From the beginning of 2017, Demo Finland supports democratic governance of natural resources in Mozambique. The project aims at building up the capacities of three regional and the national parliament in overseeing extractive industries and other natural resources.
With abundant natural resources, the Mozambican economy focuses on primary industries, namely its gas, petroleum and mineral extraction sector as well as its forestry sector. However, new discoveries of natural resources and their use raise potential for conflicts, and therefore, ensuring sustainable and democratic utilization of natural resources is of high priority to Mozambican government.
In the first phase of the project the focus is on training decision-makers on the social and economic effects of the natural resources sector as well as questions concerning human rights and environmental issues. The trainings are organized together with the training centre of the Mozambican Parliament and the Eduard Mondlane University and held in the capital, Maputo and three provinces: Cabo-Delgado, Tete and Inhamabane.
Another aim is to advance dialogue between decision-makers at different levels as well as with the academia and civil society. For the purpose, a safe environment for open and constructive dialogue will be fostered.
Advancing democratic dialogue is of utter importance in a heated political environment. Mozambique became independent in 1975 after the colonial Portuguese regime. After a long civil war, a peace agreement was signed in 1992 and Mozambique adopted a democratic multi-party system. However, two largest parties, Frelimo and Renamo, and their rivalry, still dominate the political scene.
The fragile political situation may also hamper the potential benefits from the use of natural resources. Long-term sustainability and the high risks posed both to the environment and local populations are often neglected if the focus is on short-term economic or political interests.
Based on previous experience in Demo Finland programmes, peer-learning between Mozambican and Finnish decision-makers will be used along with other project activities.
The three-year project is part of Finland’s bi-lateral work in Mozambique. Demo Finland partners with Associacão Instituto para Democracia Multipartidária (AIMD) and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) in the project.
Picture: “The flag”, used under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped from original by Miran Hojnik