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Accepted Paper:

NGOs and Environmental Advocacy in informal settings: The case of artisanal and small-scale gold mining areas in Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe.  
Armstrong Mudzengerere (EIMAS (European Interdisciplinary Master African Studies))

Paper short abstract:

l would like to bring discussions on how environmental advocacy unfolds in settings where natural resource extraction is largely informal or at least semi-formal. In such contexts local communities and CSOs become entangled in the trade-offs between economic gains and environmental degradation.

Paper long abstract:

Civil society organisations (CSOs) in developing countries play a crucial role as intermediaries between local citizens, the state, and global institutions concerned with governance and development. The study raises questions about the opportunities and constraints that communities and CSOs face in advocating for sustainable mining activities in a context of informal mining sector where responsibility for environmental harm is obscured. In Zimbabwe the increased politicisation of the mining sector and the rural areas in particular, resilience to climate challenges and the role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) is shrinking further. The paper argues that CSOs in Zimbabwe now have to address increasing environmental concerns arising from (informal) small-scale mining which has become an alternative source of livelihoods for many citizens. Extensive mining activities pose threats to agricultural lands and waterbodies, thus endangering biodiversity. At the same time, the state is banking on foreign currency revenues generated by small-scale miners to address the economic crisis. This means that in response to the crisis CSOs must navigate the vested interests of the state, citizens’ urgent livelihood needs and environmental concerns. Given their experience of advocacy in a challenging context, Zimbabwean CSOs provide a fertile ground for research to learn about evolving advocacy strategies in a dynamic context of a state in crisis, urgent livelihoods needs and threats to the environment. The paper analyses the new challenges encountered in navigating the triple pressures of a state in crisis, supporting rural livelihoods in the face of the Covid pandemic and protecting the environment.

Panel P22
Barriers to NGOs and CSOs: the current crises of environment and development ( NGOs in development Study Group)
  Session 2 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -