World over, many countries have financed their development through extractive sectors (oil, gas and minerals). There are plenty of cases where the effective management of a society's natural resources has unleashed sustainable and equitable human development.
When well managed, the sector has the potential of raising incomes and living standards. However, the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources has often brought with it challenges such as violent conflicts, gender and other inequalities, displaced communities, volatile economic growth; Limited job creation; corruption; Environmental degradation; Gender violence; and spread of HIV and AIDS among communities and undermined democratic governance. Such negative outcomes of resource extraction are not inevitable. They can however be tackled through effective strategies, legal frameworks and policies.
It is the design and implementation of a broad set of policies that determines whether countries can harness extractive resources for sustainable development for all. These include new or reformed legal and fiscal frameworks, reinforced public financial management systems, mechanisms for allocating revenues for high social returns and job-intensive sectors, measures to address displacement and mitigate negative social and environmental impacts, and establishing strategies to diversify production away from extractives.
Uganda's extractive industry offers the country a huge opportunity but the sector is associated with the risk of the resource curse the phenomenon by which natural resource wealth often results in poor standards of human development, bad governance, increased corruption and sometimes conflict and the lack of transparency and accountability. Strong transparency and accountability mechanisms are key to avoiding this fate. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is the leading global initiative designed to tackle this problem. The EITI provides a global standard to promote open and accountable management of natural resources. It seeks to strengthen government and company systems, inform public debate, and enhance trust.
Global Witness encourages The Government of Uganda to amend its policy and practice to bring it into line with the EITI standard and join the EITI as soon as possible.
Recognizing the far-reaching impacts of extractive activities, new Strategies for Supporting Sustainable and Equitable Management of the Extractive Industries have been made. These strategies build on past and on-going projects in the sector, implemented in diverse political, social and cultural contexts.
NatureUganda is organising a public talk on Extractive Industries, looking at Sustainable and Equitable Management of the Extractive Sector for Human Development.
Proposed areas for discussion: