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Calls for Coherence and Harmonisation

AIMES 12 Meeting Calls for Coherence and Harmonisation of the on-going Policy Initiatives on the Continent

12th ANNUAL STRATEGY MEETING OF THE AFRICAN INITIATIVE ON MINING, ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY (AIMES)

ULY 6-8TH, 2010, BAMAKO, MALI

1.0 Introduction

We, XX members of the African Initiative on Mining, Environment and Society (AIMES) from Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe and our partners from Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the  United States of America held its twelfth Annual Strategy Meeting from July 6-8th, 2010 in Bamako, Mali.

2.0 Context and Purpose

The 12th annual strategy meeting took place at a time of global financial crisis affecting the economies of mineral dependent countries. The countries which unleashed the financial shock waves into Africa’s economy have begun to put forward recovery measures. This is a period during which the continent, under the aegis of the African Union, is embarking on reforms of Africa’s mining regimes. Both the financial crisis and the recovery measures have consequences for Africa’s development effort in general and the reform agenda in particular.    

Conceived as a platform for analysis, information sharing and shared policy positions, the objective of the twelfth annual strategy meeting was to:

1.      Deepen our understanding of and capacity in relation to the financial crisis, the continental reform agenda as well as other policy initiatives relevant to Africa’s mining sector.


    Develop joint analysis of the implications of the financial crisis, the recovery effort and policy initiatives for Africa’s policy reform agenda and the campaigning possibilities for CSOs.

    Adopt a plan and strategy for influencing the adoption of positions and outcomes of the meeting.

    Offer solidarity and make a contribution to national campaigns promoted by Malian civil society organisations on mining.

    Provide space for shared perspectives and strengthening networking relations.

3.0 Issues

The meeting discussed:

·         The financial crisis and the current recovery effort, international commodity trading, and international financing recourse for the global mining industry and their impacts and implications for mineral dependent economies in Africa.

·         The issues and challenges to the continental agenda for the reforms of Africa’s mining regimes as well as other on-going policy initiatives relevant for Africa’s mining sector and their implications for the reform agenda.

·         The sites and arenas of policy initiatives, contestations and advocacy, in particular, the Multilateral Development Banks, the African Development Bank, The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and the national policy space.

·         Strategies and the role of AIMES as a Pan-African civil society network for collaborative advocacy on mining

4.0 Observations

Based on shared analysis and understanding of the issues discussed the meeting made the following observations:

The financial crisis has inflicted devastating effects on the economies of African countries through job losses, collapse of businesses, and loss of government revenues from selected minerals, in particular copper and diamond.

The financial and economic crises exposed the inherent weakness of the structure of Africa’s economies and their over-dependence on a narrow basket of primary commodities. At the same time, the crisis has exposed the flaws of neo-liberal economic model.

Unfortunately, while the flaws of neo-liberalism have re-introduced the debate on regulations, much of the discussions on regulation tend to focus on financial regulation and ignore any discussion on the financialisation of primary commodities.

We observed that African governments are turning up to the International Financial Institutions, in particular the IMF and the World Bank for a solution to the financial crisis. Rather than financial aid, the financial crisis brought to the fore the urgent need for a re-exanimation of the primary commodity trading regimes and the structure of the economy of mineral dependent African countries.

We observed the appalling attitude of the World Bank towards the concerns of the public and citizens, especially people affected by the Banks supported mining projects. The failure of the World Bank Group to; acknowledge failures of Structural Adjustment Programme,  and incorporate constructive response to the Extractive Industries Review into its policies and practice, is a reflection of its lack of sensitivity to citizens concerns.

A decade ago, African policymakers rejected suggestions of any alternative to the current liberalised Africa’s mining regimes even when it was clear that the unsustainable extraction of Africa’s rich mineral resources has not been to the benefit of local communities, host countries and the continent as a whole. On that score, we find the on-going reform initiative by the African Union an affirmation of the failure of the mining regimes and a bold step that should be supported to succeed.

However, we are concerned that the future prospects of the continental reform initiative may be undermined by parallel processes such as the World Bank sponsored African Mineral Governance Programme (AMGP) and other regional specific initiatives. Our concern is grounded on the history of past experiences in which external policy prescription has led to the collapse of domestic as well as continental policy initiative. A clear example is the way in which Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) came to replace the Lagos Plan of Action adopted by African governments in the 1980s. While African governments may still have the spirit of the Lagos Plan of Action, the demands of liberalisation and commitment to specific projects is making it almost impossible for them to rally around a continental development project.

The failure and or lack of domestic policy is also a reflection of the appalling attitude of African leaders towards a united continental development initiative. Over the past decades, there has been a tendency on the part of African governments, negotiators and elites to prioritise externally prescribed policies and donor funded projects over domestic policy initiatives and resource mobilisation. This partly explains why domestic policies often prioritise foreign direct investment over and above rural economic activity, peasant producers, small scale artisanal mining and the informal sector as a whole.

In the midst of on-going policy initiatives at the national, regional, continental and international levels we observed a continuing environmental degradation and violation of the human rights of people living in mining areas.  Environmental destruction and human rights violations caused by mining activities manifest in various forms including water pollution, destruction of livelihoods of men and women, land degradation and interruption of land relations, forced eviction, meagre compensation, unemployment, public health and safety issues, encroachment in protected areas, and general lack of developmental impacts in communities affected by mining.

The current mining regimes provide too many privileges for transnational mining companies which enable capital flight out of the continent. These privileges come in various forms including unrestricted access and control of mineral resources, tax concessions, low State equity participation, long years of mining leases, pervasive contracts and bilateral investment agreements, voluntary reporting mechanisms. These privileges constitute an important component of the poor balance sheet of mining for Africa. The situation is compounded by the poor information exchange and weak institutional capacity to monitor and prevent tax evasion and avoidance, environmental and human rights abuses.

5.0 Demands/Recommendations

Based on the forgoing we make the following proposals for ensuring success of the reform agenda, protecting African economies from devastating effects of financial crisis, and the protection of the environment and community rights.

Financial crisis

    We support the calls for reform and regulation of the international financial system.

    Since the financial and economic crises has highlighted Africa’s vulnerability with particular regard to mineral and other primary commodity dependence, we demand that the current debate on reform and regulation of the international financial system should pay attention to the effects of financial speculation on mineral dependent economies and options for protecting such economies.

    As part of contributing to fair commodity trading regimes, we call for urgent action to develop frameworks for production and price stabilization and management of Africa’s strategic commodities. This approach also enhances economic and political cooperation among mineral dependent developing countries.

    In addition, there should be short-to-medium and long-term actions and measures for value-addition through processing and manufacturing.  

Continental Policy Reform Agenda

    We find the on-going reform initiative led by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) under the directive of the African Union (AU) an affirmation of the failure of the mining regimes and a bold step that should be supported to succeed.

    We call for wider access and improvement around the reform process to allow a reflection of a variety of perspectives as much as is democratically possible.

    We call for coherence and harmonisation of the on-going policy initiatives on the continent with the view to optimising the benefits of mining to Africa and its people in both the short and long-term.  In this regard, the frameworks which emerge from on-going reform initiatives must focus on the developmental role of mining, a convergence of the social, cultural, economic, environmental and political objectives including the need to improve human development, indigenous knowledge and technology, gender and generational equity.

    The processes of the reform, coherence and harmonisation should provide opportunity for exploring and putting forward policy options that go beyond the familiar centrality of foreign direct investment in Africa as a whole and in the mining sector in particular.

    We call for united action in opposition to any threat to the philosophical basis and overall success of the reform that offers frameworks which protect community interest and the environment as well as promote economic development and citizenship culture in a determination of mining.

We repeat our demands for:

    An end to impunity and violation of community rights and the environment

    Review of mining contracts to make them fair, transparent, equitable and optimise their contribution to national development.

    An upward review of royalty tax and state equity participation.

    An introduction of specific taxes such as capital gain tax, windfall tax, and super tax. A specific percentage of the supper tax could be devoted for implementation of the continental reform agenda.

    Review of the framework and administration of the environmental and social impact assessment to take account of issues such as human rights, gender, housing and access to livelihood.

    Abrogation of clauses of stability agreement, development agreement and confidentiality of environmental audit reports from national codes as these constitute major barriers to state autonomy and public access to information.

    Transparency and accountability of public institutions and mining companies, particularly in their relations with communities and citizens’ groups, as well as their obligations to environmental, human rights, finance and tax.

6.0 Conclusion

We concluded the meeting knowing that the reform initiative is a contested arena but with high hope that African governments and leaders would be united around the African Mining Vision and in their pursuit of the reform initiative in a way that addresses the needs and imperatives of African peoples and their economies, and in the same spirit united in their opposition to any threat to derail or re-shape the reform in the narrow pursuit of the interest of corporations and a few privileged elites.

We as African Civil Society in collaboration with partners are committed conscious of the diversity capacity differentials commit ourselves to ourselves to continue to work together for the promotion and protection of community rights, the environment and the realisation of the aspirations of African peoples. We call upon other organisations, especially the academic community, the media, women’s groups, labour and human rights activists across Africa and beyond to join AIMES in this endeavour.

