Oxfam International Blogs - extractive industries http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/extractive-industries en A win for Free, Prior and Informed Consent: Indigenous leaders halt protests after Peru agrees to meet their demands http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-11-17-win-free-prior-informed-consent-indigenous-leaders-halt-protests-after-peru <div class="field field-name-body"><p>The Peruvian government’s agreement with indigenous leaders in oil block 192 offers a ray of hope for indigenous organizations fighting to have a say in projects that affect them, but major gaps remain in consultation processes across Latin America.</p> <p><em>“We will not allow resources to be extracted from our territories if the government does not guarantee us a prior consultation process which incorporates social and environmental protections for our lands and safety for our sons and daughters…”    – Achuar leader, September 2017</em></p> <p> </p><h3>Guaranteeing indigenous peoples’ right to prior consultation</h3> <p><strong>Just a few weeks ago the situation looked quite bleak</strong> for indigenous leaders of oil block 192, Peru’s largest oil field located in the northern Amazon. The Peruvian government <a href="https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2011/09/peru-congress-passes-precedent-setting-consultation-law/">passed a law</a> in 2011 guaranteeing indigenous peoples’ right to prior consultation for projects that affect them. However, when it came time to prepare for a new 30-year contract for block 192, the government began looking for ways to avert their responsibilities under the new law. The government claimed that it had already consulted communities in 2015, but the process could hardly be considered fair and representative since the agreements reached failed to include 80 percent of communities in the block.</p> <p>With Canadian oil company Frontera’s contract set to expire in 2019, indigenous federations of the Achuar, Kichwa, Quechua, and Urarinas peoples saw an opening to right that past wrong and demanded new consultations.</p> <p><strong>They had good cause to be fed up</strong> with the way the project had been managed to date. Indigenous communities had suffered close to half a century of <a href="https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2016/05/deja-vu-in-peru-the-un-sounds-the-alarm-again-on-extreme-pollution-in-peru/">environmental and health impacts</a> in the block which had yet to be remediated adequately.</p> <p>In recent years the government declared four environmental and one health emergency in the block; created two multi-sectoral commissions to address the environmental, health, and land titling needs of communities; and reached a series of agreements in 2015 which led to the ill-fated first attempt at consultation. Yet not much had changed for communities on the ground.</p> <p> </p><h3>Peaceful protest</h3> <p>When the indigenous federations learned the government would not provide a new opportunity for consultation, they opted for peaceful protest. They took control of the oil installations on their lands and launched a national-level campaign in defense of their right to prior consultation.</p> <p>On October 31, the government agreed to implement a prior consultation process in line with Peruvian law for any new contract for the block. The agreement requires the government to have a dialogue with communities around social and environmental issues, and to ensure that their concerns inform the contract.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en">We did it! After months of campaigning, the Peruvian govt will respect the rights of indigenous communities in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lote192?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Lote192</a>. Thank you for your support! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IndigenousRightsNow?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IndigenousRightsNow</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PriorConsent?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PriorConsent</a> <a href="https://t.co/qAI7BNj4RD">pic.twitter.com/qAI7BNj4RD</a></p> <p>— Oxfam America (@OxfamAmerica) <a href="https://twitter.com/OxfamAmerica/status/933019765651705857?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 21, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>This agreement is encouraging, but unfortunately it came at the cost of weeks of protest</strong> by indigenous federations. Elsewhere in Peru and across the Latin America region many consultation processes have fallen far short of international standards.</p> <p> </p><h3>How governments can uphold Free, Prior and Informed Consent</h3> <p>In fact, this week in Mexico City several <a href="http://foroconsulta.net/">indigenous and human rights organizations met</a> to share their stories related to prior consultation and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Twenty-nine organizations, including <a href="http://oxfammexico.org/">Oxfam Mexico</a>, <a href="http://www.foroconsulta.net/">signed a declaration</a> which highlights their frustrations to date. The declaration reminds governments that:</p> <ol><li><strong>They have a duty to respect indigenous peoples’ right</strong> to prior consultation and FPIC even when they have not yet adopted national laws to regulate these processes.