Report on Training workshop on “Social and Environmental Issues of Mining”

23rd to 26th September 2012, Afghanistan Geological Survey, Kabul

 

Report written by: Ghulam Dastgir Khan,

Land Acquisition and Social Impacts Analyst,  

 NRRCP Secretariat            

Training Organizers: Ghulam Dastgir Khan, Ahmad Shah mamozai, Najeebullah Habibzai, Abdul Sami Sultani,

Other Facilitators: Masooma Nazari and Qais Safi, Policy Department, Abdul Basir Omar and Nematullah Hotak NRRCP Secretariat, Abdul Khabir Translator PMU Ministry of Mines

Supervision and Guidance: Harjot Kaur, Sr. Social Development Advisor Ministry of Mines

Operations Support: Program Management Unit, Ministry of Mines


Ministry of Mines has initiated and capacity building programs within the Ministry to create greater awareness about social and environmental impacts of mining and the mitigation strategies. One step towards the capacity building of the Ministry’s personnel was the four days Training Workshop on “Social and Environmental Issues of Mining”  conducted from 23rd – 26th Sep, 2012 at the Conference Hall of the Afghanistan Geological Survey. The aforementioned workshop was attended by 25 Ministry officials from the Departments of Inspections, Policy, Investment Promotion, Afghanistan Geological Survey, Cadastres’ Department, and Aynak Project Team of the Ministry of Mines.

The main objectives of the Training Workshop” were;

  • To give a general picture of the issues and social and environmental problems related to mining activities
  • To make the participants aware about the positive and negative consequences of mining on communities and the environment
  • To build the participants capacity with regard to in community consultations and
  • To give the participants a sense of responsibility for mitigating the adverse impacts and promoting the positive impacts of mining.

 

Topics taught and discussed during four days are summarized below;

Day 1: (Sunday, 23th Sep, 2012 8:30AM to 1:30PM)

The program started with the recitation of verses from Holy Qura’an. H.E. Deputy Minister for Regulation and Coordination inaugurated the training and advised the participants to take full advantage of the training in understanding all social and environmental issues related to mining. Director of NRRCP Secretariat, Director of Policy, and Director of Inspection were also present at the inaugural session to motivate the participants in this training program.

Ms. Harjot Kaur, Senior Social Development Advisor of the Ministry of Mines presented the Social Policy Guidelines of the Ministry. She discussed the existing legal and policy framework in the mining sector, the need for social policy guidelines, the objective of social policy guidelines, international social standards, community and labor issues in mining, resettlement and land issues, community engagement and community development.

Mr. Qais Safi from policy department presented the Draft Social Policy which has now been approved by the cabinet. The Social Policy of Ministry of Mines included objectives, list of stakeholders, legal and regulatory framework, Social Impact Assessments (SIA), social standards for mining, grievance redressal, mitigating negative social impacts, sustainable development, community development agreements, conflicts resolution, communities development, services and facilities, land and R&R, health & safety, Government role in community development, mine closure and the implementation mechanism of the policy.

Presentations were followed by question answer sessions wherein the participants asked questions to clarify their doubts.

Day 2: (Monday, 24th Sep, 2012 9:00AM to 4:00PM)

A presentation was made by the Social Advisory team (Mr. Najeebullah, Mr. Ahmad Shah, Mr. Abdul Sami) on the process of Social Impacts Assessment of the mining projects including the Socio-Economic Survey of the project affected communities. The questionnaire to be used for the socio-economic survey was also discussed in detail with the participants.

Mr. Dastgir Khan presented a simulation exercise to the participants on the Social Impacts Assessment. He divided the participants into four groups i.e. A, B, C, D and give them specific tasks in the group activity. He explained four basic steps involved in conducting SIA i.e. Impacts Identification, Impacts Assessment, Impacts Management and Monitoring. Each group was given the responsibility to develop a mechanism for one of these step like group A was to develop a mechanism for Impacts Identification, group B to develop mechanism for Impacts assessment and the remaining steps by C and D groups.. Later, each of the group leaders was invited to present their work which was followed by questions by the participants. .

 Mr. Ezatullah Sediqi, Social and Environmental Advisor in NEPA was invited to present the Environmental Impacts of Mining which included types of mines and steps in mining, impacts on water resources, air quality, wild life, soil quality, climate changes and etc.

Eng. Wazir Gul, Environmental Specialist from NEPA presented the process of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) including history and importance of EIA, important definitions, steps in EIA, legal and regulatory framework of EIA and other relevant information from the Afghan Environmental Law. This was again followed by a question answer session.

 

Day 3: (Tuesday, 25th Sep, 2012 9:00AM to 1:30PM)

Ministry of Justice Director of Commercial and Private Sector Laws, Ms. Anisa Ahrar was invited to present the Afghan Land Acquisition law and discuss the very important issues related to compensation to the project affected people according to the law. She also highlighted the current progress in the amendment of Land Acquisition Law.

Another comprehensive presentation was made by Mr. Abdurab Samadi from Afghanistan Land Authority on the “Law on Managing land Affairs” and “Land Clearance Procedure”. The land clearance procedure was taught to the participants discussing in detail all the steps that are necessary to be taken for land clearance.

The session was quite lengthy and there was lot of interest among participants to know more about land acquisition issues. It was followed by detailed discussions by the participants on issues related to compensation, acquisition, land clearance, rights and responsibilities of the land clearance committee, etc.

 

Day 4: (Wednesday, 26th Sep, 2012 9:00AM to 4:00PM)

The topics discussed in first three days of the training were summarized by Mr. Dastgir Khan and the participants were asked to talk about the topics discussed and what they have learnt about them from the training program.

Mr. Dastgir Khan made a detailed presentation on   Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Mining Industry giving live examples from Hindustan Zinc Limited India. He also made a presentation on the Community Development Agreements (CDAs) with the affected communities in mining project sites. The issues discussed included definition of CDA, importance of CDAs, CDA drivers, advantages and disadvantages of CDAs, contents of the CDA, and conditions of CDAs etc. The information shared with participants was mainly taken from The World Bank’s Mining Development Agreements, Source Book.

Another Group Activity was given to the participants in order to build their capacity for negotiating a CDA. Four groups were made; one-Government, second Mining Company, third Community, and the fourth group - Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).  The group relating to Government was to develop roles and responsibilities of the Government in promoting community development and in signing of a CDA with the community, the Mining Company had to develop a community development program, the Community had to present their expectations from the project and apprehensions, and the CSOs had to develop a mechanism for CDA negotiation and community consultation. Each group presented their part followed by a community consultation process wherein all the parties i.e. Government, Mining Company, Community and CSOs fully discussed their issues and concerns before agreeing to sign a CDA.

 

Workshop Evaluation

A systematic evaluation was carried out after the training program. The evaluation sheets were shared and , participants were asked to evaluate the various training sessions; Overwhelmingly large number of  (80% )of the participants considered the workshop as extremely useful and 10% considered it as   very useful and while the remaining 10% as  useful.

90% of the participants showed their interest in all the topics discussed during the course while only 10% showed interest in CSR, CDA and SIA.

Regarding the teaching and presentation method, 40% of the participants considered the teaching tools as excellent, 40% as very good and remaining 20% as good. .

100% participants are interested to attend more relevant training programs and workshops on social and environmental issues and preferably in the areas of Land Acquisition, SIA, CSR and CDAs.

 

Conclusion

The four days training workshop on “Social and Environmental Issues of Mining” was the initiative taken under the direction of H.E. Minister of Mines and under the overall guidance of Ms. Harjot Kaur Senior Social Development Advisor of the Ministry of Mines. 25 participants were trained and made well aware of the issues like land acquisition, compensation to project affected people for land acquired, trees etc, land clearance, social policy, SIA, EIA,  CSR, CDA etc. Practical and simulation exercises, group activity was also carried out which further raised the participants’ awareness and motivation towards learning of these very important issues.

CDA Presentation by GDKhan

Land Acquisition Law Afg.

Law on Land Management- Eng

Social Policy Guidlines for Mining Sector