The National Coalition on Mining (NCOM) met in Accra in January to strategically review the last year and plan the course for 2010.
The Coalition discussed a range of issues including an update of complaints from communities affected by mining, policy reform agenda of the African Union–Economic Commission for Africa (AU-ECA), especially after the December 2009 Accra conference whichwas co-hosted with ECOWAS and TWN-Africa; the viability of the Gambia-based African Commission for Human and People’s Rights as another forum for addressing community rights; the new donor framework – the Natural Resource and Environmental Governance (NREG). NCOM members also reviewed the state of the Coalition as a framework for common and collaborative campaigns.
ACCRA(TWN-Africa)--The three-day workshop organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, ECOWAS, the African Union and Third World Network-Africa to review the report of the International Study Group on the framework of mining regimes in Africa ended in Accra, Ghana on Friday, November 27.
Among issues deliberated at the three-day meeting were a regulatory and fiscal mining regime in Africa; the AU-led African Mining Vision 2050; and the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF).
Participants were drawn from key stakeholders including the African Union Commission (AUC); the African Development Bank; the ECOWAS Commission; the private sector; NGOs; CBOs; and other UN agencies.
The UNECA West Africa sub-regional office based in Niger, co-organisers of the workshop expressed confidence at the outcome of the workshop adding that it will “inform future mining regimes” in Africa. It also hoped that the discussions and conclusions arrived at will help in the re-drafting of the ISG report so as to capture “aspirations” of both civil society and other stakeholders alike.
Addis Ababa, 22 October 2009 (ECA) – Good governance in Africa is everyone’s job, not just the compliers of reports or even government officials, a governance expert said.
“The burden is upon all of us to claim ownership of this report,” said Mr. Said Adejumobi, chief of the Public Administration Section of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. “So go ahead, take it! It’s yours!”
Mr. Adejumobi made his comments during a press launch of the second edition of the African Governance Report (AGR II). AGR II is an overview of the state of governance in 35 African countries. It is the most comprehensive report on the subject for Africa. It assess and monitors progress countries are making on issues, identifies capacity gaps and makes policy recommendations on improving governance on the continent.
AGR II’s overall message is that only marginal progress has been made in terms of governance since the last report was compiled almost four years ago. For example, human rights and the rule of law improved slightly overall – by two and three percent respectively. African economies over all are better managed; and the “big man” syndrome of the strong executive is receding in many parts of the continent.
However, major challenges still remain. Corruption “constitutes the single most important challenge in Africa,” Mr. Adejumobi said. It was the general perception of most people surveyed for the report that all governance institutions were corrupt – the executive, judiciary, legislative, even civil society organizations weren’t immune from being tarred with the corruption brush, he continued.
Mr. Adejumobi explained that the report used three research instruments to gather information in each country: an expert panel (around 100 drawn from different facets of society), household surveys (around 3,000 ordinary people surveyed) and desk research (basically examining the existing information). In answer to a question he explained that the material gathered by these methods was sometimes at odds, and when it is the case, AGR II points out these discrepancies.
For example, the governmental reports showed substantial improvements in the continents economy. However, this wasn’t reflected in the household surveys. On the ground, people were reporting that this improvement had not trickled down to them. Things were still tough, Mr. Adejumobi said.
On a more positive note, AGR II underlines the remarkable progress made in the place of women in public life. Globally more women are represented in national parliaments in African countries than anywhere else in the world.
But perhaps one of the most important factors around AGR II is not within it, but the fact that it exists at all, Mr. Adejumobi said. When the report was in the planning stage, partner organizations believed international consultants would be necessary to do compile it. ECA declined that offer, saying that Africa had the capacity to look into governance in Africa itself. This report is the proof that it does, he said.
“We are telling our stories ourselves,” he said. “We have done these very scientific studies, ourselves. This is an African report, done by Africans.”
The English version of AGR II was published by Oxford University Press.
The Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) convened a meeting of experts focusing on enhancing Africa’s participation in the WTO, from the September 7-8, 2009.
