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By WACSOF-FOSCOA 11 November, 2021 377

ECOWAS Model Mining and Minerals Development Act (EMMMDA), A POWERFUL TOOL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION

The West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) once again confirms its leadership in the area of ​​peace and security in the West African sub-region.

The mismanagement of natural resources in Africa and particularly in West Africa has created enormous frustrations among mining communities and populations generally triggering conflicts. More specifically, the poor governance of the mining industry in the sub-region has had a negative impact on the economies of the countries thus reducing the capacity to mobilize the internal resources of the States and consequently reducing the means of subsistence of its young population. In order to better supervise the extractive and mining industry in West Africa, ECOWAS has developed the ECOWAS Model Mining and Minerals Development Act (EMMMDA) with the vision to "create a region without borders, peaceful, prosperous and cohesive, based on good governance, and where people have the capacity to access and exploit its enormous resources in ways that create inclusive and sustainable development opportunities. "

It is important to recall that WACSOF played a leading role in helping ECOWAS not only in policy formulation but also in mobilizing civil society organizations in the West African region in an approach to take into account the voice of citizens. In accordance with the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) in its “Governance of natural resources” component, WACSOF in collaboration with the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and the support of IFA ZIVIK and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has developed a project based on the ECOWAS model law on mining and the development of natural resources better known as the "harmonized mining code of ECOWAS" to prevent conflicts. This project is implemented by the dynamic team of WACSOF Mali and Malian Civil Society Organizations, members of WACSOF.

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The project consists of working with mining communities, building their capacities in terms of knowledge, awareness raising and popularizing ECOWAS harmonized mining code which is an important instrument adopted to better supervise the extractive and mining industry in West Africa. The objective of the said project is to make communities be aware of the mining code (their rights and duties) and how they can use it not only to take better advantage of their natural resources, to preserve and protect their environment and other resources but also to develop their communities.

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The basic assumption is that the more communities and all stakeholders are trained and sensitized, the better everyone will know their roles and responsibilities. A better knowledge of roles and responsibilities makes it possible to provide a better framework for conflicts prevention and peacebuilding. The targets of the project are the mining communities in all their components which are youths, women, customary and religious leaders, local media such as community radios, governments and mining companies. It is important that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in this process in order to learn how to dialogue around this code and use it as a conflict prevention tool and a lever for the development of their community.

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The GPPAC Mali project is an innovation of the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) which contributes to the implementation of the action plans of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) by conceiving and developing this innovative idea of ​​training, popularizing and raising awareness on the use/utilization of the ECOWAS Model Mining and Minerals Development Act (harmonized mining code) as a powerful tool for conflict prevention because as it is usually said "he who holds the knowledge, holds the power".

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