CISLAC,others seek regular interaction among African CSOs



A call has been made for   closer interactions among civil society organizations in Africa for the purpose of sharing experience.This was contained in the communiqué issued at the end of a five day advocacy experience visit by Nigerian CSOs to Cameroun on the EITI process in Yaounde .  The visit which involved meeting with different officials and stakeholders was to build awareness and support the development of strategies to enhance citizen’s participation in EITI validation process in Cameroun as well as achieving validation.It was organized by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) on the platform of Publish What You Pay Nigeria, with support from Oxfam Novib.

A series of meetings were  held featuring  presentations from the Nigerian delegation that led to robust discussions with participants on the EITI process.The communiqué also said the visit engaged a variety of EITI Stakeholders drawn from various sectors of the Cameroonian society including EITI Technical Secretariat Coordinator, Publish What You Pay Cameroon, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Media, and Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) involved in the extractive sector.

The stakeholders  also   urged Cameroon “Government (to) take urgent steps to give effect to the EITI process in Cameroun by seeing it as a National priority which must be addressed by working collectively with all the major stakeholders. That beyond the EITI validation, the government should embrace the transparency, accountability and citizens engagement that EITI promotes as a requisite practice of democratic norms and as such entrench these in all its practices”

Read the full text of the communiqué below:

 

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF  A FIVE-DAY ADVOCACY  EXPERIENCE SHARING

VISIT  BY NIGERIANS CSOs TO CAMEROUN ON THE EITI PROCESS  YAOUNDE, CAMEROUN

MAY 14 – 18, 2012.

A five-day working visit on advocacy experience sharing between delegates of Civil Society Organisations and Media from Nigeria and their Cameroun counterpart as well as the stakeholders in the EITI process:an exercise that took place  between May 14 and 18, 2012. This visit which involved meeting with different officials and

stakeholders was to build awareness and support the development of strategies to enhance citizen’s participation in EITI validation process in Cameroun as well as achieving validation.

The visit was organized by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) on the platform of Publish What You Pay Nigeria, with support from Oxfam Novib.

The visit engaged a variety of EITI Stakeholders drawn from various sectors of the Cameroonian society including EITI Technical Secretariat Coordinator, Publish What You Pay Cameroon, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Media, and Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) involved in the extractive sector.

The series of meetings held featured presentations from the Nigerian delegation that led to robust discussions with participants on the EITI process.

OBSERVATIONS

After the series of meetings and discussions, participants and stakeholders made the following observations:

1.      That there is no law in Cameroun to entrench the EITI process and guarantee the autonomy of the initiative as it is Nigeri.

2.      That there is a capacity gap amongst CSOs currently engaging the EITI process in Cameroon and Nigeria

3.      That there is no communication strategy in place in Cameroun for ensuring community engagement of the EITI process.

4.      That there is a gap in the working relationship between CSOs, the EITI committee, parliament, the media and community people in Nigeria and Cameroun down the Extractive Industry value chain.

5.      That the current efforts at ensuring the validation of Cameroon as an EITI compliant nation is not being pursued as a national priority that requires the collective efforts of all stakeholders.

6.      That there is the strong need to build the capacity of the media as a veritable organ to popularizing the EITI initiative in Cameroon

7.      That there is the need for the capacity of the parliament to build with regards to the EITI process as a veritable means to play their role in entrenching the process in Cameroon

8.      That there is the need for more interactions between African CSOs within the continent for the purposes of experience sharing

9.      That development partners are not currently viewing the extractive sector in Cameroon as a priority which deserve the requisite support of civil society organizations.

RECOMMENDATIONS

In response to the above observations, stakeholders in the course of the meetings and interactions made the following recommendations:

Cameroonian Government

1.      That there is a need for a law to entrench the EITI process in Cameroon and guarantee the autonomy of the initiative.

2.      The Cameroon Government should take urgent steps to give effect to the EITI process in Cameroun by seeing it as a National priority which must be addressed by working collectively with all the major stakeholders. That beyond the EITI validation, the government should embrace the transparency, accountability and

citizens engagement that EITI promotes as a requisite practice of democratic norms and as such entrench these in all its practices

3.      The government should see the CSOs as partners in progress towards nation building and not as enemies and as such carry them along in its development planning and execution.

4.      The government should relax the requirements for attaining the status of NGOs so as to accommodate more players with its attendant positive impact of promoting transparency, accountability and popular participation in government.

5.      That for the EITI process in Cameroon to have the desired impact of enthroning accountability, empowering the people and translating into better life, mechanisms for communicating the process and ensuring community engagement of the EITI process must be developed.

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS (CSOs)

1.      That while CSOs are currently engaging the EITI process in Cameroon and Nigeria, there is a need to strengthen the platform and build the capacity of CSOs for more robust engagement in the process.

2.      CSOs should work together in reinforcing and strengthening themselves by building common platforms for collective action, advocacy and engagement through collaboration and sharing of expertise and resources for the purpose of greater impact.

3.      The Civil Society Organisations should increase their awareness and mobilization programs in communities. Such programs should also include educating citizens on their fundamental human rights as well as to demand for accountability from their representatives.

4.      While the ongoing CSO and Government working relationship is crucial, CSOs should ensure that their independent platforms do not lose focus so as to play their civic responsibility as societal watchdogs.

5.      CSOs should target the grassroots so as to ensure that the communities on whose behalf they advocate are not reduced to mere onlookers in the EITI process.

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY/DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS

·        Development partners should see the extractive issue in Cameroon and Nigeria as a top priority deserving support especially to the CSOs in the areas of capacity building and institution strengthening.

GENERAL:

1.      That there is the need for the ongoing and current working relationship between CSOs,the EITI committee, parliament, the media and community people in Nigeria and Cameroun to be further strengthened for the purpose of ensuring that the EITI process delivers on its potentials of better management of the extractive sector and resources for the benefit of the people.

Signed

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Executive Director

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Faith Nwadishi

National Coordinator

Publish What You Pay Nigeria

 

Cyrille TIPANE MBARA

Technical Secretary

Publish What You Pay Cameroon

 

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