sharing in governance of extractive industries

Artisanal and Small-scale Mining and Sustainable Land Use Management in and around Protected and Sensitive Ecosystems Project (ASM-PSEP)

Artisanal and Small-scale Mining and Sustainable Land Use Management in and around Protected and Sensitive Ecosystems Project (ASM-PSEP)

WWF and Estelle Levin Limited announce grants from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation and World Bank’s Program on Forests (PROFOR) to launch a new programme to address the impacts of artisanal mining in, on and around protected areas and sensitive ecosystems.

Global programme seeks practitioner partners and additional co-funders for field-based pilot programs to achieve conservation victories in the world’s last tropical forests and most important biodiversity hot-spots.

For immediate release
13 May 2011
Programme Contacts:  Estelle Levin, Director, Estelle Levin Limited (UK)
Technical Director, ASM-PSEP
(e) estelle@estellelevin.com

Kirsten Hund, Regional Advisor on Extractive Industries
WWF Central Africa Regional Programme Office (WWF-CARPO)
WWF Programme Coordinator, ASM-PSEP
 (e) khund@wwfcarpo.org


Libreville and Washington D.C.— WWF CARPO and WWF-US are pleased to announce the launching of a new project to address the impacts of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in and around the world’s protected areas. Partnering with consulting firm Estelle Levin, Ltd. and with generous seed funding from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation and the World Bank’s Program on Forests (PROFOR), the project seeks the input of interested communities and practitioners with experience of living with or managing ASM in protected areas and sensitive ecosystems, as well as interested co-funders who want to study the issue and contribute to sustainable solutions to protect key conservation victories.


Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is an important and increasingly popular livelihood for tens of millions of people around the world. Yet, while it brings in needed income for mining communities, ASM is also a serious and growing threat to biodiversity and the integrity of protected areas due to the mining and livelihood practices that support mining populations. In places from Madagascar to Indonesia to Suriname, miners are destroying fragile ecosystems in pursuit of gold, gemstones, and other minerals. Despite evidence that ASM will be a growing problem worldwide and is a key threat to conservation of key ecosystems, there has been no coordinated effort thus far to stem the impact of ASM in and around protected areas and sensitive ecosystems.

Working in collaboration with local WWF offices, strategic partners (e.g. Flora and Fauna International in Liberia) and experienced practitioners, WWF-CARPO and Estelle Levin, Ltd will:

    1. Conduct an in-depth global assessment of ASM with the goal of identifying effective, workable solutions and ‘hot-spots’ for intervention;
    2. Organize a global convening of interested stakeholders, and conservation and development experts to contribute to tackling the problem;
    3. Conduct protected area and country specific case studies on the issue; and
    4. Test potential solutions in partnership with miners and local communities using participatory methods.


The programme’s participatory and rights-based approach, in the spirit of achieving sustainable development, seeks to find ways to allow people to benefit from their resources without undermining the resiliency of the ecosystem. This requires a detailed examination of the constraints and opportunities posed by particular governance structures and contexts for effective solutions for prevention and mitigation of ecological and human health. Case studies are currently planned in Gabon, Liberia, DRC and potentially Suriname and Indonesia (funding contingent). Additional study sites can be considered where there is a clear case for analysis and/or intervention.

The key programme objectives are as follows:

    1. Characterize the short- and long-term environmental impacts of artisanal mining on protected areas and sensitive ecosystems, focusing on ASM’s impact on vulnerable groups and using participatory, rights-based approaches in problem-analysis and implementation.
    2. Identify potential solutions and alternative approaches through assessment of past efforts to address current issues with ASM.
    3. Develop a platform for constructive dialogue between a community of committed stakeholders and professionals to aid inter- and intra-country learning and facilitate win-win solutions for ecological impact mitigation and socio-economic development.
    4. Produce concrete improvements in sensitive ecosystems in a number of countries through sustainable solutions that reduce the ecological and social damage (including on human health) caused by ASM, while building on its economic, social, and empowerment potential.


The programme will identify practical recommendations for improving governance through national and regional policy reform and institutional strengthening and make a resource base publicly available for others to use, including practical tools (e.g., environmental, social, and gender impact tools) and knowledge products. The programme will also develop a community of interested stakeholders to share knowledge and create synergies for tackling this issue.

“The impact of this project is potentially global in scope. If the project is successful in promoting sustainable development and achieving measurable conservation outcomes, its lessons can be applied within international conservation organizations, such as WWF and its Liberia programme partner Flora and Fauna International (FFI), and a global community of practitioners who can replicate the programme in mining-impacted and threatened ecosystems worldwide,” said Kirsten Hund, WWF programme coordinator for the project. 


WWF and Estelle Levin Limited would like to hear from stakeholders interested in or impacted directly or indirectly by ASM in / around protected and sensitive ecosystems, such as:

    1. Affected communities
    2. NGOs, government agencies and development / conservation organisations working to address this issue
    3. Supply chain operators (miners, buyers, importers, jewellers) operating in or sourcing from ASM in and around protected and sensitive ecosystems
    4. Interested development and conservation professionals, academics and students who have either worked on the issue, or would be keen to do so
    5. Any party who has information on ASM in / around protected and sensitive ecosystems, to aid our global directory and mapping of affected areas.


Further information is available here (http://www.fairjewelry.org/pdfs/WWF-ASM-PSEP-Mar2011-LR2.pdf).

For more information or to share lessons learned and information on current and potential case studies, please contact Estelle Levin at estelle@estellelevin.com. For potential funding partnerships, please contact Kirsten Hund at khund@wwfcarpo.org.


WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. WWF CARPO, headquartered in Cameroon, is WWF’s regional office for the Congo Basin and is the largest programme office of WWF International. WWF Carpo’s Vision is that the unique landscapes and natural resources of the Green Heart of Africa are managed sustainably so that biodiversity is conserved, ecosystem function well, global climate is stabilised and sustainable development secures the livelihoods of the people of central Africa.  We work with local communities, business and governments to conserve biodiversity and reduce humanity’s footprint.

Estelle Levin Limited is a boutique consultancy specialising in natural resources governance and supply chain sustainability. Much of its work is in the extractive sector in Africa on behalf of clients like development agencies, NGOs, mining companies, consultancies, and end-users like jewellers. Working with core staff or by bringing in the relevant expertise, we help organisations ensure that their natural resources deliver development, empowerment and ecological protection, while realising people’s commercial and economic ambitions.  Estelle Levin Limited has varied experience in conservation, development and ASM, and is accustomed to incorporating gender considerations and rights-based methods into its approach. Development through sustainability and sustainability through development.

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