Mines & Territory – May 2020 edition

Mines & Territory – May 2020 edition

News comes and goes. With social media as the main outlet for civil society organizations in Colombia to get their stories heard, a story can be famous for a day after which it disappears in the mass information. Mines & Territory aims to register and share these stories for longer than just a viral thread. Mines & Territory collects the most remarkable events that have occurred in the past month regarding extractivist matters in Colombia and summarizes them in English so that the information is accessible to anyone interested and raises awareness internationally to the current eco-socio realities in Colombia.

Collection, summary and edition by Jonas Adriaensens, Karlijn Van Den Broeck and Dayana Corzo.

Mines & Territory – April 2020

Mines & Territory – April 2020 edition

News comes and goes. With social media as the main outlet for civil society organizations in Colombia to get their stories heard, a story can be famous for a day after which it disappears in the mass information. Mines & Territory aims to register and share these stories for longer than just a viral thread. Mines & Territory collects the most remarkable events that have occurred in the past month regarding extractivist matters in Colombia and summarizes them in English so that the information is accessible to anyone interested and raises awareness internationally to the current eco-socio realities in Colombia.

Collection, summary and edition by Jonas Adriaensens, Daniela Marques, Yoline De Mol, Karlijn Van Den Broeck and Dayana Corzo.

ESC Volunteer Vacancies 2020 – Become a Changemaker on Fair ICT

ESC Volunteer Vacancies 2020

Changemaker Fair ICT

Campaigning and Education

Communication

CATAPA

CATAPA is a volunteer movement which strives for a world in which the extraction of non-renewable resources is no longer necessary. The extraction of such materials always entails major social and environmental impacts and fuels conflict. In working towards global social and environmental justice, we focus on mining issues (ecological disasters, human rights violations, etc.) in Latin America, where we support local communities in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia who are threatened by large-scale mining projects.

Our main activities are:

  • Internationalisation of the struggle of our partners in Latin-America and capacity building
  • Awareness raising on the impact of metal consumption amongst Belgian population
  • Creating a movement for sustainable consumption and production
  • Lobby and research

CATAPA is a grassroots movement, which means that we are mostly dependent on the work of our volunteers – the Catapistas. As a grassroots movement, we also work together with other grassroots movements in our partner countries.

Fair ICT

Catapa is currently engaged in two campaigns at EU level and one at regional level, together with European and local partners. The main goal of these campaigns is to make the supply chain of ICT devices, which includes smartphones, laptops, etc. more sustainable and fair.

CATAPA focuses on the very first part of the global ICT supply chain: the extraction of metals and minerals. The first stage of electronic devices’ supply chain is raw materials extraction, since they contain a wide range of different metals and minerals. Extractivism causes devastating environmental impacts and human rights violations across the globe. Also the ICT production sector is characterized by inhuman and dangerous working conditions, strongly affecting workers’ physical and mental health. Both individuals and public consumers have an essential role in influencing the supply chain because they may make decisions and ask for policies that can change the current unsustainable system.

Catapa works to reach fair ICT through:

  • Awareness raising of the broader public
  • Advocacy towards public and private institutions for more sustainable ICT procurement (from purchasing to reuse policy)
  • Supply chain research
  • Lobby activities for better legislation
  • Searching and supporting solutions & alternatives
  • Supporting organisations to develop a more sustainable ICT purchasing policy

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for two ESC (European Solidarity Corps) volunteers to support the CATAPA movement, and in particular the campaigns about fair ICT. One volunteer to support with Communications and one volunteer to support with the Education and campaigning areas. The volunteers will be trained to think critically and spread knowledge of these issues and to encourage other young people to become active EU citizens. The tasks are flexible depending on your learning goals and the needs of the organisation.

You will mainly be working in our office team (4 part-time staff + 2 ESC volunteers + variable number of interns) which supports the work of the movement. Since CATAPA is a volunteer movement, you will be working in close collaboration with motivated and enthusiastic volunteers.

Possible tasks

Campaigning and Education

  • Organise awareness raising and training activities for a variety of target groups (training days/weekends, documentary screenings, workshops, info evenings, public actions…).
  • Develop educational tools and manuals.
  • Support volunteers and contribute with volunteer management tasks.
  • Participate actively in the Education working group and its activities.
  • Help out with organising our International Speakers Tour: Open Min(e)d.
  • Write, revise and proofread articles, educational tools and reports.
  • Possibility to help with research tasks linked to mining and/or the ICT supply chain.
  • Some administrative tasks related to the daily functioning of our office with the possibility to get an insight in the management of a non-profit organisation.
  • Contribute to the functioning of CATAPA’s movement.
  • Possibility to develop and implement your own projects.

Communication

  • Take part in our Changemakers programme
  • Write, review and proofread articles.
  • Assist with creating promotional material for social media and posters.
  • Help with the communication and promotion tasks for events.
  • Contribute in managing our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram,Twitter).
  • Help in keeping our website updated.
  • Participate actively in the Communication working group and its activities.
  • Support volunteers and contribute to volunteer management tasks.
  • Assist in the organisation of various educational activities (International Speakers Tour ‘Open Min(e)d’, training weekends, public actions, info-evenings, documentary screenings…).
  • Some administrative tasks related to the daily functioning of our office with the possibility to get an insight in the management of a non-profit organisation.
  • Develop and implement your own ideas (for activities) into the work of CATAPA.

