Harnessing the power of voices-Collective Action towards accountable mining resource governance: Manicaland Declaration
Manicaland Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba Declaration
Harnessing the power of voices-Collective Action towards accountable mining resource governance
Dated: 14 September 2021
On the 14th of September 2021,the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) together with various stakeholders comprising of Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Zimbabwe Miners Federation, Mutare Rural District Council, Diamond FM (media), Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and Faith leaders from various parts of Manicaland gathered in Mutare for the Manicaland Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba.
The socio-economic and political environment continues to deteriorate, with several challenges in resource governance repeatedly being recorded. These include lack of transparency and accountability in the natural resources governance sector with the vulnerable suffering the most especially women, children and the disabled.
To encourage citizen participation, awareness and capacity building, various stakeholders were brought together to deliberate and discuss how accountability and equitable natural resource governance can be promoted. Through collective action, citizens can play a pivotal role through application of various principles which include, the principle of responsibility, the principle of stewardship and the principle of accountability in mineral governance so as to improve the socio-economic development while fighting the inequality gap.
Issues of concern raised included, the issue of massive land degradation, relocation of host communities without adequate compensation which has been an issue for several years. Some mining activities are insensitive to the environment and no rehabilitation is being done. Mining companies extract without consultation with some even failing to employ locals.
The continuous lack of beneficiation and non-payment of tax by some mining companies has derailed social and economic development and this calls for stakeholders such as Policy makers to up their game in their oversight, representative and legislative role including ensuring participation of the local people in mineral resource governance.
Not only is the environment and communities being affected but also the artisanal and small-scale miners continue to face challenges. A blind eye has been turned to the small scale and artisanal miners. The sector lacks legal, administrative, financial and technological support to contribute to national revenue streams and eliminate illicit mineral flows.
- Ownership and control of mineral resources
- Distribution of wealth from mineral resources
- Inclusion of all stakeholders and community members during consultations
- Regulation of artisanal and small-scale miners
- Less or no damage to the environment and land rehabilitation
- Farmer miner conflicts must be resolved through a fair policy.
Recommendations from Participants
- Mining companies should respect the cultural values and norms of the people and stiff penalties should be imposed on those who fail to respect the values and norms of communities they are working with.
- The people relocated are to be compensated fully and they should benefit from the resources
- Communities demand an all-stakeholder consultations which is not cosmetic just to fulfill the EIA processes and this must be done before any mining takes place and ;
- Power dynamics must change for the better. Communities should be given authority over their own resources through traditional leaders who must act in the interest of their communities
- Communities should take action to protect flora and fauna including through reforestation and afforestation project initiatives, water harvesting to maintain sustainability with the funds from mining companies.
- Communities are rightful owners of the resources hence they have to fully benefit. Communities need to use the Indigenous Knowledge Systems to preserve their forests and wetlands.
- Mineral revenue must be equitably distributed within various wards of the province to reduce the inequality gap amongst communities.
- Government and mining companies need to put measures in place to ensure relevant infrastructures are put in place to safeguard the interests of women and children.
- Locals should be given employment and granted permanent contracts.
- Value addition needs to be done to the minerals before they are exported.
- There is need for contract disclosure among communities and other stakeholders e.g. RDCs