Today at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi launched the report “Land Displacement, Involuntary Resettlement and Compensation Practice in the Mining Sector: A Comparative Analysis of Legal and Policy Frameworks in Southern Africa”. Civil society organisations, the media and government were among the attendees of this launch.
The report compares the legal and policy frameworks of Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia in terms of mining-related displacement, resettlement and compensation. The study shows that the governance framework does not always safeguard the rights of citizens or promote sustainable development in the region. Mining-induced displacement affects about 1 million people around the world each year.
The report makes recommendations to the government and for CCJP’s lobbying activities; these include improving legal restrictions and provisions, security of tenure, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Requirements, guarantees for participation, benefit sharing and dispute resolution, and compensation practices:
The key recommendations for the Malawian government include:
- Ensure that in all cases of displacement and resettlement that the livelihoods of affected people are at least restored.
- Constitutionally guarantee the preservation of socio-cultural rights through security of tenure and recognition of customary rights.
- Repeal and replace restrictive provisions contained in the Mines and Minerals Act and the Land Act, including
- Reforming the administration of customary tenure in the Land Act
- Promoting transparency and public participation in the Mines and Minerals Act
- Promoting stakeholder engagement within the negotiation process
- Delimiting government control and governmental powers in the administration of the Mines and Minerals Act
- Including professional institutional oversight to ensure compliance (environmental protection agency, social institutions with focus on vulnerable groups)
- Incorporate customary law and practice considerations in administrative decision-making
- Modernise environmental protection laws to include clear and detailed requirements on Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, monitoring and compliance.
- Enact new legislation compiling a resettlement procedure in one document including clear instructions on compensation. Until this is in place, ensure companies are applying international best practice policy, such as the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standard 5 on Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement and the World Bank Operational Policy 4.12 on Involuntary Resettlement.
- Introduce clear resettlement and compensation monitoring procedures and stricter measures for in cases of non-compliance.
- Enact freedom of information and access to information measures.
- Officially begin EITI candidacy process.
The key recommendations for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace include:
- Lobby government to repeal restrictive sections of law and to introduce new laws.
- Advocate for speedy policy and legal reform by galvanising political will through highlighting community and stakeholder concerns.
- Work with other stakeholders and key institutions to educate them on critical issues and to influence advocacy.
- Educate and build the capacity of affected populations in legal literacy for displacement, consent and compensation issues, in available dispute resolution mechanisms, general legal rights and the obligations of investors and government. The studies suggested below will provide evidence for the approach to be taken and highlight the gaps to be addressed for community empowerment.
- Fund investigative studies of the practice and application of current law through baseline surveys of affected communities using quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand the variance among different sites and demographic and cultural groups. This should target not only communities affected by mining but also communities displaced by other projects, such as road and rail development.
- Fund a thorough stakeholder assessment of the perceptions and understanding around displacement, resettlement and compensation issues in Malawi to inform advocacy work and promote better stakeholder engagement and relations; stakeholders should include companies in the extractive industries, government (national and district level; Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining), traditional leaders, affected and future affected communities, media and civil society organisations.
- Fund monitoring and evaluation exercises following relocation with a view to ensuring best practice and corporate responsibility.
- Use results of research to make recommendations to government on ensuring sustainable development guides displacement, resettlement and compensation of communities.
- Generate advocacy and learning material based on evidence from studies to target different stakeholders.
This study is part of CCJP’s project Transparency Initiative With Our Natural resources Extractives (TIWONE), supported by Catholic Relief Services, which aims to ensure that communities affected by mining activities are adequately compensated and resettled. The report launched today will inform CCJP’s advocacy work.
A link will be provided once the report is made available online.
Full disclosure: Imani Consulting conducted the study for CCJP and I was subcontracted to work with Imani Consulting Consultant Yiwonda Banda to produce this report.