Makweti Sishekanu is a PhD Candidate at the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM).  He has worked with the mining industry in Zambia specifically in the portfolio of community liaison and facilitating the Metorex Chibuluma Copper Mines Corporate Social Responsibility programs. He has worked as a technical expert and consultant with different national and international agencies, including the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) as National Legal and Policy Expert for the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Program to conserve wetlands in the rural and communal lands, as well as a social safeguards advisor to the Ministry of Lands on emissions reduction and carbon trade programs. He has worked with the University of Zambia as a part-time lecturer in Environmental Law and Education for Sustainabe Development (ESD). 

Makweti has also worked with the National Heritage Conservation Commission of Zambia around indigenous native culture and traditions of the people of Barotseland (Western Zambia) in an effort to inscribe the Barotse Floodplain Cultural Landscape as a UNESCO-listed Heritage site. His immediete past work was with the Zambia Institute of Environmental Management where he served as Environmental Law and Social Safeguards Specialist under three core areas of work; i.e. consultancy, research and training. Currently, he remains a Socio-Legal advisor to the Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ) in Zambia, and a Social Safeguards advisor to the Governnmet of Malawi on the World Bank-funded Urban Sanitaion program.

Makweti has worked with the African Develpment Bank as an Environmental and Social Safeguards Specialist for the Bank-funded national projects to build rural-based industrial facilities across the country; he has worked with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as a trainer of community producers in land-based natural resource governance including benefit sharing agreements, grievance and conflict redress mechanisms. He has worked with the United Nations Environment Program (the UN Environment) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to support the Government of the Republic of Zambia in undertaking legal and policy assessments for mainstreaming climate change Ecosystem-Based Adapatation. Makweti has worked with the Center for International Foresry Research (CIFOR) as a national legal researcher (both common and customary laws) in the Zambezi-Kavango Transfrontier Conservation Area, a transboundary conservation area which geographically covers four countries - Zambia, Angola, Namibia and Botswana. He has also worked with the World Bank as a benefit sharing consultant in Zambia's Eastern Province Jurisdictional Sustainable Landscape Program for emissions reduction in Chiefdom/traditional areas.  

Researcher biography

Research Focus and Collaborations

Socio-Legal Assessment of Indigenous Landrights and their role in the Governance of Mining on Indigenous Territories.

The research investigates the characterizatization of Indigenous land rights from a customary law perspective of Indigenous people in mining areas. The research employs a socio-legal methodology to analyze the role of customary law rights and how they interface with the common law system to govern the relationship between mining and indigenous communities. The research pays particular attention to the role of customary law rights in strengthening consultation over, guaranteeing participation in, and consent for, mining on indigenous territories. 

Supervisor: Associate Professor Kathryn Sturman

Makweti is a specialist in social safeguards. His research interests are biased towards socio-legal methods of understanding the inter-face between policy, law, regulation and society, especially in view of rural, traditional and/or customary communities. He has has spent twelve years of his career working with communities on different land-based and resource governance issues affecting them. Makweti is a cum laud graduate of the University of Zambia and holds an LL.M in Energy and Environmental Laws from the University of Aberdeen in the UK. He has since worked as a technical expert and consultant with both national and international organizations in Zambia and Malawi. Makweti is a member of the African Mining Indaba, professional member of the Zambia Institute of Environmental Management and currently serves as socio-legal advisor to the Board of the Center for Environmental Justice  (CEJ) in Zambia. 

Other than the many newspaper column articles written since 2011, Makweti has published notably:
1. Makweti Sishekanu, ‘Equitable and Fair Benefit Sharing: A Socio-Legal Imperative for a Social Safeguard Misnomer’ (2021) 1/1 International Journal of Law, Justice and Jurisprudence, pp 57-68 accessible at
2. Makweti Sishekanu and Morgan Katati, ‘Resource Tenure and Property Rights Conundrum in Zambia’s Natural Resource Management’ (2022) 18/0 Law, Environment and Development [LEAD] Journal, pp 1-16 accessible at 
3. Makweti Sishekanu, ‘The UNESCO Heritage Nomination for the Barotse Floodplain Cultural Landscape: An Environmental and Sociocultural Safeguards Perspective’ (2022) 05/05 International Journal of Latest Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, pp 1-12    
4. Makweti Sishekanu and Morgan Katati, ‘Subjectivity in the Logic of Zambia’s Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) Process: The Bedrock of Controversial EIA Approvals’ (2021) 17/0 Law, Environment and Development [LEAD] Journal 42-54. Accessible on <>
5. Makweti Sishekanu, ‘Evolution of Forest Law and Regulation in Zambia from 1973 to 2015: Critical Analysis of the Gap Between Text and Context’ (2020) Volume 16/1 Law, Environment and Development (LEAD) Journal pg 39-54 available at <>
6. Morgan Katati and Makweti Sishekanu, ‘Environmental Mens Rea in an African Perspective: The Role of Environmental Law in Investigating and Prosecuting Environmental Crimes’
7. Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, Kusiyo Mbikusita-Lewanika and Makweti Sishekanu, National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF): Inventory and Documentation of Traditional Management Practices, Governance Systems and Management Plan for the Barotse Cultural Landscape and the Broader Ecosystem of the Barotse Floodplain (The Barotse National Library, Documentary and Research Services, 2020)
8. Makweti Sishekanu, National Policy and Legislative Review Report for the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Project. The Ministry of Environment and Green Economy, UNEP and GEF, January 2023.