After having wasted more than 560 million yen on the drafting of the ProSavana Master Plan, governments resort to co-opting Civil Society
by AÇÃO ACADÉMICA PARA O DESENVOLVIMENTO DAS COMUNIDADES RURAIS (ADECRU)
(Translation from Porutguese by GRAIN)
(Maputo, 11 January 2015) - After having spent more than 560 million yen on consultancy services to develop a Master Plan which fails to attend to the demands of the Nacala Corridor communities and has been widely criticised and denounced by social movements and organisations within the ‘No to ProSavana!’ Campaign, the ProSavana coordination team, together with the governments of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan, has resorted to enticement and has set out to co-opt national civil society organisations.
For this purpose on the 11 and 12 January a meeting organised by MAJOL Consultoria e Serviços Lda will be held in the city of Nampula. This company was hired by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to eliminate resistance to ProSavana and clean its image. The strange thing is that the following are involved as co-organisers of the process: Plataforma de Organizações da Sociedade Civil de Nampula (PPOSC-N: Platform of Nampula Civil Society Organisations), Fórum de ONGs do Niassa (FONAGNI: Niassa NGO Forum), Fórum de ONGs da Zambézia (FONGZA: Zambézia NGO Forum), Rede de Organizações para Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Comunitário Sustentável (RADEZA: Network of Organisations for the Environment and Sustainable Community Development).
ADECRU knows from reliable sources that this process is the continuation of prior efforts on behalf of the ProSavana coordination team to eliminate any sort of resistance to the programme. Between 2012 and 2015 three national consultancy firms were hired who were given the task of conceiving and revising the ProSavana communications strategy. Also during this period, partnerships with researchers and national and international research institutions were established, which were also identified by ADECRU in their database. These were given the task of studying the decision-making process in the organisations involved in the resistance to ProSavana and also the internal, local, national and international articulation mechanisms used, which culminated in the enticement and co-opting of leaders from some national organisations.
Furthermore, a propaganda campaign was launched to clean the ProSavana project’s image, including the mobilisation of the media to promote a ‘good image’ of the programme. Televisão Moçambique, Radio Moçambique and Jornal Noticias are three prominent examples of this. For example, on 8 January, the Jornal Noticias (a Mozambican newpaper) published an article with no journalistic value whatsoever, signed by Carlos Tembe, with the title ‘ProSavana Debate returns to the Public Arena’ in which the Governor of the Nampula Province, Victor Borge, is quoted as having stated that ‘The Nampula Government does not want to adopt a model that will dominate the implementation of ProSavana in the Nacala corridor districts unilaterally and transform the main actors of the programme into mere agents of consumerism. We want everyone to be involved in the creation of a model that is deemed appropriate for the implementation of the programme because this way we can ward off any persisting fears.’
In the same article, Carlos Tembe quotes António Mutoua from the Platform of Nampula Civil Society Organisations as having stated that ‘Next week civil society organisations who defend the interests of farmers in the provinces of Nampula, Niassa and Zambézia will meet for two days in the city of Nampula to revisit the ProSavana Draft Zero Master Plan. We also want to issue a united message about the Nacala Corridor development programme and discuss our position in a meeting with the government, the date of which is to be confirmed.’
When in June 2015 more than 70 social movements and civil society organisations from more than ten countries, including Mozambique, Brazil and Japan, denounced the human rights violations in relation to Draft Zero of the ProSavana Master Plan public consultations, demanding that they be declared invalid and that the ProSavana programme be halted, it seemed that the time for the Mozambican, Brazilian and Japanese governments to listen and respond to their peoples’ demands for self-determination had arrived. At the time it was known that the Japanese government had pressured the Maputo executive branch for new consultations, preceded by the formation of a collective definition of the norms and procedures that would guide the consultation process in which the Nacala Corridor communities, social movements and organisations would be involved.
In fact, on 8 December 2015, the Nampula Provincial Agriculture Minister, Pedro Dzucule, confirmed the second round of consultations for Draft Zero of the ProSavana Master Plan during a research presentation seminar from researcher Natacha Bruna (Observatório do Meio Rural: Rural Environment Observatory). The meeting had been organised by Solidaridade Moçambique (Mozambique Solidarity), led by António Mutoua. During this meeting it became clear that this constituted yet another act intended to manipulate and co-opt some civil society organisations. Indeed, in the aforementioned meeting, which was attended by the Nampula Governor Victor Borges, around ten Japanese citizens linked to JICA also participated, as did Eduardo Costa e João Lameiras from MAJOL Consultoria e Serviços Lda, who facilitated a supposedly unexpected brainstorming session about ProSavana.
