Mining is one of the priorities both in the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) and Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) II. The Ministry Responsible for Mining is currently updating its mineral profile through a project called Mining Governance and Growth Support Project (MGGSP) with support from World Bank and EU. The project will unveil more mineral potential for Malawi. This therefore implies that more investors would venture into the Extractive industry. However, to achieve the sectors mandate of facilitating sustainable development for the mining sector, there is need for strengthening the governance of the sector and addressing key issues like reforms in the framework for managing mineral resources and the development of a national mining policy.
CEPA through Tilitonse Fund recognizes the urgency of strengthening the sectorsâ€™ governance which is characterized by weak institutional, policy and legal framework. It is for this cause that CEPA through Tilitonse Fund is implementing a project on Strengthening Mining Governance in Malawi with an overall goal of ensuring that governance in the mining sector is more inclusive and accountable. To accomplish this, the project will conduct policy review of the current legal and policy framework including the ongoing development of the Mining Policy to identify specific areas for improvement. The project is designed to develop a model mining policy and legal framework that Malawi needs for effective regulation of the Mining sector. In addition, policy briefs will be developed of key emerging issues. Policy research will also be done to draw lessons from other countries that have developed robust regulatory frameworks for their mining sector. Evidence based policy advocacy will be conducted to assess Policy implementation and facilitation of dialogue with allied communities to have a contextual understanding of implications for the regulatory framework.
Though the sector is still an emerging industry and that most civil society organizations have limited knowledge that makes them inactive in their watchdog role regarding governments plan on exploration and extraction of minerals, CEPA still recognizes the role played by Civil Society and academia in facilitating research to inform effective policy development in the mining sector. Bearing this in mind, the project will see to it that there is a generation of collective civil society voice in mining policy issues through the use of Natural Resource Justice Network (NRJN) members that will;
- Identify advocacy issues pertaining to the mining sector
- Facilitate training in policy advocacy for civil society organizations working in the mining sector
- Develop Â an advocacy strategy
- Lobby government to consider elements from the model policy and legal framework that will be developed by CEPA
A great threat to the rapid growth of the mining sector can be posed by a weak governance framework especially when there is limited public understanding of mining issues which may be evidenced by lack of debate amongst the public on environment and socio-economic impacts of mining endeavors on livelihood. This could be a result of lack of interest in mining issues by the general public and also limited access to information. The project will amongst others address the awareness gap in the mining sector through information, education and communication with different societal targets primarily by facilitating local policy dialogue sessions on mining.
THE ALTERNATIVE MINING INDABA
The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and Mining Indaba held its 20th annual investing in African Mining Indaba, Economic Justice Network of FOCISSA (Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa) on the other hand hosted its 5th Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) conference under the theme, “our resources, our future, putting local people first,” The event brought together mining communities, mine workers, companies, government officials and civil society from across Southern AfricaÂ and beyond. AMI highlighted some of the crucial issues within the extractive sector and proposed possible solutions to the issues raised at the conference.
The event that took place in Cape Town, South Africa among other things explored the growth in the extractive sector, the experiences of communities, the illusion of economic growth and the prevailing high levels of corruption, increasing in equalities, governance issues and opportunities that Africa Mining Vision provides.
The main objective of the Alternative Mining Indaba was to provide an international platform for Civil Society Organizations to share experiences, mobilize and motivate mining communities to strengthen their work on advocacy and the development of strategic tools which would empower them. Recognizing the role of mining in sustainable development, ICMM, in collaboration with Mining Indaba, co-hosted two sustainable development sessions at the 2014 edition of Investing in African Mining Indaba. Parallel to the Mining Indaba which took place at Cape Town International ConventionÂ Centre, AMI noted that solutions towards sustainable growth and development can only occur if the government and the civil society could work together to achieve sustainable development.
AMI was climaxed by a march that was organized by Civil Society Organizations. AMI presented a petition to key stakeholders and decision makers in the global mining industry value chains that were present at the 20th Mining Indaba.
It was evidenced through AMI that Civil Society Organizations are committed to consult each other, to strengthen collaborative efforts and make the most use of common ground in bringing accountability and transparency to the mineral sector. Â Countries that were present at AMI were Malawi, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Brazil, Canada, Mozambique, Portugal, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Burma, Just to mention a few.
Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy, Norwegian Church Aid Malawi, Quadria Association of Malawi and Evangelical Association of Malawi with support from Tilitonse Fund were represented at the AMI.