Requirements

Campaigning and Education

Essential

  • Motivated to work with volunteers
  • Interest in learning about the social and environmental movement and mining issues
  • Good command of English
  • Independent, proactive worker
  • Good communication skills
  • Will to contribute to positive change in the world we live in
  • Team player with a flexible attitude and plenty of humour
  • Age: below 31 years

Desirable

  • Knowledge/experience on or interest to learn about:
    • Developing educational material (e.g. workshops)
    • Organizing educational events
    • Volunteer management
    • Circular and degrowth economy, environmental movements and/or international development
    • Implementation and coordination of campaigns
  • Good knowledge of Dutch and/or Spanish

Communication

Essential

  • Interest in learning about the social and environmental movement and mining issues
  • Good command of English
  • Independent, proactive worker
  • Motivated to work with volunteers
  • Good communication skills
  • Will to contribute to positive change in the world we live in
  • Team player with a flexible attitude and plenty of humour
  • Age: below 31 years

Desirable

  • Knowledge/experience on or interest to learn about:
    • Circular and degrowth economy, environmental movements and/or international development
    • Volunteer management
    • Communication strategies
    • Design and layouting
    • Managing social media and websites
  • Good knowledge of Dutch and/or Spanish

What do we offer?

  • A warm welcome in our horizontally organized movement with plenty of learning opportunities and new connections
  • A young, motivated team of employees and volunteers
  • A monthly fee of 750 Euros to cover accommodation and daily expenses
  • Reimbursement of travel expenses from the country of origin and back, at the end of your volunteer placement (limited amount)
  • One language course (Dutch, English or Spanish) and options to follow trainings to develop your personal skills.
  • Work-related expenses are paid by CATAPA

This call is part of the European Solidarity Corps. It’s an European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer in projects abroad. This means Belgian people can’t apply for this vacancy.

The volunteer positions will start from the 1st of September, for a period of 12 months and 30 hours a week.

 

Interested or more information?

Please send your CV and motivation letter to communication@catapa.be before the 7th of June 2020. Please, remember to specify which one of the two positions you are applying for in the subject of the email and in your motivation letter. If you have any questions concerning these vacancies, don’t hesitate to contact us at the same email.

More information: www.catapa.be

Art as a Form of Protest – Peru

Art as a Form of Protest – Peru

As all neighboring countries of Peru are stuck or have been stuck in violent protests recently, Peru seems calm. Cajamarca, known for its huge protests to stop the mining project of Conga, seems calm.

Those protests happened only about 7 years ago, in 2011 and 2012, and still have a special taste in everyone’s mouth. Everyone in Cajamarca today has lived them profoundly. Everyone has somehow been part of the cruel protests. But looking at Cajamarca now, it seems like the idea of protesting has died. It seems like people have quietly accepted legal and illegal mining activity in the region. For example, there seems to be no reaction to the new mining project Michiquillay of the company Southern Copper, which they hope to start using in 2022. And there is very little reaction to the contamination of the Valle de Condebamba, where vegetables most Cajamarquinos eat get produced and are severely contaminated with toxic metals.

Why is that? Why do people stay calm? Is it because there are too many protests in Peru? Because they got tired? Because of the number of social conflicts that never get resolved? Because of the 279 people that died defending human rights until 2018 in Peru? Because of the horrible criminalization of protests in Peru in all its forms – both direct attacks as methods like states of emergency? Because of the memory of the horrible protests in 2012?

All very good reasons to not take to the streets anymore. But the truth is – the protests have never really stopped. They have just taken different forms.


Silent protests

Calm, silent protests are happening everywhere. Protesting doesn’t mean aggression. Protesting means showing how things can be different, making people think, for example through art, photo exhibitions, music, whatever you feel like. Protesting can be as silent or as violent as you want it to be. It’s your fight.

So yes, people in Cajamarca – or in Peru – might be tired of protest marches. It’s easy to see that the protest marches for women rights are smaller every year. The three climate change actions we’ve organized this year shrunk every time, and in June, when bull fights came back to Cajamarca after years, we were just a small group screaming outside of the arena holding up cardboards and getting laughed at.

But almost no one came to see the bull fights. The stadium was empty, which made the government cancel the second day of fights. And isn’t that a sign that Cajamarca doesn’t want bull fights anymore? Isn’t just not showing up a form of protest too? Isn’t silent protest, protest too?


Cross boundaries

Protest is what you want it to be. And using art as a form of protest isn’t something new. In fact, it represents the way of protesting in Peru. In the world. And all through history.

It’s said that art as a form of protest or activism was first seen with Dada, an anti-war movement which openly outed critiques to the First World War. Picasso protested with paintings based on for example the Spanish Civil War. The Vietnam War formed a base for many works of art in the sixties, and also gender issues, feminism, immigrant problems, and so on, got addressed through art. And then we haven’t even mentioned Banksy yet with all his work on all kinds of global issues, or the Russian feminist punk-rock band Pussy Riot that dealt with themes as feminism, freedom of speech, LGBT+ rights, etcetera, through their music.

Art is political, and art can be a powerful weapon. Art can make you think about things you hadn’t thought about before. Art can make a political statement, can be some sort of critique on a political or social situation. Art often looks up boundaries, or crosses them.


Art and activism

Also during the awful protests against mining project Conga in 2011 and 2012, art was used. The Plaza de Armas in Cajamarca changed into an art gallery, there were concerts, people were singing and dancing on the street. The Marcha del Agua towards Lima was beautiful with everyone singing together. And that has never stopped. That’s still part of Peru’s – or Cajamarca’s – culture. Art is protest.

As Carlos, founder of an environmental organization in Cajamarca says: “Art has a great impact on people. People get conscious about the environment, and on top of that about the beauty of the art and the people.” Art has an incredibly creative power to move people emotionally, while activism sets a goal, shows us the social or political change we need to see in the world. Art moves a feeling, while activism creates an effect. And in order to make that change, in order to get that effect, we need some sort of stimulation. We need to be moved. Emotionally. Art and activism combined, can lead to many, many things.

