RAPAPORT… A multilateral consultation workshop, organized by the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI,) Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD,) and Partnership Africa Canada, took place on January 8 and 9 in Freetown, Sierra Leone to discuss, develop and refine a draft document dealing with ‘Standards & Guidelines for Sierra Leone’s Artisanal Diamond Mining Sector.’
The workshop brought together senior government officials, mayors, chiefs and paramount chiefs, artisanal miners representatives, labor leaders, diamond dealers and other relevant members to examine the opportunities and challenges in integrating identified best practices into existing or potential interventions in the artisanal mining sector.
A major objective of the Diamond Development Initiative is to draw development organizations and more developmentally sound investment into artisanal diamond mining areas, to find ways to make development programming more effective, and to help bring the informal diamond mining sector into the formal economy.
Sierra Leone’s deputy minister of mines and mineral resources, Abdul Ignosis Koroma, said, “This workshop and the development of the DDI Standards & Guidelines document is an important step in moving forward the debate on artisanal diamond mining and its impact on the development of the communities concerned. The document will provide a wealth of essential information and will also encourage further discussion with all the parties concerned. I am also delighted to see a full range of business, community and civil society groups represented here today.”
Participants agreed to form a multi-stakeholder forum that is steered by Network Movement for Justice and Development to continue discussions and examine practical ways to take forward the policy and activity recommendations identified in the Standards & Guidelines that will improve the artisanal diamond mining sector.
Representatives from USAID and Irish Aid, based in Freetown, have also agreed to help support the work of the forum in the coming weeks and months.
The DDI is scheduled to publish its Standards & Guidelines document in April. The document will be available for download from www.ddiglobal.org.