To fight poverty, the gap between rich and poor must be reduced. To reduce inequality, NCA and partners advocate for increased financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)s and universal social protection. NCA fights corruption and illicit financial flows and holds duty-bearers accountable for ensuring that public resources are redistributed in a fair and equitable way. NCA and partners mobilise rights-holders, strengthen civil society’s advocacy capacity, and engage faith actors as fighting inequality ambassadors, to hold duty-bearers accountable.

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Challenges

Inequalities have risen to an extremely high level globally and are still rising. Though millions of people have escaped poverty in recent decades, one in nine still go to bed hungry. 

  • The 22 richest men in the world have more wealth than all the women in Africa.
  • The world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people. 
  • There are 2,153 billionaires in the world, with more wealth than 4.6 billion people combined.

 

Inequality has a multitude of negative consequences, including the exclusion of large populations from common goods and services that could secure their fundamental rights, development and welfare. According to the World Economic Forum, rising income and wealth disparity is one of the most important trends that determine global development. Without reducing inequality, meeting SDG 1 to eliminate poverty will be impossible.  

There is a lack of equitable distribution of resources both globally and in the countries where NCA works. In a global perspective, the net flow of resources goes from poor to rich countries, with much of this attributable to illicit capital flight and inadequate taxation of foreign companies due to outdated international taxation systems. High levels of corruption coupled with a lack of participatory and accountable governance also hinders equitable distribution of resources. At a global level, the lack of adequate financing of the SDGs and global measures to combat illicit financial flows undermine the world’s efforts to leave no one behind. 

Extractive industries are key contributors to domestic resource mobilisation, but the communities living in mining areas experience little but the harsh consequences of the mining operations, such as forced relocation, loss of livelihoods and lack of compensation. Rights-holders do not have the information, voice and practical engagement strategies they need to influence the governance of public resources. This absence of consultation with affected populations inhibits the realisation of community rights. Inadequate policies and poor implementation and control of existing legal frameworks are obstacles to effective and just governance over extractive industries. 

NCA’s Response

The goal of the Fighting Inequality programme is fair and equitable finance and redistribution of resources. To reach this goal, NCA and partners will 

  • influence duty-bearers to increase finance forand spending to reducing poverty and inequality
  • mobilisecommunities for just resource governance

Partners will be supported to advocate for increased social spending and progressive taxation to secure that domestic resources are redistributed in a way that reduces poverty and inequality. NCA and partners mobilise rights-holders to hold duty-bearers accountable and engage faith actors as ambassadors for reduced economic inequality.  

Fighting Inequality Advocacy 

The Fighting Inequality programme is an advocacy programme. NCA and its partners advocate for natural resources to benefit citizens and for public plans and budgets to reduce poverty. Rights-holders are empowered to hold governments and mining companies accountable. Community mobilisation and advocacy is backed up by coordinated advocacy at national, regional and international levels. NCA enables faith actors and youth to carry out representative and coordinated advocacy at all the above-mentioned levels and works strategically to strengthen and establish strong and influential civil society alliances. 

Governments are challenged to increase social spending on public services such as education, health and social protection. National governments and international decision-making bodies are also be targeted in advocacy for tax justice at national and international levels, and for increased taxation of corporations and the richest individuals to secure funding of public services and resource redistribution in society.  

Map of intervention areas

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Collaborating with Faith Actors and Civil Society

NCA works strategically with its partners and other faith-based organisations to mobilise local communities, faith constituencies and youth, to create a strong public demand for just resource governance, tax justice, financing social protection and fighting corruption.  

Faith actors have historically been, and remain, at the forefront of providing social services and support to those living at the socio-economic margins. Through this programme, NCA does not directly support the implementation of social services, but rather take a rights-based approach to supporting its partners’ advocacy in holding duty bearers accountable for providing social protection.  

With over a decade of programming in the area of socio-economic justice behind them, NCA and its partners have gained influential positions in the sector. The pan-African civil society platform Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) was created by NCA and its partners a decade ago. It provides a unique entry point, at the local, national and African regional levels, to mobilise communities for just resource governance and to advocate for tax justice and reduced inequality. This platform brings a wide range of civil society actors together, and AMI multi-stakeholder platforms have per 2020 been arranged in 14 African countries.  

Results case

Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI)

In 2010 NCA Southern Africa and partners initiated a civil society platform which has now gained ground in 1428 African countries, mobilised thousands of rights holders and influenced mining companies, national legislations and African continental mining policies.

Civil society alliance strengthened to influence AU policies

In 2010, NCA Southern Africa and partners initiated a civil society platform called Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI), which has now gained ground in 14 African countries, mobilised thousands of rights-holders and influenced mining companies, national legislations and African continental mining policies. 

AMI has become a well-known actor in the mining sector and has influenced mining companies to change practices, taken part in developing the African Union’s first “African Mineral Governance Framework” and engaged duty bearers at the highest levels. AMI platforms are arranged as safe spaces for mining-affected communities to interact, strategise and hold duty-bearers accountable for just mining policies and practices. At AMIs policy, recommendations are agreed on and submitted to duty bearers, and dialogue between rights-holders and duty bearers are facilitated.  

Increased allocations to social protection

In Zambia in 2018, national budgets and plans increased allocations to social sectors crucial to reduce poverty, in accordance to input made from NCA’s partners. For example, the 2019 national budget increased the allocation to education with 15.6%, and the health allocation increased with 20.9%.  

Mining community got compensation from mining company

NCA’s partner, Christian Council of Mozambique, has accompanied local communities close to a mining area in the Cabo Del Gado province, where rubies were discovered a decade ago. The local communities have experienced human rights abuses, such as beatings, sexual abuse, unlawful detentions and even killings. Through their interfaith committee, NCA’s partner assisted in the process of documenting human rights abuses and increased the local Artisanal Miners Committee’s capacity to demand international human rights standards compliance by the mining company.

They established collaboration with the public prosecutor, and in 2018, the British-based lawyers, Leigh Day, took up the case and won a settlement on behalf of the affected community, worth GBP 4.5 million 2. The lawyers said that the work of NCA’s partner had been critical for the result of the settlement.  

Mining legislation was influenced

In Malawi, the Mines and Minerals bill from 1981 was outdated, and in 2013, NCA and partners started to advocate for revisions. We used public media, engaged and strengthened civil society alliances and lobbied government officials to influence the revision process of the Mines and Minerals bill. In late 2018, the long-awaited bill passed, and several recommendations from NCA and partners were included, for example communities’ rights to negotiate legally binding community agreements with investors.   

Transparency

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a tool NCA’s partners have used to demand increased transparent management of extractive industries and to ensure that duty bearers such as governments demonstrate increased transparent management of public resources. NCA partners take part in the Multi Stakeholder Groups in TanzaniaZambia and Malawi, but Zimbabwe is not an EITI member. But, NCA’s partner ZELA lobbied the government, and the Ministry of Finance wanted written input, which appeared word for word in the 2019 National Budget Statement.