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A group photo of participants

ISODEC, NMJD discuss Natural Resource Governance in Sierra Leone

The Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), a Policy and Advocacy Think Tank in Ghana, in collaboration with the Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD) have jointly held a National Policy Roundtable on Natural Resource Governance in Sierra Leone.

The event, which was financed by Ford Foundation, featured the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources of Sierra Leone as the keynote speaker.

The roundtable was a follow-up to a previous regional conference organised by ISODEC in Accra, Ghana, during which it was agreed to hold similar country-level sessions to delve deeper into the findings of the case study (Natural Resource Extraction and Inequalities), evaluate policy recommendations, and foster the exchange of ideas to strengthen natural resource governance in both West African Countries.

The meeting also sought to explore effective Natural Resources management for developmental purposes, with emphasis on the need to look at the Natural Resources as way of solving inequalities and not to heighten it.

It further provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss their country’s energy transition commitments within the context of natural resource governance.

In his keynote address, the Minister for Mines and Mineral Resources, Mr Julius Mattai underscored the importance of effective governance and stakeholder collaboration in the mining sector. He highlighted the challenges and opportunities in resource management, while emphasizing the need for balanced policies that consider both economic benefits and environmental concerns.

The Executive Director of ISODEC,Mr. Samson Salifu Danse, Acknowledged the significant role of the extractive industry in Sierra Leone’s development, while also stressing the existing inequalities and challenges it poses to society, including environmental degradation and marginalization of communities.

Mr. Samson Salifu Danse addressing participants at the event

Mr Danse spoke on the importance of leveraging initiatives like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process to address inequalities and promote sustainable development, particularly in the context of energy transition towards renewable sources.

He told participants to intensify their advocacy for transparent and accountable legal and regulatory frameworks governing the extractive industry, with a focus on domestic revenue management, community engagement, and environmental protection.

Civil Society must increase “advocacy for a multi-stakeholder approach involving government, civil society, private sector, and marginalized communities to ensure a just and equitable transition to renewable energy, with a call for collaboration at regional and global levels to promote better natural resource governance.”

He called for constructive dialogue and collective action at the national level to drive positive change in policy and practice towards a more inclusive energy future in Sierra Leone, with the ultimate goal of reducing inequalities and ensuring equitable development for all citizens.

The discussions during the event highlighted the initial excitement surrounding mineral discoveries and the subsequent disappointment and regret felt by communities due to the unequal distribution of benefits. The prevalence of visible signs of adverse conditions in affected communities, juxtaposed with the benefits reaped by a few high-profile individuals, has led to widening inequalities in Sierra Leone, particularly in rural areas where multinational companies are actively involved in mineral extraction.

Three key Highlights gathered from the National Policy Round table include,

Low Awareness of Legislation, Inconsistent Government Priorities, Mineral Ownership and Benefits Distribution.

The convening recommended among others the need to improve monitoring mechanisms in mining communities, while enhancing human rights considerations in policy formulation.

By: Mohammed Suleman/Publicagenda.news


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