Conakry Declaration

Source: Regional Seminar March 13‐15, Conakry
Date: 15 Mar 2022

We, members of civil society organizations from Congo‐Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and the United States as well as community leaders from Guinean mining communities in Fria, Kindia, Léro, Sangarédi and Siguiri in the Republic of Guinea, having participated in a regional seminar on the exploitation of natural resources and the rights of communities held in Conakry (Guinea) from March 13‐15, 2011, at the initiative of the Centre du Commerce International pour le Développement (CECIDE) and Global Rights.

Following fruitful debate and experience‐sharing, we have identified the following:

  • abusive exploitation of natural resources on the African continent and over the course of several decades;
  • substantial revenues resulting from the abusive exploitation of natural resources, without notable improvements in the quality of life of local populations;
  • human rights violations by host governments and companies operating in Africa including violations of the rights to water, food and a clean environment, as well as rights to participation and access to information of local communities;
  • the lack of participation of local communities and civil society organizations in the elaboration of natural resource development contracts and in the process of negotiating, drafting and concluding agreements on the exploitation of natural resources and in environmental and social impact assessment processes;
  • displacement, land loss, and resettlement and relocation of surrounding communities;
  • violations of national and international law and standards, as well as best practice by host governments and companies;
  • the lack of awareness of local communities of their rights, applicable norms and industry standards;
  • the lack of capacity among local authorities to enforce norms and industry standards;
  • the exacerbation of poverty in communities surrounding resource development projects;
  • the persistent violation of human rights including the dignity of local populations which sometimes gives rise to violent outbreaks and conflict in certain communities;
  • incapacity of governments to resolve basic social problems in surrounding communities;
  • a lack of willingness on the part of companies to respect social and environmental policies of host
    countries.

In light of the above, we propose the following recommendations:

I. To our respective Governments, to:

- Negotiate contracts for the exploitation of natural resources that are profitable to all parties (Governments, companies and local communities), namely, by institutionalizing and increasing the direct benefits for local communities, with a view to promote sustainable development;

- Increase effective access to useful information for local communities to ensure that all parties have equal access to information relative to the exploitation of natural resources, including environmental monitoring data, and to guarantee the effective participation of communities, including in the implementation and validation of social and environmental impact assessments;

- Enforce laws and best practices in the area of displacement, land loss, resettlement and relocation of surrounding communities;

- Restore the rights of communities affected by the negative impacts of natural resource exploitation.
- Respect and protect human rights in communities living nearby natural resource development projects;

- Provide an effective and equitable recourse where human rights violations linked to resource extraction occur;

- Strengthen grievance and conflict resolution mechanisms in countries and communities where they exist and create them where they do not;

- Ensure specific protection for human rights advocates working specifically in the defense and protection of the rights of communities impacted by natural resource exploitation.

II. To companies:

- Respect and ensure the respect of contracts signed with host countries;

- Guarantee access to information of local communities and respect their right to participate in the development process, namely in the context of social and environmental impact assessments;

- Respect national laws and regional and international standards on human rights and the environment;

- Respect and ensure the respect of human rights;

- Promote a climate of peace and cohabitation in resource development zones;

- Respect their obligation to conform to national law in host countries and to never be complicit with States in the violation of human rights;

- Adhere as soon as possible to the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) and otherwise, apply its standards in practice.

III. To international financial institutions:

- Put an end to all support to companies that have not shown a willingness to conform to the performance standards set out by these institutions ;

- Condition partnership with governments on the requirement that they engage in reforms of governance sectors, in transparency and combating corruption;

- Ensure the strict application of these standards by companies benefiting from assistance;

- Ensure the respect and application of fundamental principles of human rights and respect of the environment by governments as well as companies engaged in the exploitation of natural resources.

IV. To civil society organizations at national, regional and international levels:

- Help foster dialogue between the State, companies and communities on problems linked to the exploitation of natural resources;

- Support the creation of a network working to defend the interests of surrounding communities;

- Help create follow‐up and information‐sharing mechanisms on human rights in communities living nearby resource development projects;

- Help combat corruption in all its forms and at all levels and help foster and maintain citizen awareness in local communities ;

- Strengthen advocacy efforts on the implementation of norms and other mechanisms dealing directly or indirectly with the rights of communities living nearby resource development projects.

Done in Conakry, on 15 march 2022

Signatories:

Action contre l’Impunité des Droits de l’Homme (ACIDH), Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo

Association des Ressortissants du Baraka (ARDEBA), Léro, Republic of Guinea

L’Aurore, Conakry, Republic of Guinea

Centre du Commerce international pour le Développement (CECIDE), Conakry, Republic of Guinea

Centre guinéen de formation et d'éducation pour le développement (CEGUIFED), Conakry, Republic of Guinea

Coalition guinéenne de Publiez Ce Que Vous Payez (PCQVP – Guinée), Conakry, Republic of Guinea

Commission Diocésaine Justice et Paix (CDJP), Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo

Conseil Régional des Organisations Non Gouvernementales de Développement (CRONGD), Mbujimayi, Democratic Republic of Congo

Fondation pour le Développement au Sahel (FDS), Bamako, Mali

Global Rights, Washington DC, United States

Green Advocates, Monrovia, Liberia

Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer pour les Industries Extractives Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Guinée‐Ecologie, Conakry, Republic of Guinea

Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD), Freetown, Sierra Leone

Rencontre pour la Paix et les Droits de l’Homme (RPDH), Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo

Third World Network (TWN), Accra, Ghana

Local community leaders in Fria, Kindia, Léro, Sangarédi and Siguiri in the Republic of Guinea.

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