</li> <li><strong>The adoption of consultation laws</strong> will not achieve intended goals unless governments ensure the effective protection of indigenous peoples’ rights and refrain from weakening environmental protections.</li> <li><strong>Recognition of traditional indigenous territories</strong> and appropriate land demarcation and titling are essential to provide legal security to communities.</li> <li><strong>International treaties, declarations, and jurisprudence provide minimum standards</strong> with regard to several aspects of these rights, and national laws must comply with these standards.</li> <li><strong>International law requires governments</strong> not only to consult indigenous peoples, but also ensure their consent in certain instances.</li> </ol><p>It remains to be seen whether the latest agreement in block 192 will turn the tide for project-affected communities. Oxfam has worked closely with indigenous partners on prior consultation and FPIC in Latin America and globally for more than 15 years, including around <a href="https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2014/01/a-new-threat-to-perus-indigenous-peoples-consultation-law/">Peru’s consultation law</a>.</p> <p> </p><h3>A ray of hope for FPIC</h3> <p>While we have seen some significant policy gains, much more needs to be done in terms of effective implementation. Monitoring FPIC in practice is a focal point of our global <a href="https://policy-practice.oxfamamerica.org/publications/achieving-natural-resource-justice/">extractive industries strategy</a>.</p> <p>The block 192 agreement offers both a ray of hope and a cautionary tale for other governments.</p> <p>Hopefully governments can learn from this tale, embracing consultation and FPIC early on and prior to initiating project activities. Kudos to indigenous organizations in block 192 for their successful campaign.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Emily Greenspan, Senior Policy Advisor with Oxfam’s Extractive Industries team, on 17 November 2017. Originally published by <a href="https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2017/11/indigenous-leaders-halt-protests-after-peru-agrees-to-meet-their-demands/">Oxfam America</a>.<br /></em></p> <p><em>Image at top: Oxfam campaign graphic telling Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski that prior consultation is not an option, but a human right. Credit: <a href="http://peru.oxfam.org/">Oxfam Peru</a></em></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>A win for Free, Prior and Informed Consent: Indigenous leaders halt protests after Peru agrees to meet their demands</h2></div> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 15:42:06 +0000 Emily Greenspan 81300 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-11-17-win-free-prior-informed-consent-indigenous-leaders-halt-protests-after-peru#comments 4 critical ways oil, gas, and mining companies must support local community rights http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-07-23-4-critical-ways-oil-gas-and-mining-companies-must-support-local-community-rights <div class="field field-name-body"><p>For oil, gas, and mining companies, gaining access to land and water can make or break a project. For many communities living on that land and relying on that water, the stakes are much higher. Their land is their lifeline, and this can be lost when they don’t have a say and their rights are ignored. “The first I heard of the [Benga Coal in Mozambique] mine coming was when the trucks and machines were in my field,” said a Mozambican woman interviewed by Oxfam in November 2014. “I asked them what they were doing and they told me approval had been given…I had no choice but to move.”</p> <p>Today, Oxfam launched a <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/communityconsent" rel="nofollow">new report</a> reviewing the public policy commitments of 38 oil, gas, and mining companies around issues of community engagement and rights, with a particular focus on <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free,_prior_and_informed_consent" rel="nofollow">free, prior, and informed consent</a> (FPIC). FPIC is seen as the “gold” standard in terms of community engagement, defined as the principle that indigenous peoples and local communities must be adequately informed about projects that affect their lands in a timely manner, free of coercion and manipulation, and should be given the opportunity to approve or reject a project prior to the commencement of all activities.</p> <p><strong>For indigenous peoples, FPIC is established as a <a href="http://www.piplinks.org/report%3A-making-free-prior-%2526amp%3B-informed-consent-reality-indigenous-peoples-and-extractive-sector" rel="nofollow">right under international law</a>.</strong> For others, it is a process which helps to safeguard other human rights and to reduce the risk of social conflict. Oxfam recommends that oil, gas, and mining companies adopt an explicit and public policy commitment to FPIC and develop detailed accompanying implementation guidelines.</p> <p>Over the last year, Oxfam reached out to 38 companies and invited them to discuss their FPIC or other community engagement policies with us. We spoke to companies headquartered in the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, and South Africa, among other locations. Oxfam developed a spectrum of community engagement applicable to extractive industry projects that ranges from low (one-way information sharing) to high levels (recognition of FPIC). The figure below summarizes companies’ public commitments along the spectrum. All 38 companies in the sample at least commit to consultation or dialogue with communities.</p> <p><img alt="Companies’ public commitments along the FPIC spectrum." title="Companies’ public commitments along the FPIC spectrum." height="351" width="698" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/fpic-38-companies.png" /></p> <h3>Here are some highlights from the report:</h3> <ul><li><strong>More companies respect the right of indigenous peoples to Free Prior and Informed Consent</strong></li> </ul><p>Fourteen mining companies now have public commitments to FPIC for projects that affect indigenous peoples–almost three times as many as in 2012. This is a significant and welcome development that emerges from the recognition of indigenous peoples’ collective rights and right to self-determination. New FPIC requirements established by the World Bank’s private-sector lending arm, the <a href="http://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2011/08/big-victories-for-indigenous-peoples-and-transparency-advocates/" rel="nofollow">International Finance Corporation</a>, and the <a href="http://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2013/05/icmm-commits-to-free-prior-informed-consent-standard/" rel="nofollow">International Council on Mining and Metals</a> helped to turn the tide on the issue. Nonetheless, civil society and project-affected communities now must ensure that these policy commitments translate to practice on the ground. More work needs to be done both to support companies aiming to implement FPIC effectively and to hold them accountable when they fail to make good-faith efforts to meet their policy commitments. If not, these commitments will be reduced to mere green washing.</p> <ul><li><strong>Existing FPIC policy commitments remain weak</strong></li> </ul><p>The FPIC policy commitments we reviewed provide little detail on how FPIC will be implemented in practice. Further, they fail to provide unequivocal commitments to withdraw from a project if a community says no to a project. In addition, the commitments apply only to projects that will affect indigenous peoples (unlike FPIC commitments from several of the <a href="http://www.behindthebrands.org/en/about" rel="nofollow">largest food and beverage companies</a>, which apply to any project-affected local community). This represents a missed opportunity for companies to build trust and facilitate shared decision-making with all project-affected communities.</p> <ul><li><strong>Oil and gas companies lag behind the mining sector on their public commitments to FPIC</strong></li> </ul><p>Not one of the 17 oil and gas companies in Oxfam’s sample has publicly committed to FPIC. This is unacceptable. A few oil and gas companies claim that although they do not have explicit FPIC commitments their policies align with the concept of FPIC. This assertion is not enough. Oxfam views a comprehensive policy framework—which includes a public FPIC commitment—as vital to promoting corporate accountability and respect for human rights. Also, transparency of policies and commitments is critical to give local communities a more meaningful role in controlling their resources and to build trust between companies and communities. In short, companies need to dust off their policies and put them in the public domain to ensure accountability.</p> <ul><li><strong>Companies reviewed say little publicly about gender in the context of community engagement</strong></li> </ul><p>The impacts of the extractive industries are not gender-neutral. Women face a particular disadvantage, bearing the brunt of the negative impacts while receiving few, if any, of the benefits. They also often face exclusion from decision-making processes. Gender analysis requires specific attention in order to mitigate negative impacts and ensure equal participation. Yet, few of the 38 companies included in the sample had any mention of gender in the context of community engagement in their publicly available policy documents or guidelines.</p> <h3>In light of these findings, Oxfam recommends that companies:</h3> <p><strong>1. Adopt an explicit and unambiguous policy commitment to Free, Prior and Informed Consent</strong> and develop detailed accompanying implementation guidelines, making these publicly available;</p> <p><strong>2. Extend FPIC commitments to include all project-affected communities</strong>, while recognising FPIC as a right under international law for indigenous peoples;  </p> <p><strong>3. Conduct thorough monitoring and evaluation of FPIC processes</strong> being implemented and disclose information publicly in a language and form understood by the community while these processes are underway; and</p> <p><strong>4. Develop clear and overarching commitments to gender</strong> that respect the rights of both women and men, provide equal opportunity and equal access to mining benefits for both women and men, and involve both women and men in consultation, negotiation, and decision-making processes.</p> <p>For more findings and recommendations from this research, please see <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/communityconsent" rel="nofollow"><strong>www.oxfam.org/communityconsent</strong></a>.</p> <p><em>The entry posted by Emily Greenspan, Oxfam Senior Policy Advisor, Extractive Industries, on 23 July 2015.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Near the community of Ka Chok, Cambodia, villagers are concerned about a mining concession granted to a Vietnamese company. Local farmers were not consulted about the concession and worry that they will not have access to farm lands in the forest. Credit: Patrick Brown/Oxfam</em></p> <p><img alt="Infographic: What is Free, Prior, Informed Consent?" title="Infographic: What is Free, Prior, Informed Consent?" height="17383" width="5233" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/free-prior-informed-consent-infographic.png" /></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>4 critical ways oil, gas, and mining companies must support local community rights</h2></div> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 23:05:00 +0000 Guest Blogger 27332 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-07-23-4-critical-ways-oil-gas-and-mining-companies-must-support-local-community-rights#comments Uranium mining in Niger: Shining a light on a case of injustice http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-12-19-uranium-mining-niger-shining-light-case-injustice <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>If you ask a French citizen where their electricity comes from, many would proudly say from ‘green power’, meaning nuclear power. France has one of the largest nuclear power complexes in the world, supplying powerhouse economies like Germany as well as many Eastern European countries.</strong></p> <p>But France doesn’t have much uranium for nuclear generation. For more than 50 years this simply hasn’t been a problem. Since it struck an agreement with the poor, landlocked country of Niger in 1967, France has been getting a pretty good deal.</p> <h3>A win-win contract</h3> <p>Between 1971-2010, two subsidiaries of AREVA, the nuclear giant, extracted 114,346 tonnes of uranium from Niger, worth 2.3 trillion CFA francs (over €3.5 billion). From that sum, AREVA paid Niger only 300 billion CFA francs (approximately €459 million or a paltry €11 million per year on average), or just 13% of its market value. This is obviously not fair. What Oxfam is asking for is for Niger to sign a win-win contract, based on Niger’s demand that its uranium mining industry should be contributing around 20% to its national budget, or about €400 million each year.</p> <p><strong>AREVA and the Government of Niger are now negotiating to renew this agreement.</strong> But how can Niger hold out for its fair dues? Niger’s officials lack sufficient information on AREVA operations, and lack sufficient experience in negotiating such a mega-contract. Most importantly, Niger is heavily dependent on French development assistance, budget support and military assistance.</p> <h3>Highly secretive negotiations</h3> <p>France sits at a high 20th spot in the latest Human Development Index, while Niger is in 187th and last place. It is vital that France is as open and as fair as possible in negotiating such a huge mineral contract with the world’s poorest country, in order to dispel even the hint of suspicion of bullying and exploitation. But so far, it’s doing precisely the opposite; these negotiations appear to be highly secretive.</p> <p><strong>To make matters worse,</strong> there are also the pervasive threats of health risks from radiation, water table depletion, and environmental destruction. There needs to be much more research and publicity on the impact that this uranium mining is having on the health of workers and residents living in the area, as well as the impact on the environment. ROTAB, a national NGO, and a local NGO, AGHIR IN'MAN, regularly criticize AREVA and the Niger government for their carelessness.