CATAPA is a critical movement of active citizens. Across borders, we fight in an horizontal way for a world where exploitation of non-sustainable resources won’t be any longer needed. We engage for a transition towards a model that guarantees socio-ecological and economic justice. Catapa is a voluntary movement and is part of a global network of grassroots movements in which we bring different main actors in touch and foster mutual strengthening and support.
Through educational activities and campaigns we raise awareness of the issues linked to the metal industry. We encourage the public to adopt a critical use of products containing metal and to react towards all the forms of injustice that go along with open-pit mining. Through that, we aim to create a society living in a more conscious and reasonable manner, and therefore consuming less resources. We organize workshops and lectures in Brussels and Flanders, directed towards high school students and (young) adults. In addition to a broad range of events, we also organize yearly educational activities such as our Open Min(e)d week. On those occasions we invite guest lecturers from our partner organizations to give speeches during one week in universities and academies, and to share their stories during specific events. Another important yearly event is our documentary festival – Doculatino – that takes place in different Flemish cities as well as in Brussels. Eventually, through the Changemakers programme, we offer Catapistas a training during which they can acquire useful skills that would allow them to become inspiring changemakers and take concrete actions to bring positive change in the world.
Trough research we look for alternative consumption and production models. We work on this in cooperation with academies and universities (for instance, through support with thesis). Together with our partners from Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia we search for solutions concerning the pollution caused by mining and we map the impacts of exploitation sites. As an example we are running a project – in cooperation with the organization GRUFIDES as well as with local communities from Cajamarca in Peru – to test the quality of water in the areas where mining sites are present and verify it is drinkable. In Bolivia we are working in cooperation with CEPA and CORIDUP to install rainwater recollection devices. This latter project is motivated by the fact that the groundwater in the region has been seriously contaminated as a consequence of decades of mining activities. These are only a few of our running projects in Latin America (see cases). Catapa only takes action upon request and in cooperation with local communities. In Europe we also look for alternatives. The NEMO project for example aims at introducing a new ecofriendly technology for the recycling of metals from mining waste. In this project CATAPA will represent the perspective of the local communities on the introduction of the new technologies towards other project partners.
Our awareness and research-related projects are momentarily organized under the Make ICT Fair campaign, on which we work with other 10 European partners. The objective of this three-year long campaign is to reach a more sustainable system where human rights and the environment are respected throughout the whole ICT supply chain, from the extraction of the metals to the assemblage and consumption of the final products.
We also try to raise awareness among key actors of the metal circuit – production companies but also important customers and public buyers, such as government institutions and schools – regarding the different issues existing. Doing so, we aim to work together on potential solutions. For the next few years, we plan to put our attention on public procurement through the project Fair ICT Flanders. The objective is to encourage both government institutions and companies to choose for sustainable and fair ICT products, and therefore, to have a positive impact upon the offer of fair and sustainable alternatives. This latter project is part of a great deal of the CATAPA lobbying action, through which we strive to convince local, national and European authorities to support more sustainable alternatives. With this objective in mind, we organized for example in January 2018 a conference within the European Parliament called “Women, gender equality and climate justice: a case for the defensoras“, with the aim to show the necessity of addressing issues linked with women rights within the extractive industry.