Kenya: International initiative helping local community in resource-rich Kerio Valley negotiate with corporations for "shared prosperity"
"A Legal Lifeline for Communities Threatened by Resource Development Projects"
Lawyers for Resource Justice is a collaboration between ISLP; Avaaz, a global web movement for organizing citizens; and Namati, a grassroots justice organization, to increase the legal support available to communities affected by large-scale resource development projects. We connect national and grassroots organizations with the Global Legal Empowerment Network, and link them to volunteer international lawyers who provide customized legal support and access to international jurisdictions. This initiative helps to empower vulnerable communities to use the law to protect their lands and environment, and amplify their voices internationally...
Kerio Valley residents, lacking formal title to their lands, are especially worried about receiving appropriate compensation for land and resources. Although residents welcome the economic growth that hydrocarbon development might bring, they are concerned about environmental damage, local employment opportunities, and fair distribution of benefits.
In the summer of 2014, a community-based organization from Kerio Valley requested ISLP’s assistance in obtaining timely, clear, and complete information regarding oil development in the region and in representing the community in talks with the oil company. In response, ISLP enlisted volunteer lawyers with experience negotiating on behalf of marginalized communities facing resource development...ISLP’s lawyers and staff have worked closely with members of the organization to identify community concerns and have traveled to the Kerio Valley to liaise with community members, discuss priorities and challenges, and strategize a way forward.
Exploratory drilling in the Kerio Valley is slated to commence in mid‐2015. In the meantime, ISLP aims to help residents reach an agreement with the developer that will govern compensation and community benefits during initial exploration, and outline a workable plan for continuing community engagement once the scale of any oil reserves is determined. In so doing, ISLP hopes that Kerio Valley will become an example of true “shared prosperity,” and avoid the resource curse that too often plagues communities facing resource development projects.