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Legal tools for citizen empowerment: Increasing local participation and benefit in Mali’s mining sector

Mali’s mining sector has grown greatly since the early 1990s, and is now the second largest source of export income. But while the state receives significant revenues, at the local level mining operations have been associated with loss of land rights and environmental pollution. This study identifies legal tools that can be used by local people to better secure their land rights and to participate more effectively in investment decisions and benefits. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of these tools, and the opportunities and constraints associated with them. It also considers ways to increase their effectiveness, and identifies next steps for policy engagement and capacity building work.

In some areas this pressure is exacerbated by increased investment in the mining sector, which adds another dimension to the issue - greater need for local participation in decision-making processes, transparency in negotiating contracts, proper compensation and a share of the profits generated by the extractive industry. Legal tools that can be used by local communities take on a particular relevance in these areas.

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Around the world, citizens' groups are taking action to change the way investments in natural resources are happening, to protect the rights of citizens and the environment for a fairer and more sustainable world. The Legal Tools for Citizen Empowerment initiative shares tools and tactics among practitioners.

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