The meeting considered the status of the WTO from agriculture, non-agriculture market access, trade facilitation among others. The meeting also discussed Africa’s positions in the current negotiations.
In agriculture, the key issues of negotiations still include the Special Safeguard Mechanisms (SSM), Special Products and also tariff capping and designation of sensitive products. The overall trade distorting support is also another grey area as well as export competition issues export credit, export credit guarantee and the cotton subsidies.
The outcomes of the Delhi mini-ministerial outlined agriculture negotiations in a two tracks process. Firstly, the technical discussion on outstanding issues such as Special Safe Mechanism, sensitive products and secondly on the templates for WTO member’s schedules of commitment which includes the data needed to undertake this exercise.
The purpose of this press release is to condemn the propaganda of the Chamber of Mines and to demand of it and its membership to end violence and human rights abuses perpetuated against people living in communities affected by mining.
This release is made at the monthly rotation meeting of the National Coalition on Mining held Tuesday June 3rd, 2008 in the conference room of Third World Network-Africa.
In the last few weeks, in commemorating its 80th anniversary, the Chamber of Mines has sought to project the mining industry as an industry going beyond the call of duty in its contribution to community livelihood, the environment and the national economy as a whole. The Chamber exaggerated this stance by formulating the theme for the eightieth anniversary dubbed “Life is impossible without mining”.
We view this theme not only as intellectually dishonest and mischievous, calculated to sweep the negative environmental, human rights, social and economic legacies under the carpet but also a feeble attempt, as usual, to manipulate the psyche of citizens into believing the Chamber’s construction of what constitute mining. In fact, what is particularly dishonest about the theme is the attempt by the Chamber to wrap all types of mining and interests into the industry’s particular conception of mining which has been inherently destructive and hostile to other interest. Artisanal small scale mining including also the winning of sand, clay and other minerals has long been consistent with traditional forms of community social and economic organisation. Today, corporate commercial mining advocated by the Chamber angles many other competing interests around mining. For instance, thousands of small scale miners are displaced by the Chamber’s construction of mining. Several of these small scale miners constitute the population who lost their farmlands to corporate commercial mining.
Again, even as mining is potentially important, the reality is that there are thousands of people out there whose daily livelihood choices have nothing to do with mining the type of mining conceived by the industry. At the national level, despite the long history of mining the Ghanaian state has benefited only marginally from mining. Today, it is no longer the lone voice of local communities and NGOs who argue that mining has not contributed enough to government revenue and national development but also multilateral institutions such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and indeed the architects of the current framework for mining i.e. the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Yet the environmental, human rights and social problems are in the increase as the industry searches for more grounds for mining, as they introduce new technologies and methods of mining, and as they collude with the state to lower national standards for mining. Therefore, this attempt to turn facts on their heads will not wash.
In its eighty years of existence, the Ghana Chamber of Mines directly and indirectly and through its strong lobby of the state continues to supervise:
·Massive destruction of the environment by mining companies
·Excessive deprivation of the national economy and citizens from accessing the full benefits of mineral resources
·Indiscriminate dislocation and displacement of local communities from their land, water resources and cultural heritage
·Increased violence and human rights abuses of people living in communities affected by mining as well as small-scale miners.
We could have left the propaganda of the Chamber to the public to judge. However due to the Chamber’s trajectory of massive propaganda in the last eighty years, we are compelled to offer an appropriate response. Because, our silence could be interpreted to mean that the Chamber is offering the truth.
As we celebrate the World Environment Day which falls on June 5th each year, we condemn the industry propaganda and demand of it to end:
·The destruction of the environment
·Deprivation of communities from ownership and access to their livelihoods
·The violence and human rights abuses perpetuated against people living in communities affected by mining.
·All such propaganda that is destructive to the productive capacity of the national economy.
The National Coalition on Mining (NCOM) is a grouping of communities, NGOs, and individuals engaged in mining sector advocacy for environmental sustainability, human and community rights, and national economic development.