By WACSOF 26 November, 2019 55

The recent adoption, in June 2019 by the heads of states of the ECOWAS Model Mining and Minerals Development policy, EMMMDA is a strong achievement and a solid milestone for WACSOF and the West African Civil Society. WACSOF has been a game changer in the organization and coordination of the West African Civil Society and supporting ECOWAS to achieve such results.

The mining sector in West Africa is faced with several challenges. This new regional harmonised policy has the potential to dramatically transform the face of the extractive industry in West Africa. The new harmonised policy will ensure consistent regulation of the mining sector across the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This policy, among other things, covers institutional structures and licensing permits. also focus on concept on general governance, fiscal framework, local content and implementation strategy.

THE CONTEXT
The West African region is plagued with low tax base, poor natural resource management and high incidence of inequality. At the center of mobilizing domestic resources is the need to work on natural resource management and to strengthen capacity of tax administrations. Countries rich of minerals face the challenge of balancing the need to provide appropriate incentives to attract investors versus protecting the revenue base. For example, in most of the member countries of ECOWAS there is an existing fiscal regime aimed at stimulating investment in the mineral sector through the promotion of private sector participation by establishing a favorable environment. These fiscal regimes are usually overridden by separate agreements with companies, that provide too many concessions to private operators and little protection to public interest and mineral rich communities.
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ECOWAS INITIATIVE
ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) took the initiative to formulate a regional initiative with member states through a wide participatory process, which brought together different stakeholders: government officials, IFIs, private sector, CSOs, and communities. In May 2009 ECOWAS adopted the ‘’ECOWAS DIRECTIVE ON THE HARMONIZATION OF GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES IN THE MINING SECTOR’’.

WACSOF TAKING ACTION: MOBILISING CIVIL SOCIETY FOR ECOWAS MINING MINERAL MODEL DEVELOMENT POLICY (EMMMDA)

  • The WEST AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM (WACSOF), the umbrella body of Civil Society Organisations in West Africa has been working with many partners to play its natural leadership role in the region around the extractive industry. This advocacy work brought WACSOF to work closely with many key civil society players, ECOWAS and ECOWAS country members to build a common view, and a consensus around the necessity of a better governance in the Extractive Industry. It took many one non one meetings as well as many group meetings. The key element is to position the Civil Society as a development partner to set and push the agenda for fair economic deployment for the benefit of citizen.

• The first step was for WACSOF to help establishing a formal framework between ECOWAS and CSO’s (Civil Society Organisations). ECOWAS and the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in West Africa lead by WACSOF met in Abuja in August 2018 to create the ECOWAS-Regional Geo extractive Sector CSO Joint Forum. 
• Knowing that ECOWAS has been working on a new EMMMDA, WACSOF has spearheaded the mobilization of the West African Civil Society around the formulation and adoption of the EMMMDA. This brought WACSOF to work with many social movements for information collection and innovative practices. This gave new perspectives on the ECOWAS harmonised policy. 
• After a few experts’ meetings organised by ECOWAS, they needed to organise more meetings to complete a full analysis of the EMMMDA by the member state experts but was missing financial resources in their 2019 budget. The urgency of the situation commended a quick action from WACSOF. WACSOF found useful to financially support ECOWAS to organise an expert meeting on the EMMMDA in Accra, Ghana in May 2019. This resulted in a full participation of experts from ECOWAS member states and Civil Society Organisations to make the EMMMDA ready for minister adoption. Without this support from WACSOF to ECOWAS, the EMMMDA would be delayed of a year and could even be abandoned since political agenda may quickly change down the road
• With this positive collaboration, the EMMMDA was officially adopted in June 2019. This achievement is a fundamental milestone on the road to a better governance of the Extractive Industry in West Africa. 
• Additional to this, WACSOF helped OXFAM to organise an advocacy meeting at ECOWAS on WOMEN participation in the Extractive Industry

Thanks to the strong support from FORD FOUNDATION, the participation of many CSO’s partners and the openness of ECOWAS commissioner of mining & Energy, WACSOF is happy to better position the West African Civil Society, The CSOs are now well capacitated to raise their voices on issues concerning the citizens as well as be the watchdog for effective application of the EMMMDA

Pictures from the WACSOF Regional CSO Consultation and Review Meeting on the EMMMDA
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Media Coverage of the WACSOF Regional CSO Consultation and Review Meeting on the EMMMDA

ThisDay Newspaper
• Leadership Newspaper
 Tribune Newspaper

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 Advocacy Visit to ECOWAS on Women in Extractive Industry

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Meeting with Hon Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources
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