Theme: Gender Equality today for a sustainable tommorow
WE, the 56 participants that include traditional leaders, local authorities, mining communities, legislators, faith-based organisations, government officials and civil society organisations gathered at Nyamakwere Lodge, Mutoko on the 23rd of March 2022 for Gender and Extractives Symposium.
The symposium which built on the commemorations of the international women’s day of 8 March 2022 was held under the theme, ‘Gender Equality today for a sustainable tommorow #BreakTheBias.”The 6th edition of the Gender and Extractives Symposium sought to come up with advocacy approaches to address challenges faced by women and girls who are calling for transformative public service provision hinged on transparency and accountable management of natural resources.
Noting the importance of choosing to challenge, beyond international women’s day, the barriers impacting equal participation of women and men in the mining sector, climate impacts on women’s rights and mining actvities, tax justice from the extractive sector and women in positions that influence decision making.
Acknowledging that Zimbabwe is a mineral rich country with mineral commodities constituting a significant portion of the economy in terms of forex generation and employment. (The government is targeting a US$12 billion mining sector by 2023 and the projections provides a strong and important pillar to the National Development Strategy (NDS1) and Vision 2030 in terms of revenue generation).
Deeply concerned that, despite this significant[i] contribution, mining communities are not deriving benefits from resource extraction. More precisely, the existence of minerals has unfortunately turned out to be a curse rather than a blessing where livelihoods of the locals particularly women have consistently remained the same.
Concerned that several local communities have continuously bemoaned irresponsible investments by some mining companies. Land degradation, pollution, dilapidated state of roads, cracked houses are what some locals have been left with.
Disheartened by the ineptitude of the government to reform the archaic Mines and Mineral Bill and genuinely commit to tackle the challenges that ensure community beneficiation. The government has also dismally failed to develop alternatives that encompass value addition of minerals to ensure that community benefit from natural resources.
We now therefore call on the Government of Zimbabwe, Ministry of Mines and Mining Development relevant Ministries and stakeholders to put the following into consideration.
- Social Cooperate Responsibility must be made a biding law
The issue of social cooperate responsibility came out as a major cause for concern in Mutoko where some companies have failed the communities in terms of plough back. The mining of the black granite rock in Mutoko has brought about several challenges to the community. Environmentally, granite mining has led to biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), desertification/drought, food insecurity (crop damage), genetic contamination, loss of landscape, noise pollution, soil contamination, waste overflow and loss of vegetation.
Health related impacts are also evident in Mutoko, and these include accidents, exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation), malnutrition, health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, occupational diseases, and infectious diseases.
Therefore, there is need for a legally binding Social Cooperate Responsibility law where mining companies will be required to plough back to communities and ensure community development as this is currently voluntary and not mandatory.
- Progressive Taxation System that benefits women and Introduction of Wealth Tax to Mining Cooperation’s
The current taxation system was also singled out as being regressive. Participants from mining affected communities demanded that revenue generated from taxation must be channeled towards efforts and initiatives that will improve the lives of women and young girls through gender transformative public service delivery. Secondly government must enact a law that provides for a redistributive Wealth Tax. The introduction of wealth tax will be a morally just measure and an important vehicle towards the attainment of tax justice.
- Communities must benefit from natural resources in their areas.
Section 298 of the constitution mandates the State to put mechanisms for communities to benefit from resources in their localities. As emphasized by the Publish What You Pay Coalition among other progressive civil society organisations pushing for transparency and accountability in the governance of mining, oil and gas sector, government needs to plough back a portion of royalties towards community development where resources are being extracted. Outside the devolution funds that local authorities receive from the central government, the people of Mutoko called on the government to redistribute at least 5% of mining royalties to Mutoko where black granite is extracted.
- Value addition of minerals before they are exported.
Black granite is currently being exported in its raw form without undergoing the value addition chain process. In line with the Africa Mining Vision, which provides provision for Resource diversification, creation of conducive environment for development of back ward and forward linkages, value addition especially semi processing and cluster development. In this regard, government must ensure that they are black granite processing plants. This will in turn create employment for the youths and make the community the worth of the precious rock.
- Transparency and Accountability in Mineral Resource Governance
Mutoko Rural District Council highlighted that it has failed to access the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) documents from Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the mining entities operating in Mutoko. This is contrary to the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) that envisages transparency, equity, and the optimal development of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development in Africa. AMV encourages government to acquire knowledge of the mineral wealth potential of the country to create better opportunities to optimally gain from the disposal of mineral rights. In this regard, there is need for EMA and Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to exercise transparency and accountability and disclose the contracts signed by mining companies. The drafting of EIA documents must also be done in consultation with the local authority. The meeting also highlighted a plethora of mining-induced challenges such as smuggling of gold, illicit financial flows (IFFs), lack of transparency and accountability by some mining companies and lack of inclusion of the locals in some of the decisions made in their communities.
- More empowerment trainings for women
Development partners need to invest in more capacity building workshops that will help break the bias and sensitize women in an endeavor to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
- Setting Up of Disaster Risk Committee
Stakeholders agreed to continue building capacities of women on climate change issues and set up a disaster risk committee in an endeavor to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The extractives sector plays an indispensable role in the economic development models and plans of many regions and countries. However, very little knowledge exists that draws out the connection between climate change and natural resource development within the context of developing countries, which are projected to experience greater vulnerability to climatic shifts.
Therefore, it is important that the role of the extractives sector in a broader development context, is unpacked including its complex interlinkages with a changing climate is better understood and incorporated in policy and strategic decision making.
Let’s work together to #BreakTheBias
LIST OF REPRESENTATIVES
- Action Aid Zimbabwe (AAZ)
- Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG)
- Environmental Management Agency (EMA)
- Ministry of Local Government, Public Works, and National Housing Bills
- Ministry of Public Service, Labor, and Social Welfare (MPSLSW)
- Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts, and Recreation (MYSAR)
- Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development
- Mutoko North Community Development Trust (MNCDT)
- Mutoko community members
- Mutoko Rural District Council (MRDC)
- National Aids Council of Zimbabwe (NAC)
- NewsDay Zimbabwe
- Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC)
- Parliament of Zimbabwe
- Sanitation Hygiene Infant Nutrition Efficacy (SHINE)
- Women and Law in Southern African Research and Education Trust (WLSA)
- Youth Initiatives for Community Development (YICD)
- Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)
- Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD)
- Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
[i] The mining sector is an important key sector of the economy, contributing over 60% to the country’s export earnings while constituting about 16% of the total national output (GDP) yearly.