The city of Johannesburg, South Africa, hosted over 300 activists from around the world at the Thematic Social Forum on Mining and the Extractivist Economy from 12 to 15 November. Our ALBOAN colleagues, Alicia Alemán and Guillermo Otano, attended the event along with several other organisations from the Jesuit Justice in Mining advocacy network.
Three intensive days of work followed an opening day, when the invited organisations were able to present their different initiatives. The Forum methodology structured participation as follows:
The second day was dedicated to a collective discussion on the struggles and strategic debates of the extractivist economy. After a round table on the regional perspectives on the resistance movements, the question of “fair transitions” was addressed in terms of other economic models that do not depend on the intensive exploitation of natural resources. In the afternoon, the participants broke up into 10 working groups that discussed a range of themes (ecofeminism, artisanal mining, criminalization of social struggle, ecological crisis, health and safety, etc.).
Following these same thematic lines, assemblies were formed on the third day to discuss possible synergies between movements and social organizations that share the same interests and positions. The “right to say no” of the communities affected by mining and the role of legal frameworks and international organisations in socio-environmental conflicts were some of the issues that generated the most interest. In this context, parallel meetings were organised between the Jesuit Justice in Mining network and the Latin American Churches and Mining network to reflect on the role of the church in these debates on extractivism and the need to connect the regional reality of Latin America with that of other African and Asian regions that share extensive ecosystems threatened by extractive industries.
On the last day of the forum, and using this work as a departure point to build common proposals, the organising committee proposed a draft of a final statement and a joint work agenda, which had been debated in several groups, to be endorsed in the final meeting. The final version of both documents will soon be published in several languages .
You can the forum on social media with the hashtag #TSFMining #TSFSA