Governments should promote greater access to information and more transparency by:

Claude Kabemba's picture

Director of the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW)

September 18th, 2013


Governments should promote greater access to information and more transparency by:

  • Improving the implementation, and enforcement, of existing access to information and disclosure laws by providing more financial and technical training, and necessary equipment;
  • Passing access to information and disclosure laws where none currently exist;
  • Signing up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to promote the disclosure of revenue and payments in the extractive sector; and
  • Ensuring that information about any mining project or programme that negatively affects the environmental and social interests of communities cannot be treated as confidential information.

Governments should improve institutional capacity by:

  • Ensuring that there is sufficient human and technological capacity to enforce and implement mining-related laws;
  • Providing staff in public institutions that are responsible for environmental and social accountability programmes with adequate training to carry out their tasks;
  • Developing an effective monitoring, evaluation and reporting system involving all stakeholders to improve environmental accountability;
  • Ending overlaps and jurisdictional clashes between government departments responsible for issuing mining licences and environmental management; and
  • Conducting audits of mining and prospecting rights databases and establishing cadastre systems. 

Governments should improve mining-related legislation by:

  • Making corporate social responsibility a legal requirement so that companies can be held legally accountable for the promises and commitments they make in EIA reports; and
  • Ensuring that regional and international instruments are domesticated and effectively enforced in order to promote social and environmental accountability.

Governments and companies should reduce the impact of mining on communities by:

  • Avoiding resettlement if possible;
  • Carrying out resettlement only if there is no other option and only after securing the free, prior and informed consent of the affected individuals as set out in a binding Consent Agreement based on clear legal frameworks
  • Paying people affected by resettlement just and equitable compensation; and
  • Operating according to international human rights law and best practice in relation to compensation for resettlement even when affected people do not have legal title to the land they lived and worked on.

Mining companies should:

  • Support – and join – voluntary initiatives such as the ICMM principles, Global Reporting Initiative, Equator Principles, EITI etc.;
  • Publish their environmental monitoring reports, revenue contributions and impacts on communities and report their progress toward achieving concrete environmental and social goals through specific and measurable indicators that can be independently verified, which should be disaggregated by project.

Financial institutions should:

  • Work on outreach campaigns with communities on the environmental and social risks associated with their financing of extractive projects as part of their environmental and social accountability.

Civil society organisation and community groups should:

  • Play a more active role in monitoring the implementation of EIA commitments through improved community-based or independent monitoring of extractive industries;
  • Work to establish multi-stakeholder mechanisms to ensure community participation in the design, implementation and monitoring of mining projects;
  • Work with governments to establish local level institutional structures to support local development programmes, such as foundations, trust funds, community empowerment schemes or joint ventures between local communities, employees and mining companies;
  • Study the Community Share Ownership Scheme in Zimbabwe and the Bafokeng Community in South Africa (among others) to see what are the best models and how to replicate them;
  • Seek judicial redress for damage caused by the extractive sector by using (where applicable) constitutional provisions relating to environmental, social, cultural and economic rights; and
  • Assess the implementation of regional and international instruments on social and environmental accountability and then conduct advocacy campaigns.

Parliaments should enhance their oversight role by:

  • Adopting and applying the principles contained in the SADC Resource Barometer developed by SARW and the SADC-PF, which sets out draft principles for good governance of the extractive sector; and
  • Summoning key government ministers, activists and industry experts to testify at public hearings and initiating more regular communication between relevant parliamentary committees and representatives from the mining sector.


About the author(s)

Claude Kabemba is the Director of the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW). In 2006, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) asked him to spearhead the formation of SARW. He holds a PhD in International Relations (Political economy) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Thesis: Democratisation and the Political Economy of a Dysfunctional State: The Case of the Democratic Republic of Congo). Before joining SARW, he worked at the Human Sciences Research Council and the Electoral institute of Southern Africa as a Chief Research Manager and Research Manager respectively. He has also worked at the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Centre for Policy Studies as Policy Analyst. Dr. Kabemba’s main areas of research interest include: Political economy of Sub Saharan Africa with focus on Southern and Central Africa looking specifically on issues of democratization and governance, natural resources governance, election politics, citizen participation, conflicts, media, political parties, civil society and social policies. He has consulted for international organizations such Oxfam, UNHCR, The Norwegian People’s Aid, Electoral Commissions and the African Union. He has undertaken various evaluations related to the work of Electoral Commissions and civil society groups interventions in the electoral process in many African countries. He is regularly approached by both local and international media for comments on political and social issues on the continent. His publication record spans from books (as editor), book chapters, journal articles, monographs, research reports, and newspaper articles.


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