Bettercoal support to the CREER multi-stakeholder dialogue project “Building Trust in Cesar”

Bettercoal is pleased to announce that members of its Colombia Working Group (CWG) have agreed to financially support the Regional Center for Responsible Businesses and Entrepreneurship (Centro Regional de Empresas y Emprendimientos Responsables or CREER) multi-stakeholder dialogue project “Building Trust in Cesar”, one of the most important coal mining regions in Colombia.

This support is part of Bettercoal’s commitment and activities to promote continuous improvement in the mining and sourcing of coal for the benefit of all people in the area of influence of the industry, including workers and coal mining communities.

‘Building Trust in Cesar’ is an initiative led by CREER in five municipalities in the mining region in Cesar. Its objective is to generate trust and build agreements between the different actors – state, civil society and companies – in order to establish collective processes in support of development and coexistence in the region. The initiative is also supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands, coal mining companies in the region, and in collaboration with the Presidential Advisor for Human Rights and International Affairs in Colombia.

The dialogue process incorporates a broad group of actors, including the Colombian Government, mining companies, communities, civil society organizations and other economic sectors. It is a multi-stakeholder process where all parties jointly decide on which issues to focus, in which order, within what time frames, and what activities will be taken up.

Bettercoal welcomes and encourages the extension of the initiative into the mining area of La Guajira, with the support of the Swiss Embassy and Cerrejón.

The CWG was established to streamline, improve and reinforce the monitoring process of the Continuous Improvement Plