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Wacam Hosts Environmental Activists

Hannah Owusu-Koranteng
Hannah Owusu-Koranteng

Wacam, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) credited with tackling irresponsible mining in the country, has hosted activists from the sub-region to discuss its continuous campaign for a clean extractive sector, particularly mining.

The activists, representing some powerful Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), were drawn from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal.

They used the two-day workshop to, among other things, deliberate on the gaps in minerals and mining regimes and also developed advocacy strategies aimed at increasing benefits of mining to the states.

Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Associate Executive Director of Wacam, in an overview, said they have been working to redefine corporate responsibility to ensure that the people, especially those directly affected by irresponsible mining, hold the mining firms accountable.

She said, “Wacam relies on best practices to ensure that companies and governments respect community and environmental rights under protocols signed by states and industries at UN and AU levels, as well as guidelines developed to guide the conduct of businesses in developing countries.”

Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng said “Wacam has contributed to the reduction of conflicts between affected communities and mining companies by getting affected mining communities to appreciate the importance of using legal procedures, dialogue and campaigns in their struggles.”

“We have helped to increase the confidence of affected peasant communities in the judicial system through its right-based education and by so doing, has contributed to the strengthening of democratic governance of Ghana and the rule of law.”

She said that the development of what she called a 'Sample and Mining Bill' by Wacam, in collaboration with the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), has been instrumental in the campaign against irresponsible mining, adding that they drew inspiration from ECOWAS Mining Directive, which has provisions like Free Prior Informed Consent, Polluter Pay Principles and Community rights and the issue of compensations.

“The challenge is that mining companies are ahead of the CSOs when it comes to mining lobbying and advocacy on the continent. Mining companies, with their vast financial resources, have the ear of governments who depend on natural resources.”

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