</p> <p>ROTAB (part of the <strong><a href="http://www.publishwhatyoupay.org/where/coalitions/niger" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Publish what you Pay Coalition</a></strong>) is a partner of Oxfam that lobbies extractive industries to be more transparent and accountable. In Niger’s Agadez region and in other mining areas, ROTAB trains local people and authorities on participatory budgeting, to ensure that the revenues from the extractive industries are managed in more transparent ways.</p> <h3>Public mobilization</h3> <p>I’m proud of the <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2013-12-19/areva-niger-who-benefiting-uranium" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">joint report</a></strong> that Oxfam produced this month, because we need to use public opinion to ensure that Niger establishes a uranium mining partnership that is more balanced and in the best interests of Nigeriens.</p> <p><strong>Pastoralist communities across the vast, desert lands of northern Niger do not have a strong voice </strong>in the complex negotiations over mining permits. Their story is not unique – it’s being repeated in remote, rural communities all over the globe. There are millions of Nigeriens who live without electricity, education and health care. In this country that is so vulnerable to repeated droughts and floods, uranium should provide the means for Niger to develop and build an economy that is resilient to food and climate shocks, and that ensures the right to basic services for its people.</p> <p><strong>One of the best ways to change the balance of power</strong> is to strengthen Nigerien civil society organizations that try to help ordinary people to assert their rights. In Oxfam’s experience, we know that most of the improvements that have come about in the partnership between Niger and AREVA are largely due to grassroots activism. The work of civil society reinforces and encourages Nigerien government negotiators to defend more strongly the national interest. Indeed, Government actors are more aware about more their obligations of accountability because of the pressure by local civil society. Oxfam will also continue to advocate on this issue internationally, mainly in the capitals of Europe, especially France.</p> <p><strong>These negotiations with AREVA are a huge opportunity for Niger</strong> to make more of one of its most valuable natural resources. The first step is to bring these talks out into the open, and with a better deal, ensure that in 2014 AREVA starts paying the true price for its power.</p> <p><em>Oxfam in Niger has a staff of 107 and has conducted programs since 1992. </em></p> <p><em>What do you think can be done to change the balance of power? Write and give us your views.</em></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-10-23-capturing-africas-missing-billions-and-making-it-work-its-people">Capturing Africa's missing billions and making it work for its people</a></strong></p> <p><strong>More about <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/development/niger" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's work in Niger</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Uranium mining in Niger: Shining a light on a case of injustice</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-12-20-extraction-uranium-niger-coup-projecteur-injustice" title="Extraction d’uranium au Niger : coup de projecteur sur une injustice" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Thu, 19 Dec 2013 15:24:52 +0000 Mohammed Chikhaoui 10560 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-12-19-uranium-mining-niger-shining-light-case-injustice#comments Oxfam’s To-Do List for President Obama's Africa Trip http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-06-28-oxfams-do-list-president-obamas-africa-trip <div class="field field-name-body"><p> </p> <p><strong>Over the next decade, more than $1 trillion in natural resources will be extracted from the African continent. </strong>Currently, Africa exports more than $300 billion a year in oil, gas and mineral exports—more than four times the amount of aid the continent receives. But that money is not building roads, schools and hospitals for Africa’s people. In fact, booming extractives industries often lead to more poverty and powerlessness. </p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p>The people of Kedougou, Senegal, for instance, live atop a large scale gold-mining operation. Despite the riches found in their soil, none of it has been returned to their community. Many have lost access to the agricultural land that sustained their families, and many others did not even receive adequate compensation when they were forced off their lands without consultation. 
 </p> <p>President Obama got it right four years ago when he said <strong>Africa's future lies with Africa's institutions</strong>. Now as he travels to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, I hope he will use the opportunity to shine a bright light on the transparency and accountability shortfalls that perpetuate poverty and inequality on the continent.  </p> <p><strong>Africa’s leaders need to be more open </strong>about how they spend their budgets, and what they do with fees and royalties from oil and mining companies operating on their soil. African citizens have a right to decide how to put their countries’ resources to work for their own futures. Let them claim their rights and fight for their own development.
