YOUNG PEOPLE ORGANISE
Creative, youth-driven campaigning has contributed to historic law against metallic mining in El Salvador
In 2017 El Salvador became the first country in the world to ban all forms of mining. Only 2 % of the country’s original forests are left, and only 3 % of all water coming from natural sources is clean enough to be classified as drinking water.
The ban against metallic mining motivates the establishment and decision-makers to consider new, more sustainable models for financial development. At the same time, this means that the country is able to turn away an industry which in other countries has represented a loss of capital to tax havens, and where parts of the elite benefit from the large legal and institutional holes characterising the governments of many developing countries.
Since 2011 Global Platform El Salvador has played a key role in the effort to demonstrate to the public the problems of metallic mining as well as to organise and involve young people in the struggle for a more sustainable society.
The first youth groups involved in the work against metallic mining in 2011 were formed by participants in trainings offered by the platform. The strategic work of the platform against metallic mining has been rooted in four main areas:
1) Producing thematic environment-related campaigns (water, mining, dams and genetically modified foods), 2) Supporting the campaigns through relevant trainings, 3) Strengthening the young people’s commitment to the struggle against metallic mining and 4) Securing inclusion of young people in public decision-making processes.
- Since 2011 the platform has launched and coordinated three youth-driven campaigns aimed directly at banning metallic mining: ‘Stop Cerro Blanco’ (the name of a polluting goldmine shut down in 2014), ‘Ni una mina mas’ (‘No more mines’) and ‘ES libre de minas’ (‘an El Salvador without mines’).
- The platform’s first campaign coincided with the formation of Mesa Nacional frente a la Minería Metálica, an umbrella organisation set up for the specific purpose of banning metallic mining in El Salvador. The platform has caused young people from the ActionAid youth network Activista to be accepted as official members into Mesa Nacional frente a la Minería Metálica.
- The platform has trained and supported young leaders, who have become capable of speaking on behalf of their local communities and as representatives of young people in El Salvador in general.