The Mano River Union Civil Society Natural Resource Rights and Governance Platform (MRU-CSO Platform) is a network of environmental and human rights defenders; indigenous, urban slums and squatter communities; communities affected by the operations of multinational corporations; and bloggers, labor unions and poor informal entrepreneurs on the frontline of corporate investments in West Africa.
It was conceived in September 2012 at a meeting of civil society activists in Monrovia, organized by Green Advocates International (Liberia), to research and publish natural resource rights and governance profiles of countries in the Mano River Union (MRU) basin. Participants agreed in a communique to use the findings to design advocacy campaigns to ensure that land and natural resource laws and regulations are people friendly and that governments and corporations in the region will be held accountable to their obligations to protect, respect and fulfill rights.
The network has now grown beyond the four countries that are members of the Mano River Union (i.e. Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire) to include five other countries across West Africa (Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Niger).
Among other things, the MRU CSO Platform is committed to strengthening collaboration around corporate and governmental accountability, undertaking solidarity actions and sharing experiences on how community dwellers and their livelihoods are being affected by government’s infrastructure development and foreign direct investment involving large-scale mining, oil and gas, forestry and agricultural companies and their host and home governments.
Our advocacy is around Land and Environmental Rights, Forestry, Oil & Gas, Natural Resources, Mining, Grassroot Defenders, Women’s Rights and Livelihood issues.
The Secretariat runs the day-to-day affairs and activities of the Platform from Monrovia, with Green Advocates International – Liberia, an affiliate, serving as host and facilitator. The Secretariat is headed by a coordinator, and a communication and program assistant.
The Steering Committee (SC) is the overall coordinating body of the Platform. It provides oversight on all the structures and organs of the Platform and shall be supported by other disaggregated layers of coordination to include: the REGIONAL, NATIONAL and COMMUNITY Levels membership.
The Chairman of five-man SC is Dr. Michel Koffi Yoboue, Extractive Industries Research and Advocacy Group (GRPIE) of Côte d’Ivoire.
Other members of the Committee are:
- Abu Brima, Executive Director of Network Movement of Justice and Development (NMJD), Sierra Leone
- Barrister Chima Williams, Acting Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria
- Augustine Niber, Executive Director of the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), Ghana
- Alfred Brownell, Lead Campaigner, Green Advocates International, Liberia