Devolved Governance of Natural Resources (Advocacy)
CNRG advocates for devolved governance of natural resources so that communities and their leaders have a greater autonomy over their natural resources. Devolved natural resource governance ensures communities participate in contract negotiations, mining operations, monitoring and evaluation of mining projects and orderly mine closure with land rehabilitation for future use. CNRG believes it is much easier for communities to hold their councillors and members of parliament accountable than cabinet ministers whom they may never see face to face. It is important that public officials who negotiate on behalf of the people have direct interface with the same people who stand to be affected by these decisions.
Further CNRG strongly believes a devolved system of natural resource governance ensures rapid and equitable development as communities and their local leaders can easily monitor production and revenue flows vis-à-vis local development priorities. The current centralized administration of the extractive sector has resulted in uneven and combined development that has benefited people least affected by natural resource extraction. Consequently CNRG is working with resource rich communities in Penhalonga, Hwange, Mtoko and Bikita with the aim of building their capacity to demand greater autonomy over their natural resources.
Formalization of Artisanal Mining (Research and Advocacy)
Criminalization of artisanal mining has resulted in the following challenges: human rights violations against artisanal miners, continued use of banned substances such as mercury in artisanal mining resulting in health hazards for both the artisanal miners and local communities, lack of access to legitimate markets, illicit financial flows resulting in massive loss of revenue by the state and environmental degradation. It is estimated that Zimbabwe has over 500 000 artisanal miners of whom 120 000 are women. A growing number of children have also ventured into artisanal mining where they are subjected to exploitation and exposed to health hazards such as the effects of mercury and working in disused mine shafts. Some are dropping out of school to become artisanal miners. Due to criminalization of artisanal mining, government has not been able to come up with a mechanism to prevent children from venturing into artisanal mining as to deal with the pull and push factors that force children into this practice.
CNRG advocates for the formalization of the artisanal mining sector as part of implementing the indigenization law. Formalization reduces human rights abuses against artisanal miners, gives them property rights over their products and gives them access to legitimate markets. Formalization also gives government an oversight role so as to prevent children from leaving school for artisanal mining. Currently CNRG is working with artisanal miners in Penhalonga town with the aim of organizing them into groups / cooperatives as a step towards the much anticipated formalization.