The IGF partnered with Lesotho’s Ministry of Mining to conduct a training workshop on environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) in the mining sector. The goal was to help government officials at all levels (as well as civil society and ESIA experts) to better understand how the country’s domestic laws, policies, regulations, and institutional arrangements compare to regional and international best practices as highlighted in the IGF’s Guidance for Governments: Improving Legal Frameworks for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Management.
Attendees reviewed the IGF’s new guidance, which has been designed to help government officials and interested stakeholders identify gaps in the legal framework for mining ESIAs and to seek corrective measures where appropriate.
The workshop brought together 35 attendees in the capital of Maseru from July 19 to 23, 2021. These participants represented various government agencies at national and local levels as well as civil society and ESIA practitioners, including:
- Ministry of Mining
- Ministry of Agriculture
- Ministry of Forestry, Range & Soil Conservation
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs
- Ministry of Tourism, Environment & Culture
- Ministry of Water
- Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of Lesotho (EAPAL)
- Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (LCN)
Participants used the IGF’s Mining ESIA Diagnostic Tool, in conjunction with constructive dialogue and knowledge and experience sharing, to identify strengths and areas to be improved in existing policy, legislation, and practices. This exercise helped attendees agree on priority areas for government action and capacity building to ensure that the ESIA process works effectively to minimize the mining sector’s negative impacts and enhance its benefits for affected communities and the country as a whole.
The tool was quite useful. It has been an eye-opener into our daily activities as a regulator.
– Mohato Moima, Principal Mining Engineer, Ministry of Mining, Lesotho
Working with governments to identify gaps is the first phase of implementing the IGF’s ESIA guidance. The second phase is to raise the knowledge and capacity of government officials through training on technical and legal issues around ESIA in the mining sector. In line with this approach, the IGF worked with government officials ahead of the workshop to identify one such gap–environmental and social compliance monitoring and auditing—and delivered a course on this topic during the week-long workshop.
This training was facilitated by a representative of the Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment, one of the co-developers of the ESY-Map tool that inspired the IGF’s Mining ESIA Diagnostic Tool. This training marked the second and final piloting effort for the IGF’s tool ahead of its official launch in English, French, and Spanish later in 2021.
The Secretariat is seeking to deploy the tool in other countries. Interested governments should contact Clémence Naré, Outreach Manager and Law Advisor, IGF at firstname.lastname@example.org.