On top of that, art used as a form of protest, outside of actual protest marches or political spaces, gets you a surprise effect. It makes people think about serious, maybe political, issues, without them maybe realizing it. It gets in your mind, and slowly, gets you to that effect activism wants to reach.


Changing minds

Murals for example, big paintings on walls, are widely used as a form of protest or activism in Cajamarca and in Peru. In the province of Celendín the streets are full of colourful walls. And also in Cajamarca the city is covered in painted walls, leaving powerful messages. Something we could already see in the beginning of the 20th century in Mexico.

And I have to admit, while painting one of those murals, thinking about the load of work waiting for me on my desk, I did think to myself that I could use my time better. That I could actually do something useful to help the environment, instead of just paint. That I shouldn’t waste my time painting a wall with a message probably no one would read. But was I wrong. All the people passing by that day stopped to check out our message. To see what it was about. And still very often, as I walk passed that wall, I see people talking about the painting. Maybe the mural didn’t gain the change immediately. But it is changing people’s minds, slowly, daily, firmly.

The same happened when we used a beautiful Cajamarcan tradition as a form of activism. On Corpus Christi, the whole Plaza de Armas gets covered in alfombras, or flower carpets. We focused on animal rights and protested against the bull fights with our carpet, whereas some others used it to address gender inequality, for example. And in between the beautiful art works, those pieces of art showing some sort of social or political issue, were the alfombras where most people stood around, discussing what they saw. Not what was actually there, but what they saw, what it meant to them, what they understood the message was. It made people rethink their own actions.


Happiness in protest

And that’s not all. Ecological fairs keep popping out of the ground like mushrooms, focusing on economic alternatives to mining and environmental issues, and that way making passengers-by think about the impact of mining activity without them realizing that’s what it’s about. Wakes are organized to mourn the death of our environment, combined with a beautiful piano concert, to focus on environmental issues in a different way. Theatres are held all through town showing the effects of gender inequality or climate change. Movie nights focusing on social themes are a big thing.

The lyrics to the typical cheerful carnival music of Cajamarca get changed to songs defending human rights and are being sung whenever the opportunity shows.

A few weeks ago a protest action was held at Cerro Quilish. Only about 30 people showed up, hiking to the top of the mountain from where you could look out over Yanacocha. But those 30 people brought up their giant speaker, singing and dancing their way up. And after the talk on top of the mountain, the volume of that same speaker was turned up a bit more.

People opened their bags, uncovering bowls of food, giving everyone a spoonful of whatever they had brought. Sharing. Dancing. Singing. Turning a protest into a beautiful moment together, showing their strength, their traditions, their bond. Showing they are one. Unstoppable. Finding happiness in protest.


Beautiful protests

There’s loads of centers that open their doors for all kind of social movement or activity, for free, supporting artists. There’s a cultural magazine made entirely by volunteers that also hold events every few weeks addressing for example topics as cultural identity, traditions, history. There’s movies or poetry in Quechua to make people rethink their roots and history. There’s dozens of bands in Cajamarca singing about animal rights or human rights or violence against women or any topic you can think of.

Lots of youth organizations take charge and organize fun activities for all ages such as actions on recycling with quiz questions and prices to win. Photo exhibitions focus on what nature should look like and shows the work of different human and environmental right defenders.

Of course, protesting is hard in Peru. And it’s sad that there’s still so much to protest about. But at least we know it will always be here, in its own way. And protesting can be so, so beautiful.

There’s resistance. There’s hope. In all its forms. Don’t underestimate the power of art. And don’t underestimate Cajamarca.

Mining in Azuay: a David vs. Goliath story

Mining in Azuay: a David vs. Goliath story

Azuay, a province in the south of Ecuador with Cuenca as its historic and cultural provincial capital, has rapidly developed into an emblematic region in the fight against mining. 

In the canton of Girón, in the province of Azuay, a public consultation (Consulta Popular) was organized on the 24th of March 2019 about the large-scale mining project Loma Larga. An historic event, because it was the first local referendum in Ecuador on a mining activity. 

During the Consulta Popular in Girón, the inhabitants were asked whether they agreed with extracting gold in the Páramo of Kimsacocha, located in the Cajas National Park. A páramo is a fragile ecosystem in the Andes High Mountains that is vital for water supply in the region and in the country. 

The result of the referendum was convincing! 87% of the community preferred water to gold and said “si a la vida, no a la minería”. An important precedent in Ecuador, because after this victory, other provinces tried to follow suit. Imbabura and Carchi, two provinces in the north of Ecuador, recently submitted an application for a Consulta Popular, but unfortunately this has been rejected by the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court. 

Also in terms of political leadership, the importance of the province of Azuay should not be underestimated. In May 2019 the inhabitants elected Yaku Pérez Guartambel as the new prefect. Since then, he has led the autonomous government of the province of Azuay. 

Yaku Pérez is known for his strong statements against the mining sector and his ambition to legally clear the province of Azuay from metal mining, in particular by organizing referendum. Yaku Pérez quickly became a symbolic figure in the country. 

Yaku Pérez at the demonstration in Quito, 16 September 2019 © Iván Castaneira

A constitutional problem 

Following the victory of the referendum in the canton of Girón, Yaku Pérez called for a general referendum on mining activities in the province of Azuay. This question was submitted to the Constitutional Court, but after a hearing on the 17th of September 2019, this request has been rejected. 

Pérez clearly expressed his dissatisfaction with the nature of the hearing. According to him, the President of the Court must hold a public hearing before taking a decision, as is customary in constitutional matters. “We want a public hearing so that we can look the judges in the eye and speak from the heart. To demonstrate in a factual and legal way the need for a public consultation,” according to Pérez.

