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sharing in governance of extractive industries

Civil Society and Journalists in Côte d’Ivoire Are Getting Serious - 60 Civil Society Representatives Ready to Make a Better Case for Good Governance in the Mining Sector

The Regional Resource Governance in West Africa (ReGo) Programme, funded by German Development Cooperation and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, runs a series of technical trainings strengthening the capacity of Ivorian Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to better tackle the challenges of a fast growing mining sector

Many times, governments and companies do not take civil society seriously - often more so if campaigns lack hard facts and are poorly researched. Advocacy work in the mining sector is no exception. Being highly technical and multifaceted, the overall impacts from mining activities on the local and national level are hard to grasp. The challenge lies not only with the understanding of the technical details of mineral extraction, but also in how to read and understand mining contracts, national and international legislation, analysing data and the governance framework at large. More evidence-based and strongly-formulated inputs from CSOs positively impacts policy making, increases transparency and assists communities to hold their governments and companies accountable.

Last year, interviews with 150 civil society members in Côte d´Ivoire revealed that the majority had only a limited understanding of the sector and the surrounding governance framework. Most interviewees had never visited a mine, nor did they have basic knowledge on how minerals are extracted. This is despite the fact that the mining sector plays an increasingly important role in Côte d´Ivoire. Gold production alone more than doubled over the past six years[1]. As new flagship projects like the Yaouré mine[2] will start producing soon, Côte d´Ivoire may become a potential competitor with neighbouring countries like Ghana in the near future. Mining will play an increasingly important role for the Ivorian economy.

As a response to the survey results, ReGo started a training series for civil society representatives at the beginning of this year. With the objective of reaching out to more than 60 civil society members, ReGO ran two in-depth trainings-of-trainers with CSO representatives active on the local and national level. Each of the two trainings lasted for two weeks and aimed at strengthening capacities of 30 members of CSOs on issues varying from human rights to environmental and socio-economic aspects of mining.

Participants from local CSOs in workshop in Yamoussoukro. Picture by Alex Kopp, Projekt-Consult.

 

The curriculum contained basic training on the mining sector as well as technical sessions on how to interpret mining contracts, mining legalisation and environmental standards.  Theory was put into practice through exercises and direct application of the new knowledge during a field trip to a mine site.

The training was a great opportunity for me and my organisation in the sense that it allowed us to learn about good governance in the mining sector in theory and practically through an actual visit of a mine site”, states Kadjowé Apolline SIMI from the NGO “See My Line Internationale” (SEEMI) in the mining area of Divo in a follow-up interview.

Participants visiting an artisanal mine site during a field visit. Picture by Stefanie Heerwig, GIZ

The training content was developed and delivered in collaboration with Projekt-Consult GmbH with the support of the Ivorian Mining and Geology Directorate (DGMG) and the Ivorian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) who conducted parts of the training as well as the Ivorian Chamber of Mines (GPMCI).

Participants of the training exchanged vividly with Guinean and Ivorian journalists during one of the afternoon workshops. This was a valuable opportunity for fruitful exchange for both sides. Parallel to the CSO training, a regional technical workshop for journalists on covering news in the mining sector took place. It was implemented by the Thompson Reuters Foundation with support of ReGo and funded by German Development Cooperation.

In the future, newly trained trainers will pass on their knowledge and deliver technical trainings as well as sensitisation activities in local communities. Some organisations already apply what they learned in their daily work. For instance, one of the participants, Yobouet Simplice KOUADIO from the CSO “Mouvement Ivoirien des Droits Humains” (MIDH), stresses that “the new knowledge allows MIDH to better apprehend the sanitary and environmental problems of affected communities in Bondoukou and to help those communities in collaboration with local development committees to develop projects according to their real needs.”

Exchange with Ivorian and Guinean Journalists during an afternoon
workshop. Picture by Raja Fügner, Projekt-Consult.

Link to the GIZ ReGo Project Website ‘Regional Resource Governance in West Africa

Contact: Stefanie Heerwig (Stefanie.heerwig@giz.de)

[1] https://www.miningreview.com/magazine_articles/gold-booming-cote-di...

[2] Yaouré is predicted to become one of the largest gold mines in Africa once it comes into production: https://www.reuters.com/article/gold-ivorycoast-amara-ming-idUSL6N0...

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Comment by Kim Rahel Schultze on July 12, 2018 at 12:48

Thanks to my colleague Stefanie for sharing.

Here in Liberia, we are facing similar challenges and conducted similar trainings. As a follow up to the trainings, participants could apply for small grants to put what they learned into practice. Some very exciting activities that linked extractive resource governance with community relevant issues (Women in Mining, Local MIning Contracts and Youth Participation) came out of that.

We are looking forward to seeing CSO learn and grow when it comes to Resource Governance - a major source of challenges and potential in the Manu River Union.

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