1) M. Aly Marie SAGNE, you represent the organization “Lumière Synergie pour le Développement”, which brings together a group of researchers and human rights activists who have forged their experience in the governance of the Extractive Industries in Senegal, Africa and America, and who have decided to share their experiences to advocate for good governance in the international financial institutions and in the management of public affairs.
Your selfdenial is very visible on the ground and in view of the media outings, why such determination?
Business plays key role in the field of development in terms of bringing investments that Africa need, which create job and wealth. But in doing so, they often fail to comply with their comments vis-a-vis of the environment and people's rights. In addition, because of weak governance policies, developing countries has little power to hold business to account. So this is why as civil society actors, we should stand like watchdog and engage with business, including International Financial Institutions to ensure they operate environment and human right's friendly.
2)A coal-fired power plant was built in the small village of Sendou in the village of Bargny, Senegal; according to some indiscretion, it endangers the lives of communities living around the project. For many years, Senegalese organizations such as Lumière Synergy pour le Développement (LSD) and many others have tried to block the project by showing its impact on communities and particularly its harmful effects on women fishing in the surrounding area. In more detail, what are the risks for these communities?
First of all, Sendou is built on a 29 ha of lands which have been allocated to local community facing coastal erosion as climate change's resilience. About 1000 women that rely on drying fish to feed their families are threatening to lost their workplace located in project site. I'm the environment side, the plant will burn 400 000 tonnes of coal per years with exceptional heath impacts on the communities and water cooling system would kill marine ecosystems and local fisheries. The environment impact assessment is weak and is not able to mitigate environmental and social impacts of the project which doesn't meet development Bank's safeguards policies and international standards.
3) This topic further crystallizes attention in Senegal, women oppose coal; the Sendou power plant, funded mainly by the African Development Bank, has an impact on women in this time of climate crisis, highlighting the negative effects of the Sendou coal power plant on people, especially women, and ecosystems in a climate emergency in Africa. What about the rulers?
As multilateral development banks, AfDB, FMO and BOAD have environment and social safeguards their clients or borrowers should respect while implementing projects. Among others, they are particition and consultation, land and involuntary resetllement policy, pollution, biodiversity, cultural heritage, etc. All these policies was violated by the banks involved in the project.
4) Is it a laccism on the part of the state or a categorical refusal? What explains such a status quo?
Developing countries like Senegal have often weak governance systems combined with development urgency. So human right's, including environmental rights are not a priority forthe state so that's why development projects are imported very often with weak oversight perspectives, environmental and HR speaking.
5) You participated in the ACCA on 05 November 2019 in Côte d’Ivoire, a major gathering on the African continent in the field of business and human rights, under the theme "Chinese investment in Africa", what was your contribution to this event?
Beside of sharing our experiences on BHR, LSD convened a group of Congolese CSO working on Inga III project that involve Chinese actors to share their experience and meet with the AfDB board, the Executive Directors.
6) Have you used certain judicial and non-judicial bodies in the context of the fight for this cause in Senegal?
Yes, this case have been brought before the OECD guidelines for Multinational enterprises, the Swedish National Contact Point.
7) What concrete proposals do you propose for improving the survival conditions of these communities in Senegal?
LSD's mandate is to engage with Business and Multilateral Development Banks to comply with their rules and policies when operating. But supports local communities to protect their rights. So as Bargny doesn't want this project to proceed, LSD committed to support this struggle and ask the AfDB to stop funding coal power plant throughout the continent. This is much needed in the context of climate crisis.
Its our pleasure to have counted you among our guests. We will make good use of it for the Africa Media website and for our International African business.