 </p> <p>For his part, <strong>President Obama should lead by example</strong>, and release US government aid data. African citizens, as recipients of American aid, have a right to know whether this money is achieving real results – as does the American public. As one of the largest aid donors in the world, the United States shouldn’t be one of the least transparent.  </p> <p>On his last trip to Africa in 2009, President urged Africans to take more leadership of their own development. The US government need not make this harder than it should be. There’s enormous value in the power of local people to decide how aid is spent, and how to lead their own development efforts in partnership with the US.  </p> <p>What Africa’s people want now is a fair deal new deal that gets the continent’s resources working for them. Support by President Obama along this path will be warmly welcomed. <em></em></p> <p><em>Winnie Byanyima is the Executive Director of Oxfam International. </em></p> <h3>You may also like<strong><a href="http://www.oxfamamerica.org/articles/west-africa-asks-where-is-my-gold" rel="nofollow"></a></strong></h3> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfamamerica.org/articles/west-africa-asks-where-is-my-gold" rel="nofollow">West Africa asks where is my gold</a></strong> <em>(Oxfam America)</em></p> <p><strong>Blog:</strong><em> </em><strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-05-08-africa-control-its-fortune">Africa control its fortune</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Press release: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2013-06-26/oxfams-do-list-president-obamas-africa-trip" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's to do list during President Obama's trip to Africa</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Oxfam’s To-Do List for President Obama&#039;s Africa Trip</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-06-29-recommandations-president-barack-obama-voyage-afrique" title="Recommandations au président Barack Obama lors de son voyage en Afrique" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Sat, 29 Jun 2013 07:00:00 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 10365 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-06-28-oxfams-do-list-president-obamas-africa-trip#comments Africa in control of its fortune http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-05-08-africa-control-its-fortune <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Several African countries are amongst today’s fastest growing economies in the world, boosted in many instances by new discoveries of oil, natural gas and strategic mineral reserves.</strong> Extreme poverty on the continent is in decline, and progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals has accelerated. A number of very poor African countries, including Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia have made recent and substantial improvements in their levels of income equality.</p> <p>Yet Africa’s impressive growth is not shared by millions of its people. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to a third of the world's poorest people, and six of the top 10 most unequal countries in the world. Where income inequality is high, the benefits of economic growth are inaccessible to poor people. Poverty and exclusion are bad for social stability, preventing productive investment and undermining growth itself.</p> <p><strong>The continent’s potential is also being undermined by illicit capital hemorrhaging</strong> out of African countries – often in the form of tax evasion and trade mispricing by multinational oil, gas and mining companies, and in collusion with corrupt elected officials. In 2010, Africa’s oil, gas and mineral exports amounted to $333 billion. But estimates of illicit financial outflows from Africa are up to $200 billion annually, dwarfing the development aid it receives.</p> <p>Together, income inequalities and illicit capital flows are cheating Africa of its wealth and potential for the investments in education, agriculture and healthcare needed to support productive citizens.</p> <p><strong>This week in Cape Town [8-10 May], African business and government leaders will meet at the <a href="http://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-africa-2013" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">World Economic Forum on Africa</a></strong>. My message to them: For Africa to meet its real potential, you must stand behind the millions being left behind by economic growth. Otherwise, social and economic progress on the continent will be undermined.