KP CSC urges stakeholders to create safe environment for local communitiesNat’l Disaster Risk Commission Criticizes Elements Trying to Politicize Drought in Ethiopia

By Eratus Ndueh The Kimberley Process Civic Society Coalition (KP CSC) urged its coalition members to prevent mineral fueled conflicts and promote better mineral resources governance for the benefit of local communities in the Kimberley Process for it to remain fit for purpose. The call was made during the closing event of the annual planning meeting of the KP CSC which held on February 2, 2024 in Yaoundé. The one week annual meeting brought together coalition members from Belgium, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote D'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe to brainstorm on issues plaguing the diamond supply chain and look for reasonable ways to deal with crises relating to difficulties of implemention in specific member countries. The diamond industry is reported to be facing significant challenges which is associated with conflict, and desperation that are back at the forefront. Communities living among diamond riches fail to see and fee l any benefits. 'Coming from African countries, diamond is supposed to benefit the communities from where it is exploited, but this is not always the case. So for us, we think that the KP has become not taking care of these communities' expounded Jaff Bamendjou the new coordinator of KP CSC. The KP Civil Society Coalition has been advocating for KP reform for a long time and is concerned that the much-needed reforms will once again not get a fair chance. In this way, the KP risks undermining the foundations of the industry it claims to protect. 'Things have changed because couple of years ago, we were talking of conflict diamond due to the fact that non-states armed groups were using this resources to finance their wars. That is why we harness our efforts to say enough is enough by introducing the Model Diamond Framework which entails ensuring that the diamond which is exploited is free of violence, and respecting the social and economic rights of the local communities and going beyond looking how the extr action of diamond can bring local social and economic development.' The coordinator added. According to Esther Finda Kandeh, the founder and director for women on mining and extractives, women have not been left out of the KP CSC's fight because they ensure that these women who are part of the mining process and who go through the same ordeal with the men, should have their voices heard in the coalition for better solutions to be made. 'The first thing that we are doing is ensuring that all governance documents that concerns KP should be engender and capture the issues of women pointing the challenges they are going through in the extractive sector' said Esther Finda. She added 'In the extractive sector, women find it difficult to have a say in decision making process due to the cultural beliefs that binds them down. They are mining areas that women are not supposed to go, just because you are simply a woman and many others. So we are out to amplify their voices.' The Kimberley Process Civil Society Coali tion is an umbrella organization that acts as an observer of the Kimberley Process on behalf of civil society. Representing communities affected by diamond mining and trade, and improve diamond sector governance in their home countries. The Kimberley Process was established in 2003 and has 85 participants, including industry representatives and civil society organisations. Source: Cameroon News Agency Addis Ababa: The National Disaster Risk Management Commission criticized those who have been politicizing drought, stating that international organizations, the government and other stakeholders have confirmed in their assessment that what is happening in Ethiopia is a drought, not a famine. Disaster Risk Management Commission Commissioner, Shiferaw Teklemariam condemned the politicization of humanitarian aid and called on all actors to take a share in the humanitarian response in the country. The commissioner stressed the need for coordinated and well-funded response by pertinent international actors to prevent further deterioration. The government has rescued the lives of its citizens by allocating additional resources when humanitarian organization abruptly stopped their support without any notice, he stated, indicating the completion of sufficient preparations to further continue its support to the people in need. He emphasized that the responsibility in the federal government goes in line with how we are also organized noting that the government has been providing emergency humanitarian aid and coordinated responses to the problem. The commissioner further pointed out that studies and surveys conducted by international organizations and other stakeholders including FEWS-NET and the government itself, confirmed the fact that what is happening in Ethiopia is a drought, not a famine. Shiferaw also indicated that the UK Minister, who recently visited affected areas, has also confirmed the absence of famine-like conditions. He stated that the current situation does not meet the definition of famine. This stands in contrast to claims of impending catastrophe used for propaganda purposes. 'But, at the same time, there are intents of politicization and also intents of propaganda that would like to use the current humanitarian situation for something else, or is like if they feel as I said earlier, anyone who knows something is moving towards a famine direction, now they have to stop all other activities, all development activities or projects, all meetings, all unnecessary luxury type of things to reach out to the victims.' He further stated that all stakeholders at all levels of the government structure including regional states, communities and the private sector need to play their part. So using the gross assessment, he said pointing to the household economic analysis, also the displacement tracking metrics, village assessment survey, early warning and early action results and also any rapid onset type of disasters concluded for the year, 'the worst period will be during July-September, which is now equivalent to 10.8 million beneficiaries when we reach to that season. But as we speak now, for the January, February, March, the beneficiary numbers on 6.6' The government through the commission is now deploying a huge amount of resource to address the most neediest people. 'And that may go to the extent of 200 million US dollars in the last five, six months. And as I speak for the upcoming season, we are also investing close to 50 million USD. This is a substantial amount of contribution from the federal government to the regional states and from the 6.6 beneficiaries; 3.5 million beneficiaries are coming from Northern Ethiopia. And this is Tigray, Amhara region and Afar.' There are also challenges in Somali and Oromia regions as well as in other parts of the country, he added. 'Therefore, the response which we are doing at the federal level has to complement with the responses at the regional level as well.' While the federal government is playing its part, regional governments, communities, and the private sector all have a crucial role to play in addressing the drought. He stresses the need for everyone to contribute materially to support those in need. 'Now the call which we made through the media is everyone to do their own share properly, the partner to do their own share, the government will continue to dwell what it is doing, the regional states to do their level best again, and also make sure whatever resources we are getting into the regions is reaching the beneficiary without any misuse or misdirection or even people call it a diversion. So if that is taking place, if we are getting the resource that is being sent from the commission as properly as it is possible, because they are actually the ones who are handling those distribution.' Despite significant contributions from the government, 200 million USD in the past six months, the response is hampered by a lack of resources. The humanitarian appeal for USD 4 billion last year received only 33 percent funding, which was channeled through the UN agencies, he explained. 'In the response part the government was covering, like over 70 percent of the required humanitarian food assistance. And now it's only after December, January, February that our partner now trying to pick up even then the resource base, what you call the humanitarian resource contribution has been declining all the time. For example, last year, the humanitarian requirements plan was for about 4 billion USD, out of it, we received only 1.3 billion, which also is not coming to us which goes to all kinds of UN partners to do their job. And it was only 33 percent.' Shiferaw emphasizes the importance of ensuring aid reaches intended beneficiaries and condemns any misuse or diversion of resources. Robust monitoring mechanisms are in place to track aid distribution. The government has pre-positioned 50,000 tons of food for distribution in the coming months and is working with partners like USAID and the World Food Program to expand assistance. He stressed the need for a coordinated and well-funded response with a view to preventing further deterioration of the situation. Source: Ethiopian News Agency