The Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver), and the World Bank have embarked on Grievance Redress Mechanism (M-GRM) to foster mining community development in areas where MinDiver projects are being executed.
The GRM Manual outlines the process for documenting and addressing grievances that may be raised by affected persons or community members regarding specific MinDiver project activities on environmental and social performance, engagement processes, and unanticipated social impacts resulting from project activities. The initiative is to develop a workable template that will help in managing grievances through key requirements anchored on best practices that will ensure feedback and resolution of disputes in project location.
The M.GRM has initiated mechanisms anchored on some principles including proportionality where an issue must assume a level of risk with expected adverse impact to be faced by affected communities. Under the initiative, such issues will have to be tackled in a culturally appropriate and acceptable manner. According to the framework, the five basic principles considered in the design of the GRM include, publicising conflict resolution mechanism, receiving and registering feedback. Others are to review and investigate, respond and resolve the issues at stake as well as monitor and evaluate grievances.
In a two-day workshop in Kaduna in December, the Deputy Project Coordinator of the MinDiver, Engr. Abdullahi Also, revealed that the M-GRM was a mandatory grievance redress mechanism initiative well designed to facilitate the accomplishment of the objectives of the Ministry’s Roadmap for the growth and development of the mining industry. As a mandatory requirement of the World Bank safeguard policy, he said the GRM has the potential of resolving issues with serious adverse effects on the environment including loss of biodiversity, erosion, contamination of soil water associated with the extraction and mining of minerals.
Also in his statement, Professor Olukayode Taiwo, a Senior Development Specialist with the World Bank, noted that the awareness initiative packaged through the workshop on Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM), will foster transparency and accountability while also proactively providing for conflict avoidance.
Professor Taiwo, also explained that when put into practice, the Grievance Redress Mechanism will help in minimizing the impact of conflicts and attendant risks before they become issues in a project The Professor also revealed that the GRM will create a veritable avenue for adequate engagement between the project, its implementation team, beneficiaries and the World Bank. He further explained that grievance redress mechanism can be an effective tool for early identification, assessment, and resolution of complaints on projects and this will enhance the outcome of projects.
He however stated that there is no ideal model or one-size-fits-all approach to grievance resolution since the best approach to conflicts resolution must include localized mechanisms that considers specific issues in their cultural context, project conditions and scale.
He said grievance mechanisms can be broken down into primary components like receiving and registering a complaint, screening and assessing the complaint, formulating a response, selecting a resolution approach, implementing the approach and announcing the result. Others include tracking and evaluating the results, learning from the experience, communicating with all parties involved and preparing timely report for the project management on the nature and resolution of grievances. According to him, the GRM value chain involves grievance collection which include location, channels for collection, sorting and processing which has to do with grievance categorization, logging and prioritization and referral of grievances before acknowledgment and follow ups.
Other steps include grievance verification, investigation, monitoring, evaluation, tracking and analysis of data and trends. Also included are submission of reports, modification of process to prevent recurrences and finally feedback. The feedback value chain on the other hand deals with communication to potential users, provision of results of investigations and action taken. However, Professor Taiwo cited example of barriers that can impede the process of GRM. ‘Women, poor and marginalized communities face numerous barriers in complaining. The barriers include illiteracy, lack of knowledge about their rights, local culture and traditions which include powerful interests, mistrust in government and fear of retribution, lack of access to technology and electricity, perceived hassle in complaining and belief that p r o j e c t authorities will not act upon their grievances, are all barriers.’
- Community level of redress comprises of the traditional leaders, women leaders, youth leaders, Representative of Mines association and Community Based Organization. Here resolution should be made available to the complainant within 5 working days. Four levels of redress platforms have been identified as follows:
- State level of redress comprises of the Federal Mines Officer, Environmental Compliance Officer at the State, Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Officer (ASM), Chairperson of the first level GRM Committee, Representative of the Local Government Council, Non – G o v e r n m e n t a l Organization, Project Manager of the Executing entity. Here the resolution period will take a maximum of 10 working days
- Federal level of redress comprises of the MinDiver Grievance handling Officer, Environment Safeguards Specialist, MinDiver Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Representative from MMSD Technical Departments and the MinDiver Project Coordinator. Here, the resolution period will take maximum 21 calendar days
In a situation where the grievance was not resolved, the complainant will be advised to seek recourse through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
With the steps being taken on this priority programme of MinDiver, an effective GRM and its implementation can lead to increased investment in the mining sector, increased participation regardless of gender, religion or ethnicity. Also, it can contribute to increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the sector, fair distribution of wealth, violence free environment, creative value addition and increase in foreign partnerships and investment in the sector. Also, this programme can provide a template for national grievance redress mechanism for the entire mining sector in Nigeria