</p> <p>The European Union last month agreed a deal on <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/eu/pressroom/reactions/oxfam-eurodad-reaction-eu-deal-transparency-extractive-industries" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">a law that will make oil, gas, mining and logging firms companies declare payments</a></strong> to governments in the countries where they operate. This bolsters similar, recent legislation in the United States under <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/eu/pressroom/pressrelease/2010-07-15/us-congress-passes-law-end-secrecy-oil-gas-mining-industry" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">the Dodd-Frank financial reform law</a></strong>, and is excellent news. Transparency is a great disinfectant. It will put pressure on governments to account for how they spend money they receive from fees and royalties.</p> <p>Some African states are making some of the right moves to manage resource wealth responsibly. In Ghana, the Petroleum Revenue Management Act has compelled quarterly disclosures of payments and production figures while in Liberia the voluntary Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has been turned into a binding statutory requirement.</p> <p><strong>But Africa can’t do it alone.</strong> The private sector is the engine of Africa’s economy, and if working responsibly, holds the key to fair and sustainable economic development. Companies’ policies and practices must respect the rights of the people in the countries where they operate. Communities affected by extractive projects must be informed and consulted, and given the opportunity to approve or reject proposed operations.</p> <p>For their part, Africa’s development partners can deliver aid which will promote good governance, and support civil society to keep their leaders accountable.</p> <p>We are witnessing a scramble for Africa’s natural resource reminiscent of the period of the industrial revolution in Europe. It is urgent and imperative that policies are in place in each country to protect the rights and interests of African people, most especially those living in poverty. To sustain high growth rates, priority must be placed on forging inclusive policies that ensure that growth is both equitable and sustainable. Much more of the proceeds of the African resource boom need to go directly into education, health and nutrition and improving the productive capacities of the poorest citizens. If not, efforts to boost economic growth in a sustainable way will be undercut.</p> <p><strong>It is time for a new, fair deal</strong> for poor people in Africa, one that gets Africa’s resources working for all its people.</p> <p><em>Winnie Byanyima is at the World Economic Forum on Africa: </em><strong><a href="http://www.ipadio.com/channels/WinnieByanyima" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">listen to her phonecast on Ipadio</a></strong></p> <p></p> <h3><strong>Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">@Winnie_Byanyima </a>on Twitter</strong></h3></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Africa in control of its fortune</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-05-08-afrique-prend-destin-main" title="L’Afrique prend son destin en main" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/13-05-08-africa-debe-ser-duena-de-su-destino" title="África debe ser dueña de su destino" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Wed, 08 May 2013 23:00:00 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 10312 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-05-08-africa-control-its-fortune#comments África debe ser dueña de su destino http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10311 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Impulsados por el descubrimiento de nuevos yacimientos de petróleo, gas natural o de reservas estratégicas de minerales, son varios los países africanos que se encuentran entre las economías que más rápido crecen del mundo. La pobreza extrema disminuye en todo el continente y los progresos hacia la consecución de los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio se han acelerado. Recientemente, varios países africanos muy pobres, entre ellos Malawi, Sierra Leona y Etiopía, han mejorado de forma sustancial sus niveles de igualdad en los ingresos. </p> <p><strong>Y, sin embargo, millones de personas aún no son partícipes de este increíble crecimiento</strong>. África subsahariana acoge a un tercio de las personas más pobres del mundo y a seis de los diez países con un mayor nivel de desigualdad de todo el planeta. Cuando la desigualdad de ingresos es elevada, los beneficios del crecimiento económico resultan inaccesibles para las personas pobres. La pobreza y la exclusión son perjudiciales para la estabilidad social, impiden una inversión productiva y minan el crecimiento en sí mismo. </p> <p><strong>El potencial del continente también se está viendo socavado por el flujo ilícito de capitales que escapan de los países africanos</strong>, a menudo debido a la evasión de impuestos o a la manipulación de los precios comerciales por parte de las empresas petrolíferas, mineras o de gas, y que cuentan con el beneplácito de funcionarios corruptos. En 2010, las exportaciones africanas de petróleo, gas y minerales ascendieron a un total de 333.000 millones de dólares. Sin embargo, se estima que el flujo ilícito de capitales salientes de África suma 200.000 dólares anuales, perjudicando, así, el desarrollo. </p> <p>Juntos, la desigualdad de ingresos y el flujo ilícito de capitales, despojan a África de su riqueza y de potenciales inversiones en educación, agricultura y sanidad, necesarias para potenciar una ciudadanía productiva.