Last Thursday, June 2, 2022, a multi-stakeholder consultation framework for artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) was launched in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso with the support of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and the National Agency for the Supervision of Artisanal and Semi-Mechanized Mines (ANEEMAS) together with the financial support from the French Embassy. This sought-after initiative in the artisanal and small-scale mining subsector in Burkina Faso brought together thirty organizations (technical and financial partners, government agencies, national and international NGOs, civil society organizations, etc.) to jointly create synergies of action among ASM stakeholders in Burkina Faso.
ARTISANAL MINING AT THE HEART OF NATIONAL INITIATIVES
Artisanal and small-scale mining has increasingly become an important income and employment generating activity in Burkina Faso, mainly for people in rural areas. Beyond its social and environmental impact, artisanal and small-scale mining has now emerged as an alternative to poor harvests largely due to irregular rainfall attributed to climate change.
Burkina Faso currently has about 800 artisanal mining sites across 12 regions of the country, generating direct and indirect ASM-related jobs that impact the lives of more than one million people. In addition, artisanal and small-scale mining is at the heart of security given the subregional conflict promoted by Hydra terrorists in the Sahelian strip. Since 2016, Burkina Faso has been facing tough security issues imposed by armed terrorist groups. Unfortunately, as terrorist activities expand, artisanal mining sites now represent interesting niches for intelligence gathering, recruitment, and also a source of funding. Considering the above scenario, this new security challenge makes artisanal and small-scale mining formalization a priority.
Thus, in an effort to make artisanal mining an activity that contributes to the country’s development, while mitigating its social, environmental and security impacts, the government of Burkina Faso has created an institutional and legal framework for mining supervision through the National Agency for the Supervision of Artisanal and Semi-Mechanized Mines (ANEEMAS) supported by the relevant sector documentation. This vision is shared by technical and financial partners (TFPs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which, committed at their respective levels, are working to make artisanal and small-scale mining a key element for sustainable development at local and national levels.
With the conviction that synergy among the different stakeholders – donors, public institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and artisanal mining associations – will lead to greater efficiency and optimization in artisanal and small-scale mining, ANEEMAS and the Alliance for Responsible Mining have worked together to create a multi-stakeholder framework for artisanal and small-scale mining in Burkina Faso.
While several stakeholders are involved in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in Burkina Faso, it is not always clear that actions and ambitions need to be shared. For this reason, this multi-stakeholder consultation framework has been created. More specifically, this framework aims to:
- Create a space for dialogue among ASM stakeholders from donors to beneficiaries, including implementing agents.
- Increase the visibility of the initiatives made by ASM stakeholders.
- Bring ASM stakeholders together to facilitate the development of partnerships for project financing and/or implementation.
The main points of this first meeting included the presentation on cross-cutting issues in the implementation of international conventions (Minamata Convention on Mercury, OECD Due Diligence Guidance and Positioning in Burkina Faso), a mapping of challenges and opportunities for partnering, as well as group work on identifying issues of the sector.
“Having a framework to share and address ASM issues is essential to develop synergies of action for greater effectiveness, given the cross-cutting nature of the sector. This framework will be hopefully sustainable and closely followed up by all stakeholders to ensure this sector can play a role in development in the long run.”
On behalf of the French Embassy, Mr. Franck Lalanne said that “artisanal mining is an opportunity and a source of wealth for Burkina Faso, which we need to transform into a driver for development. This sharing framework is mainly aimed to create a framework for interaction among stakeholders. We really hope this initiative to be repeated and taken further.”
In the words of the representative of the ANEEMAS Director, Mr. Gaspard Tiendrebeogo, “the ASM needs guidance and it would be interesting to address it with a synergy of actions. This ASM multi-stakeholder consultation framework is very welcome to continue to bring our actions together.”
The creation of this initiative clearly marks a new turning point in the implementation of ASM initiatives, which need to be made permanent. Therefore, ARM calls for continued commitment and motivation of all stakeholders so that they can contribute even more to the development of Burkina Faso.