The Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) has won a prestigious environmental award in Zambia for helping to strengthen natural resource governace not just in Zambia but across the whole sub-region.
Awarded by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), the accolade recognises the impact that SARW's work has had over the past few years in terms of highlighting concerns about the environmental impact of many mines and the lack of genuine dialogue between the authorities, the mines and the local communities.
The award also comes after a major breakthrough this year when the massive Mopani mine was forced to consult local communities and civil society after a key part of the plant was closed down because of fears that it was polluting the environment and affecting the health of local people. SARW was part of the team invited to inspect the plant and decide on appropriate solutions - illustrating that the organisation's campaign for communities and civil society to be directly involved in improving the behaviour and reducing the environmental impact of big mines was finally bearing fruit.
"My colleague, Edward Lange, deserves all the credit for this award," said Dr Claude Kabemba, Director of SARW. "His dedication and tenacity have been instrumental in ensuring that the government and mining companies start taking their responsibilities towards local communities and the environment more seriously."
SARW operates across southern Africa to ensure that mining policies are more pro-poor and that natural resource extraction contributes to genuine sustainable development that helps to drive economic growth in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.