• Campaigners welcome Tokyo pledge on Afghan mining

Campaigners welcome Tokyo pledge on Afghan mining

14 July 2012

Campaigners have welcomed an international commitment to develop a plan aimed at ensuring that Afghanistan's mineral wealth will be well managed, but warned that specific conditions must be met for that plan to succeed.

Civil society organisations, including BAAG member Global Witness, lobbied donor governments meeting in Tokyo on July 8 to take steps to ensure that the country's vast untapped natural resources are exploited transparently and responsibly.

They noted that the Mutual Accountability Framework agreed at the Tokyo Conference includes a "landmark" agreement on good governance in Afghanistan's mining sector. 

Eleanor Nichol of Global Witness described this as "an important step towards embedding accountability in Afghanistan's mining sector".  But she said the specifics of the forthcoming plan would be crucial, adding "At a minimum we will look for a commitment to full transparency in all deals and to consultations with local civil society."  

The campaigners also cautioned that an emphasis solely on making money could undermine the extractive sector's sustainability.

They have repeatedly said that if not exploited responsibly, mining operations to extract resources can fuel conflict, corruption and environmental degradation.  According to Yama Torabi of Integrity Watch Afghanistan "To avoid this scenario in Afghanistan, it is vital that the rush to exploit these resources does not happen at the expense of those living around the mines."

Campaigners continue to call for Afghan civil society to play a rull role in developing and monitoring the anticipated plan.