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 01 May 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.

Zimbabwe's mineral resource curse  

The extractives sector is one of the major pillars of the Zimbabwean economy. It is thus not surprising that President ED Mnangagwa, in his address to the nation on the extension of the national lockdown in the fight against COVID-19 on 19 April, 2020, allowed the mining sector to “resume or scale up operations.”

Furthermore, the Government of Zimbabwe recently launched a road map to achieve a $12 billion mining sector by 2023. This underlines the critical role of the mining sector in spearheading economic revival and growth in Zimbabwe towards the achievement of vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals. This has brought the role of business in achieving sustainable development without violating environmental rights of host rural communities into scrutiny.......Click here for more information.

 Transparency & accountability matters in resource governance

Just shortly before the COVID -19 pandemic was declared a national disaster in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) organised a  meeting in Bulawayo from the 18th to the 19th of March 2020 with the objective of strengthening the capacity of civil society representatives and mining affected communities to effectively hold state actors and mining companies to account through knowledge and skills sharing on mining sector transparency issues.  Get a snippet of the questions raised by the participants and answers thereof;

Frequently Asked Questions?

Why are mining deals announced by Government under the ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ mantra not being made public?

Answer

What we have observed is that Government only publicly announces a few deals and agreements signed with foreign governments or companies on national TV, but does not publish the details, terms and conditions of the contract which gives an indication of the fiscal terms and other obligations of the investor and Government. Examples include the Karo Resources deal. Contract transparency is lacking. This is an important aspect of mineral resource governance. Over the years, Zimbabwe has used its mineral wealth as collateral in exchange for credit lines. An example is the line of credit that was secured using gold exports as collateral in 2017 by the Afreximbank. Several loan agreements signed by Government with foreign investors show that Zimbabwe has been virtually mortgaging its mineral resources. Therefore, Parliamentary oversight on such ‘mega deals’ remains critical..............Click here for more information. 

The impact of COVID-19 on the Agriculture sector 

COVID-19 is a pressing global pandemic that has resulted in unprecedented effects across the globe. Whilst the pandemic is in itself a health crisis it has caused untold disruptions on the social, economic and political systems of our modern societies that threatens the long-term livelihoods and well-being of a considerable number of people. Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector has not been spared either. Particularly vulnerable to the negative economic impacts of the crisis in the sector are the farm workers at the bottom of the food supply chain – most of them being women. These workers, integral to Zimbabwe’s food and nutrition security, already face low wages, job insecurity, gender inequality, sexual harassment and lack  protective clothing thus exacerbating their vulnerabilities.Listen to the conversation tonight on Zifm Stereo ,106.4 FM  as we dissect the impacts of the COVID -19 pandemic on the agricultural sector.


Taking away fishermen from the Zambezi River would only escalate illegal wildlife poaching 

The coronavirus is stretching and testing health systems in both developed and developing countries. Governments are instituting measures to curb the spread of this disease with some instituting national lockdowns with varying periods, social distancing and encouraging citizens to wash their hands frequently with soap[3]. Zimbabwe announced a three-week national lockdown effective from the 30th of March 2020[4] that has since been extended by two weeks. On the same day, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZIMPARKS) in Mbire district of Zimbabwe issued a warning to fishermen that they will no longer be allowed to fish without wearing life jackets. .......Click here for more information.


 


Happy Workers'Day 


The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association joins all the citizens of Zimbabwe and the world in celebrating the past and present victories of workers while making clear the organisation’s commitment to continue defending the workers’ labour struggles. The 2020 International Workers’ Day is being commemorated under a different atmosphere. The day comes at a time when the world is struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic. This global pandemic  has affected all the facets of human life and has brought the global economy to a standstill.The livelihoods of millions of people look bleak. As if that is not enough, the pandemic has also brought to the fore longstanding occupational health and safety challenges...........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 

 
Publish What You Pay
@PWYPtweets @PWYPZIMis pressing for the country’s new register of beneficial ownership to be publicly accessible, so people can use it to   their government to account. Read @jnyamukunda 's blog on why public access is vital: https://pwyp.org/pwyp-news/bringing-beneficial-owners-out-of-hiding/
 

Upcoming Events  

ZELA on YA FM 91.8
ZELA radio guest:    Shamiso Mtisi
Dates:                         5 May 2020
Time:                          1800 hours – 1830 hours
Topic:                         Public Participation and consultation during prospecting or mining rights application in Zimbabwe
Talking points:          1. Requirements of public consultation
2. Failure to consult interested or affected parties.
3. Opportunities available for public consultation and participation at this level
4. Ethos of the Constitution which should take place between a landowner and mining company
5. The need for environmental consideration to be made before prospecting 
6. Remedies available for the community.
 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 
 



 
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