Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group: Managing Extractive Industries to Protect Biodiversity in DRC: Report of a workshop held June 13-14, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
On June 13-14, the ABCG "Mining and Biodiversity in DRC" working group (including Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund and World Resources Institute) held a strategic and technical workshop in DR Congo's capital Kinshasa. The workshop's overall objective was to promote best practices in DRC's mining sector by identifying opportunities to increase their implementation so as to mitigate impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem service values from mining sector development.
Held under the high patronage of the Ministry of Mines, this workshop brought together participants from government, mining enterprises, donors, civil society, and conservation organizations. Key recommendations include improved land use planning, requirements for collaboration among stakeholders and improved law and policy that strengthens biodiversity conservation.
The workshop featured 18 technical presentations, followed by facilitated discussion to formulate specific recommendations. Opening remarks were given by the Secretary General, Ministry of Mines, by the Secretary General, Ministry of Environment and by USAID-DRC Mission Director Diana Putman. The main themes of this workshop were technical in nature, regarding:
♦ Legal context for DRC's mining sector environmental obligations
♦ Mitigation hierarchy and international best practices for the mining sector
♦ Environmental Impact Assessments and Strategic Environmental Evaluation
♦ Integrated land-use planning
♦ Evaluation of artisanal mining impacts and tools for mitigation
♦ Case studies from DRC demonstrating implementation of the mitigation hierarchy
Closing remarks from Kasanda NGOY, Secretary General of the Ministry of Mines, noted the Ministry of Mines' view of the importance of environmental best practices for the mining sector:
"The mining sector has been the main driver of DR Congo's economic development for the last century and continues to be, but tomorrow and forever our children will require clean water, forests, and wildlife to undergird their pursuit of development. We at the Ministry of Mines remain engaged to work in consultation with the Ministry of Environment to afford conservation of biodiversity its warranted priority".
"This workshop's principal recommendation is the implementation of best practices in order to reduce negative impacts caused by mining activities. I assure the organizers of this workshop that my ministry will redouble its efforts to respect international best practices in order to better orient the DRC towards sustainable development".
(l-r) Hon François NZEKUYE - Deputy Nat'l ; Mr Kasanda NGOY, Secretary General, Ministry of Mines; Mr Benoit KISUKI, Conservation International
Participants included four Members of Parliament, relevant technical experts from the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation & Tourism (Directorate of Forest Inventories and Management
Institute for Nature Conservation, Department of Evaluation and Planning and Department of Sustainable Development) as well as the Ministry of Mines (Mining Cadastre, Mining Directorate of Environmental Protection, Technical Unit for Coordination and Planning and Service for Assistance and Organization of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining). US Government officials participating in the workshop included USAID-DRC Mission Director Diana Putnam, Jean-Solo Ratsisompatrarivo, US Forest Service Technical Coordinator to Directorate of Forest Inventories and Management (Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism), and Ken Creighton, USAID-CARPE Senior Global Climate Change Specialist/Regional Advisor. Richard Robinson, USAID-DRC Extractive Industries Technical Advisor, provided important guidance to the workshop themes and participant list.
The workshop's final recommendations are as follows:
Artisanal & Small Scale Mining:
♦ SAESSCAM, the Mining Ministry's Service for Assistance and Organization of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining, should oblige these actors to affiliate within cooperatives, and reinforce their organizational capacity to respect environmental obligations for improved biodiversity conservation.
Land Use Planning:
♦ The Congolese government should evaluate the potential mineral resources and biodiversity on national territory which is not yet attributed for particular land use in order for these areas to be designated for artisanal mining, industrial mining and "no-go zones" (potential conservation areas) in order to avoid overlap.
♦ The Congolese government should put the Environment sector as the same level of priority as the Mining sector by adopting the objective of "Net zero loss of biodiversity". In order to mitigate impacts from mining activities on critical conservation areas to a net zero loss result, all mining sector actors should be obliged to follow strictly defined mitigation hierarchy measures (avoid, minimize, rehabilitate, and compensate).
Law and Policy:
♦ Legal regulations regarding mineral exploitation should be reviewed in favor of biodiversity conservation, with harmonization of concepts and required expertise, adapted and translated into national languages.
♦ The Congolese government should respect the integrity of legal protected areas by cancelling all mining concessions ceded within them and also develop a strategy to negotiate evacuation of artisanal miners from these sites.
♦ The Ministry of Mines in consultation with the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism should reinforce the capacity of actors (mine inspectors, civil society, public and private mining enterprises) implicated in the independent monitoring and evaluation of environmental obligations for the mining sector.
♦ The Congolese government should create a legal consultation framework between the Ministries of Mines and Environment and their relevant services in order to resolve existing issues (and to avoid new problems) related to the attribution of overlapping concessions and protected areas.
♦ The Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism should elaborate a strategy for intervention and synergy with the Ministry of Mines, specifically with the Mining Directorate of Environmental Protection in order to more efficiently manage ecosystems threatened by mining activities.
♦ Public and private mining enterprises, artisanal miners, as well as the public administration must implicate local and resident communities in all steps in the elaboration of community development actions, adhering to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) standards.
For more information on this and other efforts related to Mining and Biodiversity in the Congo Basin, please visit www.abcg.org.
This project was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Cooperative Agreement No. RLA-A-00-07-00043-00. The contents are the responsibility of the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
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