The Lagos Plan of Action upon which the mandate of the Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) was based emphasized that Africa’s extractive industries are integral to managing and benefiting from the natural resource base. The exploitation of natural resources presents opportunities and also enormous challenges for the continent. The reality today is that the countries that have the most of these extractive minerals are those that are embroiled in conflicts. In addition, there is the issue of the ‘resource curse’ wherein the countries that are heavily endowed with mineral resources are among some of the poorest. There is a dearth of scientific knowledge on how to reconcile this contradiction. What needs to be done to properly manage these extractive industries? What role do these industries play in environmental degradation?
This programme aims to enhance the governance of the sector in order to promote equitable wealth distribution, minimal environmental degradation and loss of other natural resources (arable land, water, etc.) and the sustainable management of all natural resources. The research to be undertaken within this programme will be used mainly for policy development.
The UNU-INRA focal point is Dr. Timothy A. Koomson.
The program aims to understand and manage mineral extraction and conflicts; conduct needs assessment and capacity development for negotiations and implementation of natural resources related Multilateral Environmental Agreements; encourage large and sustained private sector investment in the extraction and value addition to Africa’s agro-minerals; and examine policy options to create incentives for investments in alternative energy production (bio-gas, hydro energy, solar, wind).
UNU-INRA will conduct policy research with key collaborators and partners. National seminars will also be organized wherein key players such as the respective ministries will be expected to play key functions.
All of UNU-INRA research, training and capacity development activities are not gender-neutral. Data analysis will be gender-disaggregated and the gender dimensions of the activities will be highlighted so as to inform policy. The participation of women will be given high priority.
Government ministries and policymakers, extractive industries and civil society organisations will be the main targets of this programme. Relevant and appropriate national and regional organisations will also be targeted.
Impact: Influencing policymaking at the regional level
Target: The target will be regional organisations responsible for developing and shaping policies on extractive industries.
How: Publications and policy briefs will be disseminated with these organisations and they will be invited to participate in relevant conferences.
Impact: Influencing policymaking at the national level
Target: The target audience of this programme will be appropriate government ministries, civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations.
How: These key actors will participate in the research, workshops and conferences that will be organized. The policy briefs to be prepared will specifically be disseminated widely to them.
Impact: Capacity development in developed/developing countries
Target: Government ministries and policymakers who participate in multilateral negotiations will be the target of the programme.
How: Capacity needs assessment and training on negotiations and implementation of natural resources related Multilateral Environmental Agreements will be undertaken to strengthen the capacity of the target audience.
The policy relevance of the programme has been clearly articulated to ensure the programme results are clearly relevant to policymakers.
The extractive industries have not received appropriate attention over the years. They are a source of extensive land degradation and involve significant rural population. The programme will address issues of land reclamation and make a useful contribution in an area that has been neglected for a long time.
Research reports, scientific publications and policy briefs will be prepared and disseminated widely. Public seminars and conferences will also be organized to disseminate the research results.
The programme began 1 January 2012 and continue through December 2013.
UNU-INRA has set up a process to evaluate the scientific output of its work and it will be used to access the implementation of the programme. The number of research outputs, publications and policy briefs prepared will be key indicators. The number and level of participation at conferences will also be key indicators to gauge the success of the programme.
A major constraint faced by UNU-INRA is the availability of financial resources to recruit qualified staff to implement the programme. The degree of implementation of the programme therefore hinges on identifying and bringing on-board the appropriate staff.
The programme is expected to run for a duration of 24 months, from 1 January 2012 through 31 December 2013.
Activities within the programme will involve cooperation between the UNU Institute for Natural Resources in Africa and the UNU Geothermal Training Programme.
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