UNESCO leads the development of a roadmap to formalize ASM in South Sudan

Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) have huge economic prospects but mostly regarded as illegal in East Africa. Capacity building efforts can spur successful formalization within the ASM sector if training programs promote best practices and focus on practical mining-related topics. Provision of the education in mining and mineral processing, will witness an increased reduction in negative environmental impacts caused by mining methods such as land degradation, clearing of forests, river dredging, or use of toxic chemicals. Arising from this scenario, UNESCO has taken the initiative of drawing on board stakeholders to develop education curricular for Artisanal and Small-Scale (ASM) Miners in Eastern Africa based on a formulated Policy Framework. The formulated policy recommends creation of formal curricular for certificate, diploma and degree academic programmes and non-formal programmes for practicing miners in the ASM Sector.

South Sudan, a member of the East African Community (EAC) played instrumental roles in the development of the curricular and policy guidelines. Although an important oil producer, the country is also believed to have significant mineral resources such as gold, copper, diamonds, limestone, etc. The government believes that South Sudan is yet to fully discover its geological mineral resources that can drive economic growth and prosperity of local communities. In seeking to develop the minerals sector, the Government recognises that formalizing the mineral/ mining sector will ensure that mining operations are conducted in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

In this context, a two-day consultative workshop was organized to validate the content of the ASM Policy Guidelines and Curriculum for East Africa and explore possibilities of adapting it to the context of South Sudan. The workshop was held from 6 to 7 December 2021 in Juba through a collaboration between UNESCO Offices in Nairobi and Juba and the Ministry of Mining, South Sudan.

During the opening of the Workshop, Mr. Julius Banda, UNESCO Country Representative in South Sudan welcomed the participants and emphasized the importance of managing ASM as a poverty reduction strategy and driving economic and investment prospects for South Sudan.

In his submission, Honorable John Agany Deng, Revitalized-Transitional National Assembly (TNLA) member mentioned that “South Sudan is one among the highly rich countries in terms of natural resources including minerals, oil, water, animals, and land. However, its management is an issue to get maximum benefit and thus it is crucial that the capacity of South Sudan is strengthened to mobilize these resources in an environment friendly manner”. Representing the former Committee of Education, Science, Research and Technology, he further reiterated that the parliament committee members will continue to advocate in the assembly for the allocation of national resources to support Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

Honorable Dr. Andu Ezbon Adde, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Mining in his opening remarks mentioned that the Policy guidelines and proposed curriculum developed for East Africa are instrumental to strengthening mining policy and strategy in South Sudan.

During the technical session, Mr. Samuel Partey, UNESCO Science Programme Specialist from the Nairobi Office presented the proposed East Africa ASM Policy Guidelines and Curricular. Participants from various institutions in South Sudan discussed the documents and proposed a roadmap for future development. The roadmap proposes a review of the drafted Mining Policy and Strategy of South Sudan and development of a curriculum on ASM. The new competency-based curriculum is to be developed with reference to the East Africa Regional ASM curriculum at both non-formal and formal levels. The non-formal curriculum will be of level 1-5 whereas formal curriculum to be developed from level 6-10 covering diploma and degree courses. A working group will be constituted to ensure implementation of the roadmap.