Surprisingly, MAJOL Consultoria e Serviços Lda entered onto the scene at the end of December 2015, presenting themselves as independent consultants hired by the JICA to identify a mechanism for dialogue as regards the drafting of the Master Plan. In less than one month, the surprise and response to all ProSavana’s problems magically appears and a passage from the notice for the aforementioned event is quoted, ‘throughout the consultations held with a variety of CSO in Mozambique, NGOs, academics, the private sector, among others, it was suggested that a “Work Advisory Committee” (temporary title) be formed, with CSO representatives to participate directly in the drafting and revision of the Master Plan…’ Where did this proposal come from?
What mechanisms are used to manipulate and co-opt civil society actors? What about the failure of the ProSavana plan to respond to the demands made by the peoples?
Where did the proposal of a ProSavana Work Advisory Committee originate?
Due to the nefarious impact of large-scale agricultural investment projects, a collection of palliative measures were taken to minimise these impacts. The World Bank adopted the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment (PRAI), which were widely criticised across the world for serving as an instrument that legitimised the illegal appropriation of land from millions of small-scale farmers. One of the strategies used by corporations is the constitution of Advisory Committees, which include NGO representatives who have been co-opted by companies, government representatives and the company in question. Normally the committees are created with the pretext of monitoring the actions of companies and advising communities during negotiations. The company provides funds directly or may facilitate the mobilisation of resources for civil society organisations to support the functioning of said committees.
In Mozambique, the MAJOL Consultoria e Serviços Lda consultants, hired by ProSavana through the same Advisory Committee mechanism, managed to conceal the negative impacts of the Portucel investment project, a company which has received the largest land concessions in the country, corresponding to 356 thousand hectares of land in the provinces of Manica and Zambézia for the planting of eucalyptus. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the corporative branch of the World Bank, holds 20% of Portucel’s shares and plays an advisory role in this company. This was how, through a process facilitated by Action Aid Mozambique, five civil society organisations joined the Portucel Advisory Council, which legitimised the absurd concessions of thousands of hectares of land to plant eucalyptus in detriment to food production. It should be remembered that in 2015 Portucel became part of the G7 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, an initiative that has been widely criticised throughout the world.
What mechanisms are used to co-opt and manipulate civil society in Advisory Committees?
Information collected by the ADECRU over the years reveals that the strategy of involving civil society organisations in such processes is achieved through the enticement of civil society organisation leaders, who are given the task of bringing their institutions along to spaces which are in direct opposition to their mission and vision. This type of alliance does not only count on the involvement of company representatives, but also members of government and supposedly independent consultants.
The failure of the ProSavana project to respond to the demands of the peoples
The demands made by the communities, social movements and civil society organisations to ProSavana are not directed solely at the ProSavana Master Plan, but at ProSavana as a whole, including the two other components (Prosavavan Research and ProSavana Model and Extension). The ‘No to ProSavana’ campaign is the rejection of an agricultural development model which cannot co-exist with the need for self-determination inherent to the development of small-scale family agriculture. Ignoring this systemic need, calling for the introduction of corrective measures to amend an incorrigible Master Plan, given the fundamental issues with its very conception, constitutes the denial of Official Development Assistance’s fundamental principles such as those of appropriation, and prior and informed consent.
To attribute the ProSavana project’s conceptual and applicational problems to the absence of an Advisory Committee reveals a flagrant incapability to see the pragmatic reasons behind the response to the programme, whether social or productive in nature. Moreover, it reveals great hubris, typical of an authoritative and arrogant governance structure.
More than 560 million yen wasted on the Drafting of the ProSavana Master Plan
Information in the hands of Acção Académica para o Desenvolvimento das Comunidades Rurais (ADECRU: Academic Action for the Development of Rural Communities) indicates that, the controversial ProSavana Master Plan, rejected by Nacala Corridor social and small-scale farmer movements, is estimated at 786,495,000 yen, the equivalent of 295 million Mozambican meticais (approximately 5.8 million euros), according to today’s exchange rate. Of this, between March 2012 to February 2015 560,432,250 yen have already been spent, equivalent to 210 million meticais (approximately 4.2 million euros) in payment to the consultancy firm responsible for the drafting of the Master Plan.
