Remarks by Head of UNDP Mozambique at launch of minerals centre
Honorable ministers, ladies and gentlemen,
We are delighted that this meeting is taking place in Mozambique, which is not only a beautiful location and a very welcoming host, but also one of the African countries most touched by the intense economic transformation brought about by a steep increase in investments in the extractive industries sector.
In recent years, higher commodity prices, greater economic and political stability and improved exploration technologies have generated a veritable boom in the African mining, oil and gas sectors. Nearly one quarter of Africa’s GDP is now based on extractive resources, the highest ratio among all regions of the world.
New discoveries across Africa are generating high expectations among emerging resource-rich countries as well as increased awareness of both opportunities and risks. The experiences of countries with longer histories in extractive industries show that there are tremendous opportunities but also formidable challenges in turning natural wealth into long-term economic and social development. Harnessing extractive industries to advance human development has therefore become a top priority at for the UN’s partnerships in Africa at the national, sub-regional and continental levels.
Recognizing the enormous opportunities and implications at stake, the UN is working on a broad front to support Governments and stakeholders, especially in Africa, to build capacity, transparency and accountability to better ensure the sustainable benefits of Extractive Industry developments. This means everything from support to local economic development, engagement with communities and artisanal mining, to a human development approach that health impacts and systems and labour legislation are strengthened adapted to the demands of these sectors.
It includes support on sharpening environmental instruments for sustainable resource use and very importantly looking at ways to ensure that women are positively engaged with the positive benefits of mining development and specifically part of the solution to ensuring its contribution to sustainable development. Too often in this sector in the past women have felt the negative impacts – issues related to HIV, domestic violence, land rights vulnerability and labour migration. We believe in a partnership which understands these challenges, and can show that women have an essential role to play in ensuring the benefits of extractive industries have long term and balanced social and economic benefit.
As a global development organization, our approach in extractives industries and development is a global framework supporting countries with the whole cycle: from participatory planning to investment in human development; and in doing so, we emphasize the importance of partnerships with the wider UN system with its economic, social, governance, employment and environmental capacities , as well as partnerships with countries with advanced extractives experience, private sector, civil society and research institutions – as well as promoting south-south cooperation.
Most recently, UNDP has recently launched a programme on Harnessing Extractive Industries for Human Development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The initiative seeks to address the capacity development needs and opportunities associated with the extractives and mining boom and is intended to address governance, accountability and transparency issues within the extractive industries.
The project will specifically facilitate the implementation of the African Union-adopted Africa Mining Vision, including the establishment of African Mineral Development Centre (AMDC) that will be officially launched here this evening. This is a combined effort of the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa and UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa under the leadership of the African Union Commission and with the strong support of Canada and Australia.
As part of this effort, research and analytical work on extractive industries and sustainable human development in Africa will be produced and disseminated in partnership with the AMDC. This will include work on gender responsive planning and conflict analysis. Let me say that we are particularly pleased and proud to be associated to such an important endeavor that might shape part of the African future.
At the member states’ level, the initiative has established a Rapid Response Facility and Fund to provide catalytic support and complement national efforts to enhance linkages between human development and extractive industries. UNDP will implement this project by working closely with the African Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, African Union Commission, relevant regional and national authorities, development partners, civil society organizations and the private sector.
The bulk of project resources will be utilized to support the implementation of Africa’s mining vision through the provision of policy and technical advisory services and the establishment of the already mentioned Africa Mineral Development Centre, and the provision of catalytic support to countries through the Rapid Response Facility. I am pleased to announce that the first country allocation from this Facility and programme has been approved for Mozambique, our host country for this meeting.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Before concluding my intervention, let me share with you briefly what the UN is doing in Mozambique in relation to extractives industries. Recognizing to what extent the governance of extractive industries can become a transformational factor for the economy, and that critical human development aspects the these sectors could be strengthened for increased benefits for all, the UN in Mozambique have conducted joint research and analysis for an evidence-based set of priorities for the UN system agencies in their support to national programmes.
To this end, the UN is working hand-in-hand with the Government of Mozambique to help address a broad range of issues related to for example the health impacts, social impacts, gender, rights, economic and environmental impact dimensions of the extractive industries development. We look forward to continuing working closely with Government and other development partners going forward on this and contributing substantively to the ongoing effort on long-term sustainable development in the context of the extractive industries boom.
Specific technical and policy advisory support will be provided to Government in support of the development of the Country Mining Vision and action plan. The overall objective is to support the governance of extractive industries through an increasingly participatory, equitable and sustainable approach, ensuring that the contribution of the extractives sector to peace and human development is maximized.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me finish my intervention by once again on behalf of the Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa reiterating the firm commitment of the UN development system and UNDP in particular to contribute to this very important African agenda at both regional and national level and we are committed to do so in collaboration and in partnership with all of you for the benefit of African people.