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Supporting civil society organisations to engage with ASM | IUCN

Supporting civil society organisations to engage with ASM | IUCN

Read the summary guide

As part of the Shared Resources, Joint Solutions initiative*, Levin Sources was commissioned by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to develop and deliver introductory training to a network of partner CSOs and NGOs. The goal of the training was to enhance the organisations’ understanding of, and capacity to engage with, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) actors, in order to tackle some of the key environmental and social issues connected with ASM in the areas they operate.

The training was delivered as a 3-day practical workshop in Benin in March 2020, with NGOs from Benin (working in the context of sand and gravel extraction) and Burkina Faso (engaging with artisanal gold mining). The content was then transformed into a summary guide as well as a short webinar for additional partners of the SRJS programme. The two resources are now freely accessible to interested organisations.

Condensing a 3-day training into a short guide and 1-hour webinar

The summary guide is the condensed version of the 3-day training and provides a high-level yet comprehensive overview for civil society organisations on how to engage with the ASM sector in order to address some its social and environmental impacts.

The guide is drawn from experience in engagement across the ASM sector, ranging across continents, cultures and ecosystems, including African tropical forests and savannahs, and boreal forests, steppe grasslands and deserts in Asia. It highlights the importance of analysing and understanding the social, economic and community contexts within which ASM is operating, as well as the technical aspects of mining operations and the regulatory framework surrounding it.

Furthermore, the guide indicates how to research, design and deliver engagement activities that can address these issues and build confidence, trust and capacity through ASM engagement. This entails outlining how the process of formalisation can be informed by identifying incentives influencing ASM behaviour and capacity for change. The guidance goes on to show how human rights-based approaches can be used for effective participatory engagement with ASM and associated communities.

Specifically, the guide highlights some of the more significant environmental impacts associated with ASM activities, particularly within protected areas, critical ecosystems and natural habitats, and suggests that more holistic approaches can be more effective than, for example, evictions. One of the tools that is advocated to mitigate environmental impacts is the Frugal Rehabilitation Methodology. Additional information is provided on how CSOs can more effectively engage with and build capacity within ASM communities, from broad communication and sensitisation campaigns to embedded engagement within communities and technical training. Finally, the guide suggests how CSOs can develop ASM engagement plans that are adapted to context, and includes a few pointers to recommended reading.

The 1-hour webinar provides a short overview of key steps and headlines of the summary guide. It also includes two practical examples of how the in-person training and the summary guide were transformed into practicable action plans by NGOs from Benin and Burkina Faso, as well as a short Q & A. It can be accessed and downloaded through the webinar platform.

Follow-up training

If you are interested in receiving training from Levin Sources on the themes identified in this summary guide, contact us at hello@levinsources.com. Levin Sources can cover the range of themes outlined above as a workshop, or can deliver workshops specializing in particular themes, such as Human Rights-Based Approaches (HRBA), Gender in ASM, adapting the Frugal Rehabilitation Methodology (FRM) to country and ASM-inclusive Environmental Management Planning (EMP).


* Shared Resources, Joint Solutions is a five-year strategic partnership with the IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN NL), WWF Netherlands (Wereld Natuur Fonds) and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs that has run from 2016-2020. The aim is to strengthen the capacity of local non-government organisations (NGOs) and other civil society organisations in 16 low and middle-income countries in order to enhance climate resilience, water supply and food security. See here.

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