Demonstration in front of Constitutional Court in Quito, 17 September 2019 © Iván Castaneira

Moreover, there is a conflict of interests within the Court. One of the constitutional judges, Dr. Ramiro Avila Santamaria, was not allowed to take part in the hearing because of earlier statements against extractivism. Other judges, who clearly have ties with the mining sector, were allowed to participate. Judge Carmen Corral is a lawyer at Solines Asociados, a law firm that provides advice and support to mining companies. Another judge, Hilda Nugues, is a member of the mediation committee of the Guayaquil Chamber of Commerce, which has spoken out against the referendum. 

There is clearly a lot of pressure from the national government and the large multinationals. There is great concern about what happened in Girón and fear about the outcome of such referendum at provincial and national level.

'SOMOS AGUA', demonstrators from Azuay in Quito, 16 September 2019 © Iván Castaneira

Campaign against Yaku Pérez 

It was no coincidence that on the same day as the hearing, the pro-mining sector distributed a campaign on Twitter in which they attacked Yaku Pérez. 

They claimed that Pérez would have had mining concessions in the period 1999-2000 because his name was found in the mining register. 

Yaku Pérez disclaimed this argument. At the time, as a lawyer, he would have signed documents for the extraction of sand and stones for construction works in the province. This type of mining also is registered, but it doesn’t concern metal mining.

The battle continues 

Following the negative decision of the Constitutional Court, Pérez announced that he would step up the resistance and open a wider door by organizing a referendum at national level. 

The Ecuadorian Constitution recognizes the Consulta Popular as a legal citizens’ initiative. However, the mining industry and the Ecuadorian government argue that local consultations on mining cannot take place because the natural resources in the subsoil are a matter of national concern. 

'SOMOS AGUA', demonstrators from Azuay in Quito, 16 September 2019 © Iván Castaneira

Moreover, the constitution states that the powers of various policy bodies are not exclusive, but competitive. “You may be the owner of what is in the subsoil, but you have to pass over the soil,” says lawyer Verónica Potes, expert in environmental law and human rights. 

“It’s a battle of David vs. Goliath”, says Yaku Pérez, “There aren’t many of us, but we have the truth, the reason and the legitimacy to our advantage. We continue the resistance and if necessary, we will denounce this issue before the international courts.” 

CATAPA in de kijker

Dear Catapistas,

After the summer break we are back on track, feeling more enthusiast than ever and looking forward to seeing what the upcoming year will bring. And this time it comes with some breaking news!

Let me introduce you CATAPA in de kijker, the first edition of a series of updates on our movement, partners, activities, and most importantly, our awesome volunteers. We will try to bring this news fresh to your doorstep – or Facebook wall. And what a couple of months have been to begin with!

Last June our selfie-expert office team started with the first team-building activity. Studies show that co-workers who get along well are proven to yield more efficient results. So office productivity will skyrocket from now onwards🚀. Or maybe it won’t, and I have just made this up. But check how happy we look 😀

 

Beginning of July, some CATAPA representatives joined Make ICT Fair partner People & Planet’s Power Shift training in the UK. Some insightful days of workshops on justice struggle, collective liberation, campaign strategies, creative and non-violent direct action, grassroots organising, building a movement and reactive solidarity were followed by a direct public action on Divestment within their campaign #DivestBarcleys. Fists raised and #BarcleysCleanItUp! coming out of everyone’s mouth put an end to almost a week of energetic and fruitful encounters, which our CATAPA flag proudly witnessed…

 

During the same period, but on the other side of the world, our GECOs and partners from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru gathered for the intercambio, a whole week full of exchanges and learning from each other and each other’s work that ended up with an even more solid and stronger international solidarity network. “Ayllu Masikunapa!”, roughly meaning “we are all one family and we have to take care of each other”, perfectly defines this beautiful experience.

 

As summer went on, our already traditional Vamos de CATAPAs social gathering was held during the Gentse Feesten in Ghent, to the sound of Peruvian band Los Wemblers de Iquitos. How often does it happen that a band straight from one of the very places where CATAPA works in Latin America brings some latino vibes all the way to Belgium! So we had to celebrate… And celebrate we did💃

 

And finally September begun. As usual our summer camp took place at the beginning of this month, and Catapistas gathered to discuss different topics. Important to mention a very intimate moment we shared with ourselves, each other and nature, thanks to a guided ritual that brought us back to the intercambio and our partners in Latin America.

Old and new faces came together somewhere in West-Flanders to set the direction of the movement for the upcoming months. And so we riverdanced our way into the new season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immediately after the Summer camp, on Monday 9 September, the learning pathway within project Fair ICT Flanders started with the first workshop. Catapa gave a presentation on the impact of the ICT supply chain. Saartje Boutsen (MVO Vlaanderen) taught us how we can create support within an organisation around sustainability. 22 organisations signed present👏! Towards a fair and circular ICT procurement policy in Flanders!

 

 

 

 

 

And the new season comes with new Catapistas. Our EVS volunteers Nóra and Laura sadly have to say goodbye to the office team😢. But it won’t be easy to get rid of them since as you all know, once Catapista forever Catapista. And these Catapistas are taking many good memories from this experience with them.

Let’s hope the new ESC volunteers can gather memories as least as good during their time at the office and in the movement. Martina and Daniela arrived a couple of weeks ago and can’t wait to see what this experience will bring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With our brand new office team we will finish this first CATAPA in de kijker edition. We hope you enjoyed this innovative way of communicating our updates. Thank you for reading and ¡hasta la próxima!

