Monday, March 30, 2015

National Khoi & San Council Workshop: Community Protocols Follow-Up

Natural Justice facilitated a Community Protocols Follow-Up Workshop, between 10-13th March 2015, in Tokai, Cape Town, South Africa. The workshop was composed of various sessions including team building and leadership, and training regards benefit sharing agreements. Both these elements were identified as key elements of the National Khoi & San Councils (NKC) Community Protocol process.
Lesle Jansen, Cath Traynor & Emmanuel Sibanda (Natural Justice) were joined by Dr. Kabir Bavikatte and Dr. Roger Chennells lawyers specializing in beneficiation agreements and processes. The team building and leadership development sessions, took their point of inspiration from the Heroes Project approaches, and activities were outdoors in the surrounding forests which created a contemplative and reflective environment. Through individual work and group discussions NKC members considered their own roles and that of their organisation and they utilized different tools and approaches to analyse their current status and to strategize on ways forwards. These sessions provided an opportunity for members to clarify both their own roles, and the NKCs role in the Khoi-San struggle, and the process provided participants a fresh perspective on the NKC and how it shapes the implementation of the community protocol priorities.
The training on benefit sharing agreements was led by Dr. Bavikatte, and participants discussed recent developments in Access and Benefit Sharing, negotiation processes and strategies, and concluded with applying these learnings to the critical analysis of a current ABS agreement.
On the final day of the workshop the NKC held their own internal meeting. During the workshop NKC representatives also took the opportunity to attend a meeting of the National House of Traditional Leaders, held in Parliament in Cape Town, and addressed questions to President Jacob Zuma.

Soda Lakes community structures for ABS agreements Meeting Agenda (March 25, 2015)

In areas with rich biodiversity and traditional knowledge, strong community structures allow for engagement with international organizations while protecting local resources and respecting traditional rights. On March 25-26, 2015, the “Soda lakes community structures for ABS agreements meeting” brought together representatives from communities along the Soda Lakes to discuss the possibility of entering into negotiations with international companies and other institutions on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) agreements in relation to the community's rich bio-cultural resources and traditional knowledge. Gino Cocchiaro and International Legal Fellow Jennifer Ingram represented Natural Justice at the meeting, with Gino introducing Natural Justice's work on community protocols with different communities in Africa. Hosted by the Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute in Naivasha, the two-day event is part of a program funded in part by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that seeks to assist communities in developing structures to handle ABS agreements.

In addition to flamingos, Lake Bogoria part of the Soda lakes is also home to a host of microorganisms with potential for research and commercial use that the community is trying to protect. Lake Bogoria National Reserve, Kenya Photo by Michael Poliza                                    © All rights reserved

Friday, March 27, 2015

Climate Justice Campaign Planning Workshop

Cath Traynor from Natural Justice participated in a Campaign Planning Workshop hosted by Oxfam on 16th -20th March 2015, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Workshop participants included global, regional and country representatives from Oxfam as well as partner CSOs in the food and Climate Justice Campaign.
The objectives of the workshop were to equip African teams with practical campaign tools and to develop a strategy for a southern-led, evidence-based climate justice campaign across Africa. Participants explored and utilised several tools such as power and targeting analysis, public campaign planning and digital communications.
Participants developed a common narrative, a plan for the Pan-African campaign and identified key campaign moments in 2015.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Call for Applications: Africa Community Rights Fellowship, Kenya Office

Natural Justice: lawyers for communities and the environment; Kenya office are inviting applications for The Africa Community Rights Fellowship. The fellowship offers young lawyers and other engaged professionals the opportunity to work towards community rights in the region. Supported by the Natural Justice team, the Fellows will be introduced to a broad spectrum of issues within environmental and human rights law through fieldwork and research supporting multiple Natural Justice programmes and initiatives. Natural Justice has been working with local communities, NGOs and government agencies in Kenya since 2009 and opened its Nairobi office in 2014. It currently works closely with the LAPSSET Community Forum, community-based organizations, NGOs and County Governments to provide research findings, information and legal training in relation to LAPSSET.

The Fellowship is offered through the Kenya and South Africa offices and the Fellows will be based in the Natural Justice Kenya office in Nairobi. It will provide an exciting opportunity to energetic and committed legal and other professionals who are passionate about supporting communities in securing rights to their lands and resources and addressing the impacts of infrastructure or extractive industry projects, with a focus on the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET). The Fellowship is for a period of 6 months to begin in late April. An honorarium will be offered along with a travel budget. Applicants from areas along the LAPSSET Corridor in Kenya are encouraged to apply.

The deadline for applications is 8 April 2015 – 17:00 GMT. Please email your application to Gino Cocchiaro (gino(at) with Africa Community Rights Fellowship in the subject line. Include a motivation letter that indicates why you feel you are the best candidate for this fellowship, a detailed CV with at least two references, and one relevant sample of your past work (for example, an article on research report). Please ensure that your application as a whole speaks to the required skills and experience listed above.
Call for application

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Kenya: Mining Bill Submissions to Senate

A rig belonging to Tullow Oil and Africa Oil who recently commenced with 
exploring oil in Northern Turkana at Lowarengak, while the Mining Bill explicitly 
excludes application to fossil fuels such as oil, the interrelatedness of the legislation 
governing community land and the broader extractives sector is crucial 
for Kenya’s future. cc. Billy Kapua, FOLT

Natural Justice’s policy advocacy involvement with Kenya’s Mining Bill continues in 2015, with greater vigor as this law draws closer to its likely enactment this year. On the 26th of February, the Senate heard oral and accepted written submissions by members of the public on the Mining Bill. This Bill already passed in the National Assembly, Kenya’s other legislative house. However, given that the Constitution requires any law affecting the counties to go through the Senate, and outcries last year over the Bill’s legality and the powers granted to the Cabinet Secretary, it merited consideration by the Senate prior to assent by the President. 

Together, with five other partner organizations – the Friends of Lake Turkana, the Kenya Civil Society Platform for Oil and Gas (The Platform), the Institute for Business and Human Rights, Oxfam GB Kenya and the Kenya Land Alliance – we collaborated in the preparation and submission process. The process, coordinated by the Platform, focused on three main issues, (a) the institutional framework and discretionary powers of the Cabinet Secretary and other functionaries; (b) community engagement, participation and land; and (c) transparency and accountability. 

One highly contentious aspect of the Bill is the fact that the Cabinet Secretary is granted great powers in administering the mining industry in Kenya; however, this has been ably fleshed out in the past. Our submissions noted that there was a need to look at other functionaries created by the Bill such as the Directors of Mines and Geology, for example, and ensure that their conduct is subject to explicit constitutional and lawful limitations expected within a democratic space such as Kenya. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Kukula Traditional Healers BCP Revision workshop

Natural Justice together with partners K2C and Wits Rural Facility (WRF), facilitated a BCP revision workshop for the Kukula Traditional Healers (KTH) of Bushbuckridge, South Africa, on 16 – 18th February 2015. Over twenty KTH members participated including representatives from the Executive and Management Committees. The objectives of the workshop were to revise the KTH Biocultural Community Protocol (BCP) to reflect the Kukula’s priorities and to address key stakeholder needs. 

During the first day of the workshop participants listed their achievements in 2014, and discussed current challenges and priorities for 2015. Mr Johan Lorenzen, from Richard Spoor Inc. Attorney’s, presented on laws, policies and recent legal developments which support the KTH and their aims. Key outside stakeholders participated on day two of the workshop, sessions included ‘governance and leadership’ where representatives from Traditional Authorities and KTH members discussed ways to strengthen their relationship and to improve the management of medicinal plants in communal areas. This was followed by a session exploring possibilities for the sustainable harvesting of medicinal plants in protected areas.