Mukasiri Sibanda – ZELA’s Economic Governance Officer and Emily Nickerson – Coordinator of PWYP Canada

Background and introduction

In the quest to improve transparency, to curb corruption and maximise the sustainable development dividend from mining, government revived its interest in 2018 to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Civil society actors, especially Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign are behind this push. There is guarded optimism though. Over the last decade, government’ repeated commitment to join EITI or resuscitate a home-grown version of EITI, the Zimbabwe Mining Revenue Transparency Initiative (ZMRTI) has not brought any tangible changes on the ground.

Much as Zimbabwe’s mining sector is less transparent, courtesy of mandatory disclosure rules for extractive companies listed in Canada, EU and UK, in some areas, transparency has been boosted. For instance, payments made to various government intuitions by Caledonia’s Blanket gold mine in Gwanda district can be accessed because of Canada’s Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA). Such disclosures started in 2016.

Given growing calls by civil society for government to implement EITI, it is important to reflect on lessons learnt on how to strengthen accountability in an improved transparency environment. Such lessons are critical to ensure that civil society and communities will not be caught flat footed in case data from EITI becomes available. Importantly, the reflections will allow civil society to reinvigorate their campaign for EITI with tangible evidence of greater linkages between transparency, accountability and improved local economic development outcomes.

Another value add relates to fine-tuned transparency advocacy strategies which makes better use of payment data from Caledonia’s ESTMA reports. Certainly, Zimbabwe takes center stage in this study. But the lessons drawn can be handy to other resource rich countries in Africa which are part of the EITI as well as other non EITI implementing countries where extractives data is available. Further, the lessons can inform Canada, EU and UK government on progress, challenges and opportunities associated with mandatory disclosures and how they can support data access and further improve the quality of reporting. A collateral impact of this study is to make a compelling case to countries like Australia and South Africa, key capital markets for the extractive industries, to have a better picture on the impact of such reforms.

Problem statement

There is no specific study which has been done which focuses on how civic society, communities and stakeholders have reacted to Caledonia’s ESTMA reports to improve accountability in the management of revenue generated from mining. Therefore, there is no compelling evidence to prove whether this transparency gain has been utilised by civil society, communities and other stakeholders to improve accountability as well as the gendered impacts of this use. There is limited documented reflection of experiences and lessons learnt from using ESTMA data to foster demand driven accountability. Given the push by civil society for government to adopt EITI, failure to prove the impact of transparency can be a set back to civil society’s transparency agenda including the quest to use extractive data to fight inequality – how women, men and youth are benefiting, the right for communities impacted by mining activities to benefit from resources in their localities, and information access asymmetries among others.

 Signature objective of the study

To draw experience and lesson learnt by civil society and communities (men, women and non-binary peoples) from using ESTMA data to improve accountability in the management and utilisation of revenue generated by mining.

Anticipated results

  • Fine tuned strategies to convert transparency gains for ESTMA data into strengthen demand for accountability
  • Recommendations on what civil society and communities must work on to prepare ahead for the possibility of increased disclosures in case Zimbabwe joins EITI
  • Feedback to governments that are champions of mandatory disclosures on progress made, challenges and opportunities
  • Compelling story for major mining capital markets like Australia and South Africa to adopt mandatory disclosure rules.
  • Better understanding of the gender impacts of data access and use by civil society, communities and other stakeholders to improve accountability.

Expected activities

  • Survey of men and women in approximately 2-3 communities in Gwanda district on awareness of ESTMA data related to Caledonia’s Blanket gold mine using key informant interviews and focus groups.
  • Meetings with strategic partners including with Canadian embassy to discuss the study and findings
  • Report/blog which summarizes findings and recommendations

Anticipated Timeline

  • December 2019
    • Develop survey and seek feedback from relevant stakeholders
    • Reach out to Canadian embassy to let them know this work is moving forward – Emily Nickerson with Mukasiri Sibanda in cc
  • January 2020 – potentially January 27-31, 2020
    • Key informant interviews and focus groups with communities in Gwanda District
    • Blog on project and twitter handle to get feedback
    • Meetings with Canadian embassy (PWYP Canada and ZELA)
  • February 2020
    • February 3-6, 2020: Share preliminary findings at Alternative Mining Indaba and do mini capacity building activity on how to access and use ESTMA data to understand what companies are paying local governments [if funding secured]
    • Prepare summary report of key findings and recommendations
  • March 2020 – As relevant, develop funding proposal to move recommendations forward

Survey (preliminary ideas)

Focus for discussions to better understand perceptions of the sector and value of this data to address some of these questions:

  • General perception of mining sector contribution to local economy
    • Who benefits from mining?
    • Who makes money from mining?
  • Understand the importance of data or why is data important in the drive for transparency.
  • What data is important to you? If you had that data how would that benefit you?
    • What information/data types do you need to hold government and companies to account?
  • Where do you find information? (Or, how do you access information about the local economy?) Who has information/holds information/do you go to for information?
    • What are key ways that you receive information on company activity and that you participate in governance of the mining sector?
      • Make note of differences between how men, women and non-binary peoples receive information
    • How would you like to access this information?
      • Make note of differences between how men, women and non-binary peoples would like to access information
    • Assess stakeholder awareness and knowledge of ESTMA data. This could include presentation of the data, discussing key questions and interests in the data as well as exploring:
      • Is this data valuable?
      • What are the gaps and opportunities?
        • Consider making these a “choose from a set of suggestions with option for other”
      • How best promote this data to hold government and companies to account?
      • Do you have suggestions for how would you like to access this information? (particularly if this is not already being accessed and is of interest)
    • Find out if there are other transparency challenges and opportunities

Respondents (both key informant interviews and focus group discussions):

  • Local development committees at ward level
    • Have you interacted with this data? If not, how could this be a game changer?
  • Village development committees at local level
  • Education and health committees
  • Community-based groups and faith-based organisations in Gwanda – women’s groups…
  • Gwanda Community Share Ownership Trust
  • Local government – Gwanda Rural District Council
  • Blanket Mine
    • How leveraging this data with stakeholders?
  • Other companies
    • What are the challenges with disclosing similar information on the payments that are being made, similar to Blanket Mine?
  • Chamber of Mines
  • National government, including Revenue authority
  • Media
    • Has anyone written about mining sector using this data? If not, why?

Other

  • How many people are we surveying in the community? How well does this represent community views?
  • Add a few questions above we categories or rating scales to facilitate data analysis and presentation of the findings.
  • Information on participants – what are we collecting? Age, gender, occupation, ethnicity, ability-disability etc?
  • Consider testing questions with local leaders first
  • What is a better way to say “hold companies and governments to account”?