The Summer Camp Weekend 2019

The Summer Camp Weekend 2019

In the first weekend of September, we gathered together for our traditional Summer Camp weekend with a lot of our Catapistas to discuss about our organization and to spend a great time together! Despite the rain, we camped in tents outdoors, we managed a great BBQ and we even finished Saturday night with a lesson on Irish traditional dancing.

We started Friday evening with a very interesting presentation about a research on the ICT supply chain of metals from Bolivia. The research was conducted by Catapistas Alberto and Silke, who travelled to Bolivia to find, first-hand, the ICT supply chain of metals starting from the origins: the mines. They shared some of their discoveries and experiences with us and they are working on a report about it.

Saturday was full of great activities. We started the morning with a traditional indigenous ritual! The ritual was shown to Charlotte during the “Intercambio” in Iquitos, Peru, where everyone could share what they are thankful for and try a traditional drink called “Masato”. Charlotte was able to make us feel part of this event through this great ritual. After this great exercise, she was very happy to share with the rest about the experience in Peru. During the “Intercambio”, two representatives of each of our partner organizations in Latin America, together with Charlotte and our GECOs, met in Peru to exchange their experiences and the realities about mining in their countries.

After a great lunch outdoors (because we were lucky to get some sunshine!) we all sat together for another brainstorm about the future of CATAPA as a socio-cultural organization. We discussed about the Mission and Vision and other future activities. This proposal is getting ready to be presented towards the end of the year.

To end the day we had time to relax with a great BBQ which ended with an improvised Irish dance class from Catapista Emily!

On Sunday, after a very nice breakfast, we started with a great presentation about one of our projects, Fair ICT Flanders. We discussed about the following action and activities that our Catapistas can support within this project.

To finish up, we had a workshop about volunteer management. Since CATAPA is a volunteer organization, we discussed the different roles volunteers have, how to support them, how to get more volunteers and how to keep them motivated and engaged as a Catapista.  We had a brainstorm exercise about improvements and new initiatives that we could bring to our organization. This session will be continued during future events since for us it is very important to gather quality input from our volunteers to keep improving the management of the very essence of CATAPA!

The Summer Camp weekend ended with a lunch all together and a lot of ideas and thoughts for the next meetings. For sure we are all waiting for the next gathering… the Changemakers Weekend!!

ESC Volunteer Vacancies – Become a Changemaker on Fair ICT

ESC Volunteer Vacancies

Changemaker Fair ICT

Campaigning and Education

Communication

CATAPA

CATAPA is a volunteer movement which strives for a world in which the extraction of non-renewable resources is no longer necessary. The extraction of such materials always entails major social and environmental impacts and fuels conflict. In working towards global social and environmental justice, we focus on mining issues (ecological disasters, human rights violations, etc.) in Latin America, where we support local communities in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia who are threatened by large-scale mining projects.

Our main activities are:

  • Internationalisation of the struggle of our partners in Latin-America and capacity building
  • Awareness raising on the impact of metal consumption amongst Belgian population
  • Creating a movement for sustainable consumption and production
  • Lobby and research

CATAPA is a grassroots movement, which means that we are mostly dependent on the work of our volunteers – the Catapistas. As a grassroots movement, we also work together with other grassroots movements in our partner countries.

 

Fair ICT

CATAPA is currently engaged in a European Union campaign called ‘Make ICT Fair’ together with 10 European partners. The goal of this project is to make the entire supply chain of ICT devices (smartphones, laptops, etc.) more sustainable. CATAPA focuses on the very first part of the global ICT supply chain: the extraction of metals and minerals. ICT devices contain a wide range of metals, which are extracted across the globe, causing harm to the environment and human rights.

We aim to achieve this goal through:

  • Awareness raising with the broader public
  • Advocacy towards public institutions for more sustainable ICT procurement
  • Supply chain research
  • Lobby activities for better legislation within the bigger consortium

In addition, the Fair ICT Flanders campaign wants companies, governments and higher education institutions in Flanders to take specific steps to develop a sustainable ICT purchasing and reuse policy. All this with a view to a more sustainable future and the improvement of the working and living conditions of affected communities in the extractivist and ICT production sector.

 

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for two ESC (European Solidarity Corps) volunteers to support the CATAPA movement, and in particular the campaigns about fair ICT. The volunteer will be trained to think critically and spread knowledge of these issues and to encourage other young people to become active EU citizens. The tasks are flexible depending on your learning goals and the needs of the organisation.

You will mainly be working in our office team (4 part-time staff + 2 ESC volunteers + variable number of interns) which supports the work of the movement. Since CATAPA is a volunteer movement, you will be working in close collaboration with motivated and enthusiastic volunteers.

Possible tasks

Campaigning and Education

  • Take part in our Changemakers programme
  • Organise awareness raising and training activities for a variety of target groups (training weekends, documentary screenings, workshops, info evenings, public actions…)
  • Develop educational tools and manuals
  • Help out with organising our International Speakers Tour: Open Min(e)d
  • Write, revise and proofread articles, educational tools and research reports
  • Participate actively in meetings of the Education working group
  • Possibility to do research linked to mining and/or the ICT supply chain
  • Some administrative tasks related to the daily functioning of our office with the possibility to get an insight in the management of a non-profit organisation
  • Contribute to the functioning of the movement
  • Possibility to develop and implement your own projects

Communication

  • Take part in our Changemakers programme
  • Write, review and proofread articles
  • Design promotional material such as flyers and posters
  • Assist in managing CATAPA’s social media channels (Facebook page, Instagram account and Twitter)
  • Assist in managing and keeping CATAPA’s website updated
  • Ensure CATAPA’s house style (layout) is up to date and implemented
  • Participate actively in meetings of the Communication working group
  • Create and lead communication and promotion strategies for events
  • Assist in the organisation of various activities: our International Speakers Tour ‘Open Min(e)d’, training weekends, public actions, info-evenings, documentary festival…
  • Some administrative tasks related to the daily functioning of our office with the possibility to get an insight in the management of a non-profit organisation
  • Contribute to the functioning of the movement
  • Possibility to develop and implement your own projects

