The Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA) through its Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) initiative and Economic Justice Programme is geared to undertake a three year project on “Promoting Social and Environmental Accountability in Southern Africa Mining Sector.”
The project will combine research, advocacy, capacity building and networking. Although it will focus primarily on 7 countries (Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, South Africa and Angola), it will, along the way, cover the entire SADC region and it will attempt to incorporate other countries beyond SADC. The objective of the project is to provide a clear understanding of the potential biodiversity risks associated with mining development in SADC region.
This initiative will also address the question of the role that mining is playing in driving land grabs in Africa. The project will help SARW and key partners in the SADC region to identify biodiversity areas and heritage sites which are at risk from mining activities. It will assist SARW in raising awareness (of CSO, citizens, governments, financiers and the mining companies about the potential negative impacts of extractive industries particularly from a human rights and development perspective and contribute to the process of finding solutions to minimise these impacts.
The project is envisaged to develop CSO knowledge based advocacy so as to enable them to work with stakeholders in the extractive industries (communities, companies and government) to increase social and environmental accountability in the SADC region. It is envisaged that this project will develop a strong movement of civil society actors working in the realm of economic justice, corporate social responsibility and environment to effectively play their role in monitoring social and environmental accountability in extractive industries.
OSISA’s partners in this initiative include UNDP through its GEF funded project on Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Capacity Building for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in sub-Saharan Africa. This project is set to operationally start within the third quarter of 2011. The points of collaboration of the two projects will primarily be the areas of (i) the developing of technical capacities of CSOs in Sustainable Land Management and knowledge based advocacy (ii) coordination of African CSOs improved to enhance partnerships for effective coordination and knowledge transfer and (iii) CSO capacity development for community mobilization around sustainable land management issues. This initiative is envisaged to compliment the work of SARW, ENDA and the Equator initiative in the work they have been undertaking in sustainable land management. For CEESP this initiative is quite strategic as it will provide a basis for drawing lessons and messages out of Africa as well as strengthening its membership base.
SARW and the Economic Justice Programme of OSISA launched the social and environmental accountability programme by holding its project inception meeting from 19-20 August 2011 in Johannesburg. The meeting was attended by project implementing partners from 6 of the 7 project sites.
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