7th Statutory meeting of the Forum of Parliaments of ICGLR Member States' Committee on Economic Development, Regional Integration and Natural Resources held on 31 July and 1st August 2023 in Kampala, Uganda
The Office of the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region was invited to brief on the promotion of women and youth in sustainable management of natural resources in the region during the seventh statutory meeting of the Committee on Economic Development, Regional Integration and Natural Resources. The meeting, convened by the Forum of Parliaments of Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), was held in Uganda’s capital Kampala from 31 July to 1 August 2023.
In his opening remarks, Thomas Tayebwa, Uganda’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament called for the arbitration of disputes relating to mining in the Great Lakes to be determined in the region. He further called for good governance, saying this would entrench transparency in the mining sector. The meeting provided an opportunity for participants to examine the success made and challenges faced in the implementation of the ICGLR's Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (RINR). Participants also proposed mechanisms to enhance its implementation and to evaluate the role of national parliaments in this process. Other issues discussed included the presentation and debate around the research report on the implementation of the RINR in the Great Lakes region.
The OSESG-GL briefed the Committee on regional efforts undertaken, through the UN regional strategy and in particular, through a Belgian-funded project, to promote the role of women and youth in the sustainable management of natural resources in the region. The President of the Youth Forum was given the opportunity to present, on behalf of the women and youth of the region, an advocacy brief aimed to strengthen the capacities of the “forces vives”’ and their inclusion in the exploitation and trade of natural resources for shared prosperity, lasting peace and sustainable development.
At the end of the meeting, the Committee adopted a Communiqué. It commended the advocacy brief presented by the OSESG-GL and “committed to raise awareness in FP-ICGLR Member Parliaments on the issue”. The FP-ICGLR is an inter-parliamentary organization composed of 12 National Parliaments of the ICGLR Member States. Its main mission is to “facilitate the effective engagement of parliamentarians in the implementation of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Greta Lakes region. The RINR is structured around six tools namely, a regional mineral tracking and certification scheme; the harmonization of mining legislations in the 12 member States; the creation of a regional database to track the trade in minerals; the formalization of artisanal and small-scale mining; the establishment of a whistleblowing mechanism; and the promotion of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative. The RINR is a key mechanism to track the commitments of heads of State of the ICGLR in addressing illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources.