Mining is an important developmental activity which has immense potential to contribute towards economic development. However, if unregulated, it can be a major cause for environmental and human rights violations with children and young people bearing the brunt of the violations. These negative environmental impacts can have irreversible, lifelong, and even trans-generational consequences.
Over the past year, ZELA has managed to use evidence-based research to expose the impacts of mining activities and existing legal frameworks on environmental child rights (ECR) to promote multi-stakeholder safeguarding of children and youths’ environmental rights.
The 23rd of March 2021 saw the organisation convening an inception meeting to share an overview of the multi-actor partnerships (MAPs) project with key stakeholders from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), Chief Executive Officers of Mutare and Chimanimani Rural District Councils, Environmental Officers, Environmental Management Agency, Parliament Secretariate, civil society organisations working on extractives and those working on child rights, Community Based Organisations in project areas, and youths.
The three year long MAPS project envisages to build on the Environmental Child Rights project in a quest to continue advocating for the promotion of children’s rights to a healthy environment. To deal with the challenges in a more inclusive manner, ZELA is adopting the (MAPs) model to bring together various key stakeholders within the mining sector in Zimbabwe in a move to ensure that everyone contributes and recognises children’s right to a healthy environment.
The stakeholders agreed that the project is an important one with huge sustainability potential and emphasised the need:
1. To ensure the protection and safeguarding of children as they participate in project activities.
2. Protect children as human rights defenders.
3. Have the project utilise existing dialogue structures to ensure sustainability.
Most importantly engagement of children during project implementation should ensure that their views are taken into account and efforts should be made to ensure undue influence is not exerted on them by adults during consultation and engagements.
The participants at the inception meeting also took time to sign the #MyPlanetMyRights petition calling on the international recognition of the right to a healthy environment for children. Do not be left out, visit www.myplanetmyrights.org and join the movement.
Every year 1.7 million children die before their fifth birthday from drinking contaminated water or breathing polluted air?……………. Click and sign the petition.