Three speakers tours were organized. Two speakers from Colombia and one speaker from El Salvador came to Europe to bring first hand reports of the negative consequences of mining in their countries to European people.
Maria Mendez Baboza in Italy, France and Sweden
Maira Mendez Barboza, the daughter of a former Drummond trade unionist from Colombia and representative of the victims of paramilitary violence in Cesàr was invited to Italy, France and Sweden by Re:Common
In May 2016 Maira came to Rome, Italy, to report on several occasions on the negative effects of coal mining in Colombia, presenting the case of Drummond, an american coal producing company accused of having contributed to the empowerment of paramilitary groups in Colombia.
In Italy Maira met with the Peace and Justice Commission of the Vatican, and with relevant public institutions such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (general Directorate for Mondialisation), with several Parliament Members of the Commission for Productive Activities and for the Environment Commission, held tens of national wide media interviews, and took part to two highly participated public events, in Rome and Savona. As a follow up to the tour in Italy, Re:Common organised a coordinated participation to the italian energy company ENEL, who still imports coal from Drummond, together with the Cultural Foundation of the Ethical Bank, and the Dutch organisation Pax. The main outcome was that ENEL publicly committed to organise an independent fact finding mission to Colombia to assessed alleged human right violation, and to take into consideration divestment, if alleged violation are verified on the ground.
In France, through the coordination with the project’s partner AITEC, meetings were facilitated with other CSOs such as Les Amis de la Terre, targeting the electricity company EDF, and with relevant journalists.
In Sweden ForumSyd participated to strategy meetings with other CSOs and to the speaker’s seminar in the Parliament. Maira participated also to a meeting with the sweedish company Vattenfall.
The report and speaker tour had a significant waterfall effects due to the close coordination with other european wide ongoing campaigns such as Stop Blood-coal campaign: the energy companies in Europe increasingly started realizing that their practices involve significant reputational risk, and every company’s action and choices can now have an effect on other companies.
Samuel Arregoces and Danilo Urrea in UK and Sweden
The London Mining Network (LMN) hosted a UK tour of coal-affected communities from Colombia who attended the BHP Billiton AGM. The two guests Samuel Arregoces of the local organisation FECONADEMIGUA and Danilo Urea of Friends of the Earth Colombia came to a number of events in England and Scotland. The tour was a success in terms of impact and potential future support – various reports were written, including an article in Scottish Sunday Herald. BHP Billiton was directly addressed on the issue, and responded on the issues raised, as well as with concerned investors.
There is a report on the 22 October 2015 London AGM of BHP Billiton plc by Richard Solly, Co-ordinator, London Mining Network “The Two Degrees: yet another BHP Billiton AGM”READ REPORT READ ANNOUNCEMENT
There is a further report by fossil free University College London “UCL hosts activists from communities severely affected by the operations of the companies it invests in”READ REPORT
In Sweden the tour was focusing on effects of coal mining in Colombia during seminars, and ForumSyd organized meetings with Vattenfall, Parliamentarians in the pension group, the public pension funds and carried out media work.
ForumSyd produced a video following the tour in Sweden.
The guest had meetings with the company Vattenfall, Parliamentarians in the pension group, the public pension funds and a seminar organize by ForumSyd. At the end of the tour, Samuel Arregoces and Danilo Urea were visiting other CSOs in Germany and flew back from here to Colombia.
Bernardo Belloso in Germany, Slovakia and Romania
In September 2015 Bernardo Belloso came to Münster, Germany, to report on several occasions on the negative effects of gold mining in El Salvador, presenting the case of Oceana Gold, a Canadian company from Canada taking El Salvador to court, as well as highlighting social movements in the country fighting back on the exploitation of their land.
Within this visit CIR, PowerShift and another CSO FDCL organised a lobby meeting at the Latin American discussion group of the social democrat governmental party in Berlin. This meeting was successfully sensitizing political decision makers on hearing issues directly through a voice of the global south.
After that Bernardo Belloso and colleagues from CIR travelled to Slovakia to participate in the international conference in Bratislava. Bernardo spoke about the negative consequences of mining in his country and was able to exchange experiences directly with cases from Romania, Slovakia and Kyrgyz Republic.
The speakers tour ended in Romania, in Cluj Napoca and Bucharest, with activities organized by MiningWatch Romania (CIDRM). Bernardo Belloso participated in eight events that ranged from public presentations, to radio talk-shows and press conferences. He also went on a field trip to Roşia Montană and met Eugen David, the president of the local association, Alburnus Maior.
During the speakers tour, Bernardo Belloso raised awareness on mining impacts in El Salvador as well as the interdependencies between the mineral extraction in the South and one’s consumption in the North.WATCH VIDEO