According to our information, by the end of the Japanese tax year in 2014, the following amounts were paid to the consortium of consultancy companies represented by Oriental Consultants Co. Ltd, hired for the creation of the Master Plan: 13,721,000 yen on 9 March 2012; 19,363,000 yen on 16 October 2012; 81,726,250 yen on 18 January 2013; 162,093,000 yen on 10 May 2013; 170,118,000 on 29 October 2013; and 113,411,000 yen on 18 February 2015. The consultancy contract was expected to have concluded by September 2013, however the marginalisation of the demands made to ProSavana by the Nacala Corridor communities, coupled with the pressure exerted by these communities and by social movements and civil society organisations to paralyse the ProSavana process, forced the extension of this, without necessarily resulting in the creation of democratic, inclusive and autonomous dialogue.
The 210 million meticais spent, up to that time, to pay the consultancy firm to create a Master Plan that is of no use, and that does not respond to the demands of millions of small-scale farmers, could have been used to buy 5,384 motorised pumps. According to ADECRU estimates these would benefit at least 80 thousand member families and could be used to irrigate 53 thousand hectares of land. On the premise of proportional allocation across the 19 districts affected by ProSavana in Nampula, Niassa and Zambézia, each district would have 283 motorised pumps. Please note that districts such as Mecubri have only three motorised pumps, according to a survey performed by ADECRU in November 2015.
Officially the Master Plan draft was only published in March 2015, two years later than the initially forecast date, after a long period of resistance by the Nacala Corridor communities, social movements and civil society organisations from Mozambique, Japan and Brazil, who presented an open letter to the presidents of Mozambique and Brazil and the Prime Minister of Japan which demanded the halt to the ProSavana programme and urgent reflection on the plan. After the open letter, People’s Triangular Conferences continued, as a space for alternative dialogue provided by social movements and civil society organisations to discuss ProSavana and the priorities for agricultural development in Mozambique. Only after the emergence of the ‘No to ProSavana’ campaign, the largest ProSavana resistance movement, were public consultations held in relation to the programme, which were tarred by intimidations and the persecution of small-scale farmers, politicisation, exclusion, lack of transparency, tribalisation, partisanship and manipulation of the meetings held between April and June 2015.
Public consultations characterised by human rights violations cost the Japanese 8.7 million yen in public funds and cause discord within the Japanese Government
The public consultation meetings for the ProSavana Master Plan Draft Zero promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA), in representation of the Mozambican, Brazilian and Japanese Governments, which took place between April and June 2015, were financed by the Japanese government at a cost of 3.2 million meticais (approximately 64 thousand euros). According to information obtained by ADECRU, this money was used to pay the costs referring to the holding of meetings in all 19 districts, provincial capitals in Nampula, Miassa and Zambézia, including the national consultation held in the luxurious Conference Centre Joaquim Chissano.
The human rights violations and the failure to respond to the demands of the communities in the Nacala Corridor caused indignation among Official Development Assistance decision makers who already defended that the ProSavana programme be stopped. Furthermore, the failure on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA) to comply with national and international legislation, which ensure people’s right to public participation in programmes of this nature and magnitude, led more voices within the Japanese government to defend bringing a halt to the programme.
ADECRU knows from reliable sources that a Mozambican government delegation represented by senior members of MASA and of the ProSavana coordination team, went to Japan in September 2015 to try to clarify the cases of human rights violations together with the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry (MoFA) and demonstrate the relevance of ProSavana to Japanese decision makers. It is also known that during the first half of this year it is possible that President of the Republic travel to Japan in the hope of obtaining the support necessary for ProSavana and for the Project for Nacala Corridor Economic Development Strategies (PEDEC).
ADECRU contacted MASA, and the Japanese and Brazilian Embassies; however at the time of writing this article it had received no response.
Maputo, 11 January 2016
ADECRU Communications Team
ADECRU: Rua Abner Sansão Muthemba, Nr 34, Bairro da Malanga, Cidade de Maputo
Contacts: [email protected] / 00258-‐ 823911238/00258-‐ 825132059