Wednesday, June 23, 2010

SIERRA LEONE MINING AGREEMENT SUCKS?


“AN AGENDA FOR CHANGE “: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’s Trends.

Negotiating mining agreements in most cases are based on the political well and aspirations of the government. I do encourage the negotiating policy / agreements to be in accordance with the country’s mining and minerals legal document/s that protect the environment and the rights of the indigenous.

In recent years, you can agree with me that most developing countries have been and currently in competition with others for funding from transnational mining investors by providing attractive agreements in order to explore these mining companies. This is done in expense of risking and not recognizing the growing concern of the rights of the indigenous, and with reference to the environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and other indigenous legal documents that protect the environment and the people. The articles you are about to read detail the gray areas of conflict.

Before posting the articles in question, it takes me a while to assess the trend of the said articles / press releases in connection with the mining agreement in my home country, Sierra Leone. Apparently I am yet to conclude my thesis about the documents that you are about to read. My reason is that, before my trip to overseas, I happened to be one of the civil society and human rights activists in Sierra Leone, and was privileged to be part of an active advocacy group that promote environmental and social justice in Sierra Leone, Campaign For Just Mining: Network Movement For Justice And Development – NMJD’s Initiative. With my own little and collective effort together with other campaign members in advocating for mining / environmental policies was a long way struggle before I departed.

It is so disheartening to realize that our country is still struggling and yet to realize the same vices that brought the civil conflict. In our legal systems, should the precautionary principle be made a statutory requirement for an environmental justice? How can national policies / agreements influence change if the authors are not enforcing its implementation? And why national policies / agreements are mortgaged? Should our leaders be objectively accountable for their actions? What kind of action should we take? I will suggest that we continue to engage our political leaders through a non-violence approach in order to address the current trends towards our mining agreements and policies. The people of Sierra Leone deserve attention.

I am currently a member and the Africa Rep. on the International Development Committee – IDC, Development and Peace Canada (D & P Canada). Development and Peace is one of the Canadian Christian based NGOs that also promote environmental and social justice, an organization that “was founded by the Bishops of Canada in 1967 as the official Canadian agency for Development work and emergency relief in the Global South. It is also the Canadian of Caritas International”. By working closely with other international expertise overseas, I will use my added experience to share with you back home to influence policy makers, politicians and other government leaders in a non violence approach to effect the required changes. We must stand in defence of the fundamental rights of the defenceless, the indigenous.

Transnational mining industries are riding high as a result of government demands. The priority focuses of these investors are based on our domestic mining policies / agreement, a shift in the restoration and guarantee of the indigenous rights. Landowners (individuals or companies) and mining companies are heavily involved in deal making to develop their mineral properties.

After all, the goal of successfully negotiating a mining agreement is to provide maximum benefit to all parties. Does the current agreement provide maximum benefit to all parties? Should you have any concern about the articles on the mining agreement, please leave your comments with thanks.

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