Demo Finland’s Mozambican partner Instituto para Democracia Multipartidária (IMD) organised a two-day International Conference on Extractive Industry (EI) in November. The conference participants discussed the practices of the EI sector in Africa, shared experiences on income management policies and addressed gender issues in the sector.
The aim of the conference was to discuss the use of extractive resources, the challenges related to income management, and the role of different actors and gender equality issues. It is important to use the natural resources of the extractive industry in a sustainable, responsible and transparent way in order for them to benefit the whole society and promote the economy and sustainable development.
Finland’s Ambassador to Mozambique, Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen spoke in the opening session of the conference. The Ambassador emphasised the role of the Parliament, Provincial Assemblies and Parliamentary Committees in the legislation and monitoring of gender equality issues in the extractive industries. She also highlighted the importance of co-operation between actors at different levels for the governance of the extractive industries to be effective. In addition, she emphasised the need for private and public companies, government agencies and institutions, civil society organisations and the whole community to be active in ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all.
Good governance contributes to gender equality
The cross-cutting theme of the conference was the democratic governance of revenues in the EI sector. Heikkinen, like many other speakers, emphasised the importance of channelling the benefits of the sector to Mozambican women and girls so that they too have equal opportunities to participate in the debate and decision-making.
“Legislation and policy programmes should ensure that revenues in the EI sector do not only benefit the companies but also support sustainable development at the local level. As in all areas, a key part of good governance is that authorities work in an efficient and equal manner”, says Riikka Raatikainen, Senior Specialist on Good Governance at the Embassy of Finland to Mozambique.
Indeed, the role of good governance is essential in extractive industries. “The definition of good governance usually includes concepts such as transparency, accountability, inclusion, equality and efficiency. For the extractive industries, all of these are very important elements; legislation should ensure that both public and private actors adhere to the principles of good governance, local communities should have the opportunity to participate in the decision-making processes that affect them and to receive timely and reliable information”, Raatikainen says.
During the conference panels, experiences and ideas were exchanged between the speakers and the audience regarding the political participation of women. Increasing the inclusion of women in the EI sector could improve gender equality and women’s economic independence and thus the wider well-being of society. It is therefore important for the country’s sustainable development to invest in women and to increase and strengthen their involvement in the extractive industries. According to Raatikainen, legislation and policy programmes in Mozambique need to be improved from a gender equality perspective: “The wider participation of women could, at least in part, promote equality.”
Co-operation between parliaments as part of the development of the EI sector
Together with its partners Instituto para Democracia Multipartidária (IMD) and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), Demo Finland has supported the democratic governance of extractive industries and natural resources in Mozambique since 2017. The second phase of the project started in early 2020. The aim is to enhance the oversight role of the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies on the extractive industries and to increase their capacity to assess the implementation of the existing legislation on natural resource management.
International peer learning has had an important role in the project: Mozambican and Finnish parliamentarians have visited each other’s parliaments and got acquainted with mining sites of both countries. The project has also collaborated with parliaments in other Southern African countries.
The International Conference on Extractive Industry in Maputo was also attended by participants from several different countries and good experiences and practices were exchanged between the participants. Parliamentary co-operation was also discussed as an essential part of the extractive industry. According to Riikka Raatikainen, co-operation between parliaments can promote the sharing of good and effective practices and peer learning.