14th Aimes Review and Strategy Meeting, Accra, 13-
14th Aimes Review and Strategy Meeting, Accra, 13-
The 14th Review and Strategy Conference of AIMES (African Initiative on Mining Environment and Society) will take place in Accra Ghana on 13-
Against the above background the 14th AIMES review and strategy conference will bring together 40 representatives of CSOs and key social constituencies from across Africa with a view to update each other on our current areas of engagement, developing common perspectives on the challenges of realizing the AMV, developing an agenda for common advocacy and taking steps towards strengthening AIMES and improving its relations with other networks and key social constituencies.
The African Initiative on Mining Environment and Society (AIMES) a pan-
2. Background and Context
The past decade of increased global demand for minerals, the accompanying price rises and growing mining investments led by major emerging economies, especially China, have had a number of consequences for Africa. The most immediate have been the growth in exports and earnings and resultant economic growth in mineral producing African countries. Globally the geo-
In many respects the AMV has turned CSO demands into planks of official policy and their strengthened their legitimacy. This development AMV offers a historic opportunity for African civil society to work across the society-
There have been a number of important developments around the AMV since the last AIMES meeting. In December 2011 the Second AU Conference of Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development adopted an Action Plan for the implementation of the AMV and also agreed to set up the Africa Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) as a pan-
The AMV is increasingly becoming the reference point for a broad range of actors – campaigning CSOs, bilateral and multilateral political and finance institutions, mining TNCs, as well as intellectuals of varying orientations – with all of them expressing their support for it in whole or in aspects. This is irrespective of the history and role of these actors in the definition and implementation of the ruling paradigm that the AMV challenges and their actual current practices. Apart from AIMES an increasing numbers of CSO coalitions around Africa have welcomed the AMV with varying degrees of caveats – Publish What You Pay, the Alternative Mining Indaba and the Africa Trade Network being examples. The World Bank, AusAid, Canadian CIDA, the EU, are some of the financing agencies that have declared support for the AMV and are offering support for aspects of implementation. In early 2012 the World Bank published a study on how to increase local content in mining industry in West Africa.
Whilst groups such as AIMES are ranged on one end of this spectrum of seeming common purpose, ranged on the other side are the mining TNCs, their home governments and bodies such as the World Bank who would be quite happy to see a neutered AMV. For them the transformative reach of the AMV should not go beyond tinkering with Africa’s existing mineral economy in response to some of the threats posed by “resource nationalism” but without any fundamental change in the model. The concluding statement from the 2011 AIMES meeting noted the danger of derailment or distortion of the radical promise of the AMV as happened to earlier instances of plans for structural transformation such as the Lagos Plan of Action. Essentially the AMV has become a contested policy framework and a battle is unfolding over what it is or should be.
The contest over the AMV must be situated in the wider debate about Africa’s development options and the implications and possibilities of the unfolding scramble for Africa among old and emerging global powers and the continent’s decade-
In most African countries the issues on the mining reform agenda are by and large of a fairly eclectic and narrow type and show little indication of being re-
Nature of the 14th AIMES Conference
Seen through the lens of the AMV the advocacy focus of AIMES members can be grouped into three broad categories: a) interests and rights of constituencies (e.g. communities, workers and ASM); b) optimizing revenue inflows and utilization (e.g. fiscal reforms, plugging illicit flows, revenue transparency, revenue utilization including, benefit sharing with communities); and c) optimizing the development effects of minerals (e.g. linkages and diversification, local content). However to be successful in using the advocacy opportunity offered by the AMV we to deepen our knowledge and reach beyond our traditional areas of focus (i.e. revenue transparency, human rights and environmental impacts, etc.) out to other issues and organisations so as to better understand and come to grips with the multifaceted agenda and opportunities of the AMV. Successful advocacy around the AMV requires the construction of a much broader coalition which incorporates CSOs and groups which historically have not been working on mining issues. The emerging contestation around the Vision agenda makes this even more imperative if the fears that we have expressed about potential hijacking, dilution, etc. are to be prevented from coming to pass.
Over the past couple of years AIMES and some of its members have been engaged in reaching out to other constituencies and organisations so as to help develop the broad and diversified alliance for change that the AMV entails. Trade unionists attended the Harare AIMES meeting and in the period since there have been a number of events to which the secretariat and other AIMES members have invited workers representatives. Also AIMES members have been invited to participate in meetings of trade unions at various levels. There has also been outreach to other CSO coalitions outside the mining area. Outside Africa a number of Africa solidarity organisations in Europe and North America have began to support AIMES’ campaign line around the AMV. Despite these developments it is fair to say there remains considerable ground to be covered on both knowledge building and strategic positioning in respect of the AMV.
Flowing from the above challenges the 14th AIMES conference will seek to:
1. Increase members’ knowledge of the content of, status and processes around ongoing mining reform agenda at various levels;
2. Define an advocacy agenda and strategy for the network in respect of the AMV reform agenda, and
3. Agree ways of strengthening AIMES and enhancing its outreach to other networks and constituencies.
Taking account of these objectives the meeting will have the following format and content:
1. Report from the Secretariat and overview of meeting context.
2. Reports from and discussions of national situations and work of members.
3. Presentations and discussions on three broad thematic areas with the aim of identifying an agenda of advocacy issues and challenges and defining a strategy for the realisation of the AMV at national and regional levels:
a. The AMV and the struggle to advance the rights and interests of constituencies and definition of an agenda of collective engagement;
b. Optimizing mining revenue and utilization and relevance of ongoing campaigns for the work of AIMES; and
c. Tackling the challenges of mining and structural transformation.
4. Strengthening AIMES and enhancing its outreach to other networks and constituencies
There will be a maximum of 40 participants in the meeting, including those from the host country, Ghana. Not more than 35 participants will be drawn from outside Ghana. Participants will mainly come from members of AIMES with a minority from outside the network, from constituencies such as organized labour and CSO networks working on development issues seen as important for building a diversified change coalition. A number of policy officials and researchers will also be invited as resource persons.
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