25 February 2020
Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Hon Foday Rado Yokie
EU Ambassador to SL, Mr Tom Vens
MRU Deputy Secretary General, Dr Abubakarr Tarawalie
GIZ Project Coordinator Mr Patric Makua
WDC Executive Director, Elodie Daguzan
Chair of WGAAP, Mr Maurice Miema
Ladies and gentlemen good morning.
On behalf of the KP Civil Society Coalition (KP-CSC) I would
like to thank the Mano River Union, GIZ, European Union and the Government of
Sierra Leone for inviting me and for supporting this very important and timely
event. The Mano River Union is charting and defining the course of history of the
diamond industry by regionalising discussions and efforts to address problems
in the sector including smuggling of minerals, poverty, limited livelihoods options
and other development outcome challenges.
The KP CSC held in its annual planning meeting in Zimbabwe in
January 2020. The meeting was held in the aftermath of the KP Plenary in India
in November 2019 that failed to produce any significant reforms on protection
of people from violence in the diamond sector.
Out of the Zimbabwe planning meeting, the CSC adopted a new
Strategic Plan and an operational plan for activities within and outside the
Our mission remains the same: Defending the rights of communities
affected by diamond mining. However, we have deliberately decided to focus on
three main themes in 2020 -2021 namely; a) Redistribution of benefits to local
communities, b) Reducing violence in diamond mining communities and c) Land
Therefore, based on our experience over the past two years of
reflection and strengthening our internal systems, our focus will be on;promoting
the interests of communities where diamonds are mined with increased focus on
working outside the Kimberley Process, increasing our work at national and
regional levels where change can be effected and impact felt by communities and
securing other partnerships that can ensure that work at national and regional
levels is accomplished. We will also be deepening other partnerships at
international level including working with the OECD, the UN and the Private
Sector in order to obtain real gains for diamond governance.
Why we think Regional Approaches can be a game Changer
The Regional approach can enhance cooperation, knowledge
creation and exchange and promote compliance and law enforcement in the context
of shared borders, cultures, languages and natural resources. This is one natural
progression of the KP, whose Core document emphasises its tripartite nature and
Information sharing as key for KP implementation. Cross border learning is
The CSC was involved in all initial meetings and discussions
on establishment of the Mano River Union Regional Approach, starting with the
Liberian Review Visit (Alan Martin of PAC and Shamiso Mtisi current KP CSC
Coordinator participated). Therefore, this process is key to our work in
the diamond sector
To cement our regional work, the CSC adopted a new Strategic Framework
for 2020-2021 which focusses on Regional level work as outlined below.
CSC Member Activities in the Mano River Union
We have also regionalised our work and governance structure.
We have Regional Leads in three regions; Mano River Union (West Africa),
Central Africa and Southern Africa.
is Regional Lead for Mano River/West Africa
in Cameroon is lead for Central Africa
in Zimbabwe leads the Southern Africa region.
- -Other members
in the Mano River Union include: Green Advocates in Liberia, CECIDE and Action
Mines Guinea in Guinea and GRPIE in Cote d’voire.
At national level, we are excited about the establishment of
national tripartite arrangements for example in Guinea where a Ministerial
Decree was passed for the establishment of a National KP Tripartite group. To
complement regional work with national level activities, we have also agreed to
recruit Associate Civil Society Coalition members at national level in
different countries. In different countries and regions we will be holding regional
level meetings with regional decision-makers, participate in panels in regional
forums, strengthen regional platforms and bring community voices for regional attention.
Questions, Views and Opportunities on Procedural and
Substantive Matters for the Mano River Union Regional Approach
In the Mano River Union, the centrality of the development
benefits of diamonds to citizens and especially host communities is the reason
for mining in the first place. Therefore, policies and laws must reflect this
objective. In addition, practices and operations must promote political
security, environmental sanity, social cohesion and cultural integrity. The
question is how much of the mineral revenue is used to benefit the communities
and address their development needs including; water, electricity, education,
roads, housing, food, medical facilities, markets and lasting jobs. Where are
the diamonds going?
That also means decision making must be inclusive and
participatory. Since communities are central to the purpose of mining, they
should be fully represented in all structures and at all levels (country &
regional KP platforms and meetings) like this one today. This includes the
situation of women and gender issues in the mining sector which needs adequate
attention. Special programmes should be initiated and supported in this
We call for the recognition and support to Mano River Union
Civil Society Platform on Natural Resources Rights and Governances Platform. I
would like to introduce the members present; Idrisssa Tchernaka, Sangare
Tiemoko Souleymane and Abu Brima.We are calling for their
involvement in the meetings of MRU governments’ especially on natural resource
issues/ discussions. The platform needs the support of everyone around.
For the MRU, the implementation of the Washington Declaration
to regulate and formalize the ASM sector is critical especially now that
artisanal minerals are on the increase and poverty is at the same time rising
with its attendant conflicts and insecurity.
The issue of security
is very important. Sierra Leone for instance is classified as one of the most
insecure states presently (Global Security Index). The mining sector often
employs heavy security operations even with unarmed citizens’ protests. It is
important to think of how to create people-centred mining operations without
any sense of community insecurity?
The Mano River Union Region can demonstrate that regional harmonisation
and implementation of agreed standards and policies can help promote diamond
governance and compliance with KP minimum requirements and other standards including
respect and application of human rights standards and efforts to end child
labour, environmental damage and poverty. This can be done through application
of Mano River Union statutes or other policies that may be defined by the Mano
River Union as a trailblazer.
The Mano River Union should not be afraid to chart the way
for the broader KP to learn- it has already done so by establishing the
Regional approach. Efforts to establish a regional approach in Central Africa
should benefit from the lessons in Mano River Union. Southern Africa remains to
What is important going forward is implementation of agreed plans
and making national tripartite taskforces or forums work. Community and civil
society participation will be crucial.
Delivered by Shamiso Mtisi (Coordinator of KP Civil Society
Contributions and insights from Abu Brima, Mamadou Lamarana Diallo
and Mamadou Daiby.