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From legal caravans to revising the Mining Code: Lessons from experience with legal empowerment in communities affected by mining, Mali

By: Moussa Djiré, Amadou Keita, Lorenzo Cotula

This report produced by the Research and Study Group on Sociology and Applied Law (GERSDA) in conjunction with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) profiles the work of legal caravans in the regions of Sikasso and Kayes in southern Mali. Mobile legal caravans (staffed by lawyers, judges, academics, and students from the University of Legal and Political Sciences in Bamako) visited villages affected by mining activities, raising local awareness about legal rights and the procedures to exercise them and providing tailored legal assistance for villagers. GERSDA and IIED’s joint legal caravan initiative was integrated into a national effort for legislative reform. The experiences, concerns, and observations of villagers were recorded as part of the legal caravan initiative and were then presented to the national parliament as input into the revision of Mali’s mining code. Local engagement through legal caravans ultimately contributed to positive changes in the Mining Code, including the addition of a provision requiring mining companies to formulate community development plans.

Keywords: legal literacy, dissemination through media, land governance, mining, national legislative reform.