17 April 2020

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is a premier public interest environmental law organisation which seeks to promote environmental justice, sustainable and equitable use of natural resources, democracy and good governance in the natural resources and environment sector. ZELA’s work is mainly anchored on a core group of rights which are reflective of natural resources governance namely; Environmental, Economic, Social and Cultural (EESC) rights. As such a large component of the organisation's work involves influencing implementation and reforms within legal and institutional frameworks governing the environment and natural resources sector through research, civic education and advocacy.

As an organisation we believe that having adequate laws in place and monitoring implementation are the first steps towards good governance of natural resources and the environment. For the past 20 years, we have managed to make notable contributions to the legal, policy and institutional frameworks governing the environment and natural resources sector for broad based sustainable environmental and socio-economic development through our work in Zimbabwe and beyond.

Through this newsletter, we get to share with you relevant updates as we drive our mission of promoting environmental justice through sustainable and equitable utilization of natural resources and environmental protection.

COVID-19: Mining Sector & Communities' Situational Report

This is our second edition of the COVID-19: Mining Sector and Communities’ Situational Report (SitRep). We promised that as long COVID-19 is breaking-up families, disturbing livelihoods and causing economic and political tension in different parts of the world, we will continue to track its real and potential impacts on mining communities we work with in Zimbabwe. We have lived up to our promise.

In this second series we give a keyhole snapshot of a mix of developments, responses, compliance levels, exemptions to the lockdown, legal developments and impacts of COVID-19 on communities, citizens, mine workers, artisanal miners and small-scale miners (ASM) and large-scale miners post the effective date of the National lockdown -viz 30th of March 2020. However, it is by no means exhaustive of developments in the sector.

In keeping with our organisational approach, we gathered information from more than 200 ZELA affiliated community monitors, media reports and public statements by Government officials and corporates. In all this we adhere to our Safeguarding Policies and Principles of doing no harm to our communities and stakeholders. We encourage them to socially and physically distance- to stay  at home and not put themselves at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. They collect information using their own social media contacts and networks at community level, which will be triangulated by ZELA........Click here for more information.

 Illegal wildlife trade in the face of COVID-19 :Emerging lessons

The first quarter of the year has seen the outbreak and fight against the COVID-19 epidemic eclipse all world issues. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the disease a pandemic on 11 March 2020, and currently it has infected over 2 million and killed over 133, 000 people globally. Governments were called to take urgent steps to curb the spread of the disease. While the major focus has been the effects of the disease and the efforts to curb its spread, the origins story remains a mystery and uncertain. What is however certain to the public is that sometime towards the end of 2019 at Huanan seafood market, Wuhan in China, a person was infected by the corona virus from an animal. There seems to be scientific consensus that the virus probably originated in bats. Scientists opine that the bats passed the virus to an intermediary animal, which then passed it to humans. This happened in the same way that the SARS virus moved from horseshoe bats to cat-like civets before infecting humans.

However, there is uncertainty about the identity of the intermediary animal which passed the virus to humans. Various reports and news bulletins have alleged that the pangolin, the most illegally traded mammal in the world, prized for its meat and scales, is the animal which passed the virus to humans. While the uncertainty remains on the identity of the intermediary animal, it is certain that the virus which is currently devastating the world originated from a wildlife market famous for both legal and illegal wildlife trade. Amidst the gloom of crumbling world economies, health systems and death, one positive effect of the pandemic is that it has drawn the attention of the world to the global problem of illegal wildlife trade...........Click here for more information. 

Why should CSOs be solid social media influencers? 

Underpinning the mission statement of most CSOs is: to bridge the gap between government and its citizens, and to play a watchdog role on government and corporates from a rights-based approach.  CSOs have written contractual obligations to fulfill with their supporting partners.  Among the contractual obligations, CSOs must account for the work they do – progress, challenges, lessons learnt and results. In real terms, CSOs have a social contract with citizens and stakeholders they work with when it comes to accounting for their action. Social media presents opportunities for CSOs to publicly account to stakeholders. Examples include, giving frequent updates on progress regarding interventions via social media, challenges, opportunities, results and most significant change stories..............Click here for more information. 

It never rains but pours for women in mining

The Mthandazo women miners with financial support from the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM) have been working with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) since 2019 .They have been able to set up systems that  allow them to trace the gold that is produced from their gold processing centre. It must be noted that,they have a very strong  safety and health culture. In 2019 the women were able to put  in place a due diligence gold sourcing policy in line with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines. However, towards the end of 2019 there was a wave of machete violence and the women were not spared. Between December 2019 and January 2020 one life was lost while eight were injured with property worth thousands of dollars destroyed and some of the valuables stolen.The violence left the Mthandazo women scared, emotionally and mentally unstable.The ravages of the machete wielding gangs hit them very hard..….Click here for more information.


Its no longer business as usual-Lessons from COVID-19

COVID-19 has become the greatest calamity of our time, at no point in our lifetime have we ever witnessed an event of this magnitude, speed, impact and disruption, one that literally grounds the whole world. We are all inundated,having to face and deal with such a deadly pandemic without adequate resources and the luxury of time - responding is proving to be long and painful and so will recovery and moving on. Life as we know it will never be the same again and we have to live with the reality of a new world order and prepare ourselves accordingly........Click here for more information.
 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public 
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following: Click here for more information.

Conversations that matter 

@jnyamukunda on Twitter

#covid19zimbabwe This is the time Zim government really consider formalizing the artisanal mining sector for responsible and sustainable mining activities & safety of miners who have become very significant to the economy #ASMinZim

Upcoming Events 

Radio Dialogue -A conversation not to miss..... 
Topic: The Impact of COVID- 19 on the Agriculture Sector in Zimbabwe from a business and human rights perspective


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