Endorsed by

    Mamadou GOÏTA

Directeur Exécutif  IRPAD/Afrique

BP: 2729 Bamako  (MALI)

Tél. B: (+223) 20 23 89 20  Fax :   (+223) 20 23 89 21

 skype: mamadou.goita

Site Web: www.irpadafrique.org

1.      Abu A. Brima

Executive Director

Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD)

29 Main Motor Road

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Tel.: +232-02-345-3073 / 0772516982.      Alvin Mosioma

Coordinator

Tax Justice Network for Africa (TJN-A)

Mbaruk Road, Mucai Drive, off Ngong Road P. O. Box. 25112 – 00100

Nairobi- Kenya

Tel:  254-20-2721076, 2721655, 2725743

Fax:  254 20 2725171

Mobile:+254722571614

 3.      Mohammed S. Turay

Programme Officer

Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD)

29 Main Motor Road

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Tel.: +232-02-345-3073 / 077251698

 4.      Roger Moody

Mines and Communities

41A Thornhill Square, London

Tel/Fax: +44 20 77 00 6189

 5.      Wilson Kipsang Kipkazi

Secretary/Programmes  Director

Endoris Welfare Council

P.O. Box 15801-00200

Nakuru, Kenya

Tel.:+254-020-214-0886

Cell:+254-053-206-1107

 6.      Kabinet Cisse

Change de Programme Resource Naturelle

CECIDE, BP 3768, Conakry, Guinea

Tel.: +224-60586697 / 30467035

Cell: +224-6058-6697

 7.      Mamadou Diaby

Community Representative

c/o CECIDE, BP 3768, Conakry, Guinea

Tel/Cell: +224 62 29 57 73/64 86 36 33

 8.      Idrisa Sako

Journalist, Les Echoes

BP 2043, Avenue Cheick

Zayed Bamako, Hamdallaye

Tel.: +223-229-6289

Cell: +223-647-5472

Fax: +223-229-7639

9.      Caroline Ntaopane

Mining Programme Officer

Bench Marks, Johannesburg, South Africa

Tel.: +27-11-832-1759

Cell: +27-99 32 46 00 81

10.  Richard Adjei-Poku

Executive Director

Livelihood & Environment Ghana (LEG)

P.O. Box 88, Ahafo, Kenyasi

Cell: + 233-24-338-8299/+233-27-553-7802

11.  Jamie Kneen

Communications & Outreach Coordinator

Miningwatch, Canada

508-250, City Centre Ave, Ottawa, ON K1R 5R2, Canada

Tel.: +1-613-569-3439

Cell: +1-613-761-2273

Fax: +1-613-569-5138

 12.  Jean-Luc Muke

Member, Avocats Verts Org

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Tel.: +243-99 99 72 412

 13.  Joshua Klemm

Program Associate, Africa

Bank Information Center

1100 H Street, NW, Suite 650

Washington, DC, 20005

Tel:    +1 202 624-0630

Skype: klemmjd

14.  Mawutor Samuel

Civic Response

37 New Town Loop

D-T-D Accra North

Cell: +233-24 68 52 432

.15.  Abdulai Darimani

Third World Network – Africa

P.O.  Box AN19452

Accra-North

Tel.: +233-302-511189.

16.  Lindlyn Tamufor

17.  Yao Graham

Coordinator

Third World Network – Africa

P.O. Box AN19452

Accra-North

Tel.: +233-302-511189

18.  Barbara Zida Kpodo

Programme Officer

Third World Network – Africa

P.O. Box AN19452

Accra-North

Tel.: +233-302-511189

9.  Gilbert Makore

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)

Number 6 London Derry Road, Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe

Tele/Fax: (00263-4) 252093/253381/250971

20.    Gertrude Frimpomaa Domfeh

Coalitions and Partnerships Officer

ABANTU for Development

P.O. Box KD 4, Kanda, Accra, Ghana

Tel: +233 21 816113

Fax: 233 21816114

Cell: +233 244 873252

21.    Kanni Abdoulaye

GREN Niger

Cell: +227 90 36 61 28 or 96 55 73 49

22.  Hamadataher Haroun Moussa

GREN Niger

Cell: +227 90 58 13 50 or 96 96 70 02

23.  Van Edig Christopu

Cell: +227-20 72 35 90

24.  Nouhoum Keita

Community representative, Mali

Cell: 223-76 49 14 30

25.  Prince Chima Williams

Environmental Rights Action/ OilWatch-Africa

Cell: +234-80 59 40 23 85 or 80 23 64 989

26.  Fatoumata Traore

LES ECHOS, Mali

Cell: +223 76 12 83 15

27.  Assetou Samake

 Researcher, Mali

Cell: +223-66 71 18 03


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