Requirements

Campaigning and Education

Essential

  • Interest in learning about the social and environmental movement and mining issues
  • Good command of English
  • Independent, proactive worker
  • Motivated to work with volunteers
  • Take your own initiative
  • Good communication skills
  • Will to contribute to positive change in the world we live in
  • Team player with a flexible attitude and plenty of humour
  • Age: below 31 years

Desirable

  • Knowledge/experience on or interest to learn about:
    ○ Circular and degrowth economy, environmental movements and/or international development
    ○ Developing educational material (e.g. workshops)
    ○ Organizing events
    ○ Project management and volunteer management
    ○ Designing promotional material
  • Good knowledge of either Dutch or Spanish

Communication

Essential

  • Interest in learning about the social and environmental movement and mining issues
  • Good command of English
  • Independent, proactive worker
  • Motivated to work with volunteers
  • Take your own initiative
  • Good communication skills
  • Will to contribute to positive change in the world we live in
  • Team player with a flexible attitude and plenty of humour
  • Age: below 31 years

Desirable

  • Knowledge/experience on or interest to learn about:
    ○ Circular and degrowth economy, environmental movements and/or international development
    ○ Volunteer management
    ○ Communication strategies
    ○ Design and layouting
    ○ Managing social media and websites
  • Good knowledge of either Dutch or Spanish

What do we offer?

● A warm welcome in our movement with plenty of learning opportunities and new connections
● A young, motivated team of employees and volunteers
● A monthly fee of (at least) 707* Euros to cover accommodation and daily expenses
● One language course (Dutch, English or Spanish)

This call is part of the European Solidarity Corps. It’s a European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer in projects abroad. This means Belgian people can’t apply for this vacancy. Expenses of the volunteers are paid. Accommodation, food and daily expenses are covered by a fee of 707* EUR which you can use according to your own needs and wishes. One language course (Dutch, English or Spanish) is covered by CATAPA, as well as work-related transport.

 

Interested or more information?

Please send your CV and motivation letter to info@catapa.be before the 28th of July 2019. If you have any questions concerning this vacancy, don’t hesitate to email truike.geerts@catapa.be or call +32 477845729.

( *: depending on final project grants)

Mines & Territory, May 2019

MONTHLY ONLINE REVIEW ON EXTRACTIVIST ISSUES IN COLOMBIA

ISSUE 05
May 2019

Collection, summary and edition by Sam Packet, Karlijn Van den Broeck and Laura García

Download Mines & Territory, May 2019 here.

MINES & TERRITORY

May 2019

News comes and goes. With social media as the main outlet for civil society organizations in Colombia to get their stories heard, a story can be famous for a day after which it disappears in the mass information. Mines & Territory aims to register and share these stories for longer than just a viral thread. Mines & Territory collects the most remarkable events that have occurred in the past month regarding extractivist matters in Colombia and summarizes them in English ans Spanish so that the information is accessible to anyone interested and raises awareness internationally to the current eco-socio realities in Colombia.

Terrorist attack against Francia Márquez and other leaders of black communities in Northern Cauca

France Márquez Mina, social leader in the Cauca province and winner in 2018 of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, also called the environmental Nobel Prize, denounced on May 4th that strangers opened fire on her while she was accompanied by several colleagues preparing a meeting with the National government. Although she got out unharmed, two of her escorts got injured in the attack.

Recognized internationally for her tireless fight against the exploitation of gold in the area of the Ovejas River in the municipality of Suarez, Cauca, where she is originally from, Francia managed through a tutelage action in 2009 that the Constitutional Court removed the mining titles which were owned by the multinational AngloGold Ashanti. From that moment onwards she has been receiving all kinds of threats for which she was left with no other choice than leaving her territory in 2014.

The struggle for the preservation of the environment has led to an unequal dispute between the environmental groups of the country, which generate public spaces to visualize the environmental problems in mining zones, and groups outside of the law that control illegal exploitation and drug trafficking using violent methods of intimidation.

Two days after the attack, Victor Hugo Moreno, president of the Association of Community Councils of Northern Cauca, one of the people who were present on the same spot when they tried to assassinate Francia, received a message on his cell phone that accentuated once again the terror in the area. : “(…) this Saturday was only the beginning of what will happen to all of you; next time all members of this organization will die (…) and all those who closed the humanitarian path in the so-called ‘minga’, your time has come, niggers… (…) “.


Sources: PULZO ‘Colombia es el tercer país donde más se asesinan defensores del medio ambiente’; CONTAGIORADIO ‘Atentan contra lideresa Francia Márquez’.

 

Members of Cosajuca and the Comité Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida threatened again by Águilas Negras

On March 26th, 2017, the consulta popular took place in Cajamarca, Tolima, where 97% of the votes said NO to mining activities within the municipality. This decision halted the arrival of the mega mining project La Colosa, the open pit gold mine that was supposed to be the largest one in Latin America. As a result of  this popular referendum, the social and environmental leaders who promoted it suffered serious stigmatizations by local territorial entities, government sectors and companies with an interest in the territory, stigmatizations that are becoming stronger and put defenders at risk.

On May 14th some members of organizations such as Cosajuca, the Comité Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida and Conciencia Campesina received an email with a message that more or less announced that the time had come to “clean the country from all those who claim themselves as environmentalists and defenders of Cajamarca but who actually only impede its development and take refuge in NGOs to fill their pockets. ” The shippers of the threat were identified as ‘Águilas Negras Tolima’.