</p> <p><strong>Esta semana, del 8 al 10 de mayo, líderes de empresas y gobiernos africanos se reúnen en Ciudad del Cabo con motivo del <a href="http://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-africa-2013" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Foro Económico Mundial para África</a></strong>. Este es mi mensaje para ellos: para que África pueda desarrollar todo su potencial, debéis apoyar a los millones de personas que el crecimiento económico deja de lado. Sino, el progreso social y económico del continente se verá lastrado.</p> <p>El pasado mes, la Unión Europea acordó una<strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/eu/node/30588" rel="nofollow"> </a><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/eu/node/30588" rel="nofollow">ley</a><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/eu/node/30588" rel="nofollow"> que obligará a las empresas madereras, mineras, petroleras y de gas a declarar los pagos</a></strong> realizados a los gobiernos de los países en los que operan. Ésta, junto a la reciente aprobación de una norma similar en el marco de la nueva Ley de Reforma Financiera Dodd- Frank en Estados Unidos, es una excelente noticia. La transparencia es un estupendo remedio que supondrá una mayor presión para los gobiernos, quienes deberán rendir cuentas mejor de cómo gastan el dinero que reciben por derechos y cánones. </p> <p><strong>Algunos estados africanos están dando los pasos adecuados para gestionar sus ricos recursos de forma responsable</strong>. En Ghana, la Ley sobre Industria y Gestión de Ingresos Petroleros exige la publicación trimestral de los pagos y de los datos de producción, mientras que en Liberia la Iniciativa de Transparencia en la Industria Extractiva (EITI, por sus siglas en inglés) ha pasado a ser de obligado cumplimiento. </p> <p><strong>Pero África no puede hacerlo por sí sola</strong>. El sector privado es el motor económico del continente que, de actuar de forma responsable, tiene la clave para lograr un desarrollo económico justo y sostenible. Las políticas y las prácticas de las empresas deben respetar los derechos de las personas de los países en los que operan. Se debe informar y consultar a las comunidades afectadas por los proyectos de extracción y darles la oportunidad de aprobar o rechazar las actividades propuestas. </p> <p>Por su parte, los aliados de África en su desarrollo deben proporcionar una ayuda que promueva una buena gobernanza y una sociedad civil capaz de exigir a sus líderes que rindan cuentas. </p> <p>Estamos siendo testigos de una lucha por los recursos naturales africanos, reminiscente de la revolución industrial europea. Es urgente e imperativo que las políticas de cada país protejan los derechos e intereses de los ciudadanos y ciudadanas africanos, especialmente de quienes viven en la pobreza. Para lograr una tasa de crecimiento sostenida es necesario dar prioridad a políticas inclusivas que garanticen que el crecimiento es tanto sostenible como justo. Así, se debe destinar una parte mucho mayor de los ingresos generados por el boom de los recursos africanos a la educación, la sanidad y la nutrición, así como a mejorar la capacidad productiva de las personas más pobres. De lo contrario, los esfuerzos por impulsar el crecimiento económico de forma sostenible no tendrán efecto alguno. </p> <p><strong>Es hora de alcanzar un nuevo acuerdo, más justo para las personas pobres de África;</strong> uno que haga que los recursos del continente beneficien a todos sus habitantes.</p> <p><em>Winnie Byanyima es la directora ejecutiva de Oxfam Internacional: </em><strong><a href="http://www.ipadio.com/channels/WinnieByanyima" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Escucha su phonecast en Ipadio</a></strong></p> <p></p> <h3><strong>Sigue a <a href="https://twitter.com/Winnie_Byanyima" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">@Winnie_Byanyima </a>en Twitter</strong></h3></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>África debe ser dueña de su destino</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-05-08-afrique-prend-destin-main" title="L’Afrique prend son destin en main" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_en last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/13-05-08-africa-control-its-fortune" title="Africa in control of its fortune" class="translation-link" xml:lang="en">English</a></li> </ul> Wed, 08 May 2013 13:49:47 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 10311 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/node/10311#comments