources in the Toronto Sunor Alberta Premier Rachel Notley addressing the Senate.

*The Senate is Canada's unelected upper house of Parliament. At the time of writing the C69 bill is in Senate Committee.

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