The members of Cosajuca and the Environmental Committee, two allied organizations of Catapa in Colombia, denounced the threats and expressed that the message evidences a clear relationship between political and business interests on the one hand, and the armed groups behind the threats on the other hand. Apart from demanding respect for the autonomy of the territories, they also express that the authorities must provide all the necessary guarantees that allow the integrity of all members of the affected social and environmental organizations and their families.


Source: FACEBOOK COSAJUCA’/photos/a.319407811806631/689982171415858/’; TWITTER ‘/CSPP_/status/1131597211966562310?s=19’.

 

Another law proposal by the Duque administration aims at making it easier for mining companies to access natural resources

Next July, the Duque administration intends to present a law that would regulate the Coordination and Concurrence procedure, which has mainly been built by the mining sector itself. This occurs after the Constitutional Court granted multinationals an easier access to the exploitation of natural resources in the subsoil and after it took away the veto power of consultas populares over these projects.

Juan Camilo Nariño, CEO of the Colombian Mining Association (ACM), suggested that the country has made progress in jurisprudential matters, which will give more certainty to the mining sector. “This precision and clarity generates greater investment and tranquility to the extractive industry and its investors. The decisions issued by the Constitutional Court between December and January make it clear that the territorial entities cannot prohibit mining through the mechanisms of citizen participation anymore, as they did before with popular referenda or municipal agreements. ”

Likewise, he claimed that the National Development Plan (PND for its Spanish acronym) will allow to consolidate small and medium mining in the country through a process of formalization, and that he’s feeling strong about the reforms of the General System of Royalties (SGR for its Spanish acronym).

The CEO clarifies: “It is fundamental for this sector to modify the current SGR since it will end up benefiting several fronts. Firstly, it balances local public discussions. Secondly, it makes the inhabitants of the mining municipalities feel the economic benefit thanks to the development of the extractive industries which operate in their territories. And thirdly, it simplifies a system with complex laws which are not allowing municipalities to access their resources easily. ”

Piedad Córdoba Ruiz, in her column in ‘Las2Orillas’, expressed her frustration over the proposed law which, according to her, only seeks to favor the extractive and multinational companies that are polluting the environment: “The Court gave free access to the resources of the subsoil, the popular referenda lost their veto power and now they come up with this new regulatory law of Coordination and Concurrence which goes hand in hand with the mining sector. It literally feels like we’re living in a mining dictatorship governed by multinationals.”


Sources: LAS2ORILLAS ‘El medio ambiente minado’; PORTAFOLIO: ‘Alistan ley que espanta el fantasma de las consultas populares mineras’.

 

What the march for the Páramo of Santurbán in the province of Santander revealed

On Sunday, May 10th, tens of thousands of people marched in Bucaramanga for the protection of the páramo of Santurbán and against the project of the mining company Minesa. Minesa plans to extract over nine million ounces of gold in the next 25 years in the vicinity of this fragile ecosystem which supplies water for about 2 million inhabitants.

The mobilization coincided with the re-delimitation of the páramo that the Ministry of Environment was applying by order of the Constitutional Court, and with the application of the environmental license that the mining company is seeking for, which would give the project a green light.

The march took place two weeks after videos got leaked from one of the private meetings of the mining company, in which its president Santiago Urdinola made it clear that relations with the community inside and outside of the area are not within their priorities. (For more information, read M&T April)

The dispute over mining in the páramo of Santurbán has now been going on for almost a decade. In 2011, the first demonstrations took place. One of the main questions in the preview of this march addressed the question whether it would be able to match the march of 2017 which mobilized around 50 thousand people. While there are no precise figures of how many people marched on the streets, the calculations point out that the number of people who attended was several thousand more than a year and a half ago.

La Silla Vacía, a regional newspaper, reviewed in detail the 2,800 pages that comprise the structural chapters of the study which proposes the exploitation of the large-scale underground mine for 25 years. They summarized it in seven key factors and impacts that Minesa will leave behind in the páramo of Santurbán:

  1. In some points, the area of ​​influence of the project is only 20 meters below the current páramo frontier.
  2. The mine will work 24/7 for 25 years.
  3. It will most probably get rid of its pollutants on a stream that supplies the aqueduct of Bucaramanga.
  4. It will decrease flows in the basin of one of the rivers which provides water to the aqueduct.
  5. Heavy traffic will take over public roads and it is not clear if Minesa is willing to share the roads that would be built.
  6. The ground where the project will be built has actually no mining vocation.
  7. They must remove vegetation that as of now is forbidden to cut down.

Sources: LA SILLA VACIA ‘Siete impactos claves Minesa vecindad Santurbán’; LA SILLA VACIA ‘Lo reveló la marcha de Santurbán’; EL ESPECTADOR ‘Una nutrida marcha contra la minería en Santurbán’.

 

Yopal (province of Casanare) approves the prohibition of fracking in its municipality

With 11 positive votes, the Municipal Council of Yopal approved project 08 of 2019, “by means of which measures for the defense of the ecological and environmental heritage of the municipality of Yopal and other provisions are dictated.” It seeks to prohibit the exploitation of oil through fracking and is the first initiative of its kind that is presented in Colombia.

Nonetheless, the initiators clarified that this draft agreement does not intend to exclude Yopal from oil exploitation, but only seeks to prevent this fracking method that has been questioned a lot from being used in the municipality.

Many voices have risen in support of the initiative. As popular referenda have lost their strength, now the only expression of autonomy is left to the regions and municipalities. This expression of autonomy is needed in order to influence the development of their territory, against the increasingly voracious intervention of the national government, which takes away more and more independence in the management of their resources.

