The Goud:eerlijk-campagne (honest gold campaign) is an initiative from CATAPA, Ecolife and the Conscious Consumption Network. This partnership has taken on a leading roll in showing the growing problems caused by (gold)mines. We try to raise awareness for the (lack of) responsibility the North has concerning the problems in the South. The Goud:Eerlijk (honest gold) campaign aims to raise awareness about the circumstances surrounding gold mines in the global south and consumer responsibility. We wish to become a reference poin in- and outside of the Belgian borders as far as it concerns these issues.
This campaign’s main focus is gold, however gold is only one example of the many precious metals and minerals which attract destructive mining methods.
We want to search for constructive, peaceful alternatives and solutions for these problems, with a focus on the protection of ecosystems and the rights and uniqueness of local communities in the South, that often fall victim to intrusive (multi)national mining companies establishing themselves in their regions. Unsurprisingly, this has often led to conflict in the past. The power gap surrounding such conflicts usually get in the way of open dialogue, democracy, sovereignty and the search for peaceful solutions. In the North we influence supply of and demand for gold. Therefore, to great extent we, the consumer, are causing depletion of natural resources in other parts of the world. Gold is used in various forms such as jewellery, industrial applications, and as investment. We must act in Belgium as well. Thanks to the grant obtained from VAIS (Flemish Development Cooperation) requesting a project in development education 2011, we have the possibility to develop the Goud:eerlijk campaign and to undertake essential action against unnecessary and irresponsible use and mining of gold.
CATAPA is a young volunteer movement from Belgium. CATAPA stands for the Comité Académico Técnico de Asesoramiento a Problemas Ambientales, literally the Academic Technical Committee for Environmental Assistance. CATAPA addresses issues concerning other-globalization possibilities and sustainable development in Latin America, focusing on mining. They specifically support farming communities threatened by mining multinationals in partner countries Peru, Honduras, Guatemala and Bolivia. At present a campaign is running that focuses on Peru called “Mining in Paradise”. Red Muqui, nationally, and CATAPA, internationally, launched Frente de Desarrollo Sostenible dela Norte del Peru (FDSFNP, the Front for Sustainable Development of the Northern Border of Peru); a campaign to support the request by the communities and social organizations in Huancabamba, Ayabaca, San Ignacio and Jaen to maintain the ‘no-go zones for mining’.
The people of these regions feel threatened by the copper mining project “Río Blanco” of Monterrico Metals, a British mining company owned by the Chinese company Zijin.
The threat is not limited to that area. 25 percent of the territory in the four provinces may already be franchised to other mining projects, which could result in an actual mining district.
The inhabitants of these areas, organized under the front mentioned earlier, are defending their local economies, the environment and their fundamental rights.
Conscious Consumption Network
The Conscious Consumption Network is an information, project and campaign network, trying to encourage environmentally and socially conscious consumption in Flanders. It was started by a large number of consumer, environmental, and third world organizations in mid-1998 to respond to the increasing interest in sustainable consumption.
The affiliated organizations consent to the text stating the views of the network, which stresses the consumers have to change the way our society works by their power over markets.
One of the network’s initiatives has been the “Blije Bloemen Campagne” (Happy Flowers Campaign), striving to make consumers more conscious about how flowers may be harmful to human rights and the environment.
The “Blije Bloemen Campagne” presses that all workers in the flower industry should be treated respectfully regardless of their nationality and also fights for responsible use of pesticides.
Ecolife is an independent non-profit organization that has been the successor of GAP Flanders since September 2002.
Since then Ecolife has been striving for a change in ecological behaviour with various target groups, through different projects, campaigns and workshops.
EcoTeam for households has been a successful frontrunner. Soon after, campaign models followed regarding the ecological footprint, such as Saving Hectares and The Bet, Ecoteams at Work, House at Stake, Kyoto Clubs, Green Feet, Ecodriving workshops, teaching materials for various associations, the Ecological Footprint, Ecospanning … There was a strong emphasis on reducing the ecological impact of the participants and customers. The expertise in measuring the ecological impact has become highly developed using indicators such as the ecological footprint, the CO2-calculator and water footprint. For this, Ecolife cooperates with other international networks such as the Global Footprint Network and the Water Footprint Network. Ecolife informs people about the benefits of ecological living and makes them eager to contribute to a sustainable world. Ecolife is constantly developing new projects and models to reach as many people as possible.