INTER-AGENCY MEETING

On March 22, 2024, the different stakeholders in the mining sector in Karamoja gathered at Yellowstone Hotel in Moroto for the Inter-agency coordination and advocacy meeting to address emerging human rights and resource governance advocacy messages raised by indigenous pastoral communities regarding mineral resource governance and benefits sharing.

 

 

In the vast and rugged landscapes of Karamoja, where indigenous pastoral communities had long coexisted with the land, the management of mineral resources posed both opportunities and challenges. Despite the wealth beneath their feet, equitable benefits sharing mechanisms remained elusive, hindering the full participation of these communities in the region’s mineral extractive industry.

Many factors contributed to this disconnect. Limited awareness of rights and responsibilities, coupled with a lack of knowledge about legal provisions governing mineral resource governance, left indigenous pastoral communities at a disadvantage. Furthermore, opportunities for meaningful engagement between communities, mining companies, and duty bearers had been scant, made worse by weak organizational and leadership structures within Community Land Associations (CLAs).

Recognizing the urgent need to bridge these gaps, AFLI with support from USAID/CSSA through the PACED project embarked on a mission to empower indigenous pastoral communities. Through capacity-building initiatives, awareness creation, and facilitation of engagements between stakeholders, the project aimed to strengthen community governance structures and foster a conducive environment for equitable benefits sharing.

As a culmination of these efforts, the Inter-agency Stakeholders Meeting served as a platform for dialogue, collaboration, and collective action towards advancing the interests of the mining sector in Karamoja by focusing on critical aspects such as promoting harmony, evaluating progress, and renewing commitments towards benefit-sharing obligations.

The Minister of State for Minerals, Hon. Peter Lokeris, was the guest of honor, underscoring the government’s commitment to the development of the mining sector in Karamoja.

 

 

The meeting sought to address key challenges by providing a forum for stakeholders to share best practices, brainstorm solutions, and assess the then-current status of the mining industry in Karamoja. Community leaders and investment companies alike had the opportunity to express their views, highlighting successes, challenges, and perspectives on community engagement.

Crucially, the meeting reviewed benefit-sharing commitments outlined in Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and agreements, assessing progress and identifying any outstanding issues. By renewing commitments and establishing mechanisms for monitoring compliance, stakeholders aimed to ensure that the benefits of mineral extraction were equitably shared among all parties involved.

 

 

In conclusion, the Inter-agency Stakeholders Meeting showed a significant step towards promoting harmony, fostering cooperation, and advancing the interests of the mining sector in Karamoja. By prioritizing community involvement, transparent communication, and adherence to benefit-sharing commitments, stakeholders had paved the way for sustainable development and mutual prosperity in the region.

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