Liberia: Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Forms Secretariat

Monrovia — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) National Programme Coordinator, Mr. Abraham Tumbey, has called on members of the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) Working Group to exert more efforts in tackling the challenges faced by the sector for a sustainable environment.

Making the assertion recently in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County during a one-day working session that was supported by the Society for Conservation of Nature Liberia with funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), Mr. Tumbey said, "the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining Working Group have been a platform for dialogues and engagements aimed at finding ways to solve some critical issues relative to the environment".

"The sector has some challenging factors, to name a few; Environmental Pollution arising from Artisanal mining activities, Human Rights and gender-sensitive issues and the concerns regarding the threats of the sector to Liberia's protected areas as well as the biodiversity and conservation efforts," Tumbey lamented.

The ASM is a platform that brings together stakeholders from different institutions, the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia, Civil Society Organizations, the Independent Human Rights Commission, others are; the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection and the Ministry of Justice, together they all can carve a roadmap and a suitable way to ensure that artisanal mining can be sustained in the long term.

Tumbey, however, disclosed that even though the working group has been effective to a certain extent, there has not been an annual or biannual meeting. This, he said, birthed the need for them to convene for the sole purpose of setting up a secretariat which would be charged with the responsibility to plan quarterly or biannual meetings as well as monitoring to seek full implementation of their projects.

"Our meeting here today will help us all accomplish a lot of things in regards to the ASM achievements, most especially those that form part of the secretariat, they will be responsible after this meeting to put all system in place by reviewing the Terms Of Reference of the Institution," Tumbey asserted.

Giving an opening statement at the meeting, Assistant Minister of Mines of the Ministry Emmanuel T.T Swen expressed gratification over the progress being made by the ASM through their partnership with the Ministry of Mines and Energy and other line ministries and agencies as well as non-governmental environmental institutions.

While proxying in for the Deputy Minister of Operations, Minister Emmanuel O. Sherman, the Assistant Mines Minister stated that the meeting is being significantly observed because they all wish for a better result for the purpose of a sustainable environment. "we are keen on this because we do not want generation after us to hold us in contend for mismanaging the environment" Minister Swen explained.

He at the same time encouraged all participants to put in their best during the meeting to form a good strategy for their upcoming obligations.

Meanwhile, the body presented a draft secretariat structure and work implementation plans, the draft explained that; the secretariat will coordinate the ASM activities, implementing policies, provides three representatives from the government, the CSOs and ASM as a team to work in other areas, the secretariat monthly meetings to work on daily and monthly activities of ASM, fundraising strategies, other activities include; the creation of awareness of the effect of mining activities, livelihood projects and environmental pieces of training through a partnership with mining companies working in Liberia.

The body concluded by forming its secretariat and the members are from the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), African and Development Bank (AFDB), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Conservation International (CI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), among others.

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