SarWatch Writer
Civil Society Organisations Working Together for Change in Zimbabwe’s Extractive Industries

Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) hosted a roundtable discussion for civil society organisations working on the extractive industries in Zimbabwe, particularly the mining sector, on 26 February 2020.

The discussion included representatives from Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA), the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), Transparency International-Zimbabwe (TIZ), Oxfam Zimbabwe, the Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG), the Institute for Sustainability Africa (INSAF), the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit (ZEPARU), the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), Action Aid International Zimbabwe, and the Ali-Douglas Research Network.

Civil society organisations in Zimbabwe are advancing various initiatives that promote good governance in Zimbabwe’s mining sector for broad-based socio-economic development. These initiatives include building capacity in local communities in mining areas to defend their rights, enhancing parliamentary oversight, and influencing legal and institutional reforms in line with international and regional best practices governing the sector.

The objectives of the roundtable discussion were to ensure sharing of information on planned work for 2020, and to devise strategies aimed at advancing collective advocacy campaigns for good governance in Zimbabwe’s extractive industries. The country is in a deep-seated economic recession and faced with a climate crisis, resulting in extreme poverty. The mining sector has been a key factor in the economy, contributing 75 per cent of foreign earnings in 2019, and providing 35 000 formal jobs as well as 500 000 informal jobs in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector.

Key advocacy areas agreed by the participating organisations were;

  • violence in the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector, as well as formalisation challenges;
  • climate change, environment, biodiversity and the extractive industries;
  • gender and the extractive industries;
  • responsible and sustainable investments in the sector, and taking an inventory of the legislative framework governing business;
  • adoption of transparency and accountability initiatives from a national, regional and international perspective;
  • fostering of cross-sectoral economic linkages by the mining sector.

Organisations commended this initiative aimed at ensuring that greater impact is realised, given the few organisations working in the sector and the setbacks faced in policy continuity affecting the necessary governance reforms in Zimbabwe.