SADC-PF/SARW Launch Southern Africa Resource Barometer

SADC-PF/SARW Launch Southern Africa Resource Barometer

Speaker of the National Assembly, the Rt. Hon. Justice Dr Patrick Matibini, MP, SC on Thursday, 5th December, 2013 officially launched the Barometer for Monitoring Natural Resource Governance in Southern Africa, organised by the Southern Africa Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) and  Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW). 
 
The Southern Africa Resource Barometer (SARB) was introduced as one of already existing efforts to promote better management of natural resources for the benefit of all SADC citizens.  The SARB with its guiding principles is expected to be utilised by Parliaments, civil society groups, labour organisations, the media and communities to monitor how governments and companies manage natural resources. 
 
In his speech, the Hon. Mr Speaker said, natural resources were the wealth upon which economies worldwide, including those in the SADC region were built. He further said, natural resources belonged to the citizens of a country and the citizens therefore, had legitimate expectations that the exploitation of natural resources would result in their improved livelihoods. 
 
He said, the global trend of the scramble for access to natural resources had intensified, arising partly to the demand stemming from the emerging economies and was reflected in commodity prices which were at an all time high. 
 
Speaking at the same occasion, Secretary-General of the SADC-PF Dr Esau Chiviya said, the launch of the SARB marked an important milestone in the work that SADC PF and its partner SARW had been doing towards contributing to efforts to strengthen the governance of mineral resources in Southern Africa. 
 
He said, the development of the principles for monitoring the governance and utilisation of natural resources for use by parliamentarians originated from a SADC-PF Conference held for parliamentarians from SADC countries in Johannesburg, South Africa in October, 2010.  The theme of the conference was “Towards Enhancing Parliamentary Legislative and Oversight Role in Extractive Industries Sector”. 
 
He further said, the constitutional role of Parliament in exercising oversight on the utilisation and exploitation of mineral resources had not been recognised, and yet the three core functions of Parliament which include representing constituent interests, legislating and exercising oversight on the activities and performance of the Executive were essential if the exploitation of mineral resources by mining companies was to benefit SADC citizens. 
 
And in his statement at the launch, SARW Director, Claude Kabemba said, “unless Africa strengthens its legislative framework on resource extraction and commercialisation, Africans should not expect a fundamental transformation in the model of distribution of benefits, which continues to follow the colonial pattern where the owners of the resources are losers and foreign capital the winners”. 
He said, there was a growing demand for strong mineral resource governance, which was a an important step towards transforming the region’s mineral resources into engines for growth and development. 
 
The launch which took place at Lusaka’s Inter-Continental Hotel was hosted by AFRODAD and attended by, Zambian and other Members of Parliament from the region as well as various stakeholders.

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