Global Right Nigeria in collaboration with African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) has hosted the first ever two-day summit on the ECOWAS Mining Directive and social safeguards for mining host communities in West Africa in Abuja during the week.
The Summit which drew participants and representatives across West African States such as Mali, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso amongst others, had some connected live to the summit via digital platform such as Zoom.
According to Global Right, Country Director, Abiodun Baiyewu, ‘the primary purpose of this summit is to create a convening platform for mining host communities across West Africa to share experience, to improve their understanding of issues faced by mining host communities, to increase their capacity for engaging with companies and government on human rights and development impacts of mining, and facilitate opportunities for joint action and problem solving”.
“It has become imperative for West African States to under one roof in order to begin to fashion out modalities in solving several human rights violations particularly those done perpetrated towards host communities where mining activities are being carried out in these countries.
“This summit would help our partners in these West African states to learn one or two lessons from one another, if would afford them opportunity to also have better understanding of what they are advocating for” said Baiyewu.
While speaking on the challenges facing the Mining Host communities she further opined that lack of understanding of role of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) introduced in 2007 by the United Nations to protect the rights of indigenous communities before starting a project has been a major challenge.
“There isn’t a clear understanding of the FPIC by some relevant regulatory agencies and their roles in its implementation in most West African States’ she said.
Aderomola Adeola who spoke on the implementation of the FPIC in Nigeria at the ongoing West African Indaba for mining host communities said there is need to collaboration between regulatory agencies and Civil Society for effective implementation of FPIC.
While sharing Ghana Mining Host Communities experience, Mrs Hannah Owusu Koranteng, a Ghanaian Representative at the summit said that country has been using the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent to create the countervailing power against the financial and lobbying power of the extractive companies.