For more information, read our article on fracking in Colombia in the M&T April edition: ‘Comptroller warns that Colombia is not ready to fracking’


Fuentes: VIOLETA STEREO ‘Concejo de Yopal cierra el paso al fracking en el municipio’; CASANARE NOTICIAS ‘Aprueban prohibición del fracking en Yopal’.

 

New legal setback for AngloGold in Tolima

A judge in Ibagué filed the criminal proceeding against the director of Cortolima, Jorge Enrique Cardoso, and the head of the juridical office of that same entity, José Francisco Montufar, who had been denounced by the mining multinational Anglogold Ashanti for embezzlement of legal actions.

As stated by the investigating body, the two officials did not commit any crime when requesting, on March 11th 2013, the preventive suspension of the work that AngloGold Ashanti was carrying out in the village of Doima, municipality of Piedras. The Court archived the Prosecutor’s request because it did not find enough evidence to accuse the officials.

The mining company had requested an authorization to carry out hydrogeological works in order to prepare for the construction of an infrastructure related to the La Colosa project in Cajamarca, an application that was endorsed by Cortolima. However, the CEO of Cortolima explained that the multinational “cheated” on the corporation permit since it was only assigned to do a soil survey, while AngloGold was also executing totally different activities.

Cortolima received several complaints from the community about the machinery that had reached the municipality of Piedras and about the work they were doing. “We went to visit the place and saw that they had taken advantage of the forest, had adapted the Camao stream, they had installed machinery that is typically used for drilling groundwater exploitation, activities different from those they had communicated,” Cardoso said.


Source: EL OLFATO ‘Nuevo revés jurídico para AngloGold en el Tolima’.

 

Update Jericó: tension grows about large-scale mining in Jericó, Antioquia

Due to protests of the community, mining exploration procedure in Jericó is postponed

The mining company Quebradona, owned by the South African multinational AngloGold Ashanti, intended to install on May 13th a drilling platform to perform soil and geotechnical studies in order to develop its copper mine in the neighborhood  of Vallecitos-Palo Cabildo, belonging to the municipality of Jericó, in the southwest of the province Antioquia. The employees arrived accompanied by the police, the army and the Esmad (special forces).

People from the community, leaders of the municipal administration and leaders of environmental groups were present in the area to oppose the drilling of the mountain. Several dozens of peasants also arrived to confront what they considered an attack on their sovereignty, arguing that the company was committing a violation of the 10th municipal agreement of 2018, which establishes the prohibition of metallic mining activities in the municipality.

To avoid a confrontation of large proportions, mayor Jorge Pérez arrived at the site and spoke with the people in charge of the Quebradona mine so that they wouldn’t violate the orders given by the Municipal Council. This recommendation was finally accepted after more than three hours of discussion, consigning that the mining company should not continue its activities until the Court takes a final decision about the validity of the municipal agreement.

Mayor Jorge Pérez: “Duque has to review the true potential of the country.”

“The attitude of the mining multinational is regrettable, because they know very well that the agreement is still valid as we have not known any ruling of the Administrative Court of Antioquia yet. They did somehow invade the village with the Esmad, the police and the army. That’s not the way. These people are peasants, not criminals, ” argued the mayor.

Perez: “It is not easy because we find ourselves in notorious inferiority in this power struggle. We are a sixth category municipality where most of the citizens are against the mining plans. Above us, we’re facing the will of the mining secretariat of Antioquia which promotes mining, the ministry of mining, the National Mining Agency, etc. President Duque is deadly wrong when he says that the country’s only economic outlet is the exploitation of resources. He should better spend his time reviewing the true potential of the country. Take a look at the enormous potential for food production, biodiversity and tourism.
Jericó is currently standing in a legal framework, we rely on our 010 municipal agreement; we hope that if one day all these legal forms of opposition are exhausted, all Colombians will rise up to protect their territories.”

Meanwhile, it’s known that in the coming month AGA will apply for its environmental license to step up the project, which increases the tense mood of the inhabitants as most of them refuse any kind of drilling in their territory.

Former President Álvaro Uribe against the project

The upcoming months are uncertain, because there a lot of different interest which have been moving local politics. The southwest of Antioquia is one of the spoils of the Democratic Center, a party that has never lost any election in the area and where President Iván Duque swept its campaign. And as if that wasn’t enough, this is the region were former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez was born.

Right in the middle of this dispute, President Uribe tweeted on April 7th a 13-minute video in which he explains why, according to his vision, mining should not take place in Jericó. Uribe used among others the following words: “Jericó y Suroeste, preserve and promote green projects, no to mining.” Quite a surprise for his followers, because it was the Uribe government that granted the largest amount of mining licenses in the history of Colombia.

Judge of Medellin supports municipal agreement

A judge in Medellín considered that he could not implement any precautionary measures to suspend the administrative act of the municipal council – which established a prohibition on mining in defense of the ecological and cultural heritage of the municipality of Jericó – as requested by the company AngloGold.

The judge reminded judicial decisions in which “the constitutional possibility held by the Municipal Councils to dictate the necessary rules for the control, preservation and defense of the ecological and cultural heritage of the municipality” have been confirmed.


Sources: SEMANA ‘Crece la tensión por minería a gran escala en Jericó, Antioquia’, CONTAGIORADIO ‘AngloGold Ashanti desconoce el acuerdo municipal que prohibe la minería’; EL COLOMBIANO ‘Exploración minera en Jericó se posterga’; EL TIEMPO ‘Choque entre Comfama y Anglo Gold Ashanti por mina en Jericó; LA REPÚBLICA ‘Anglo Gold pierde otra batalla en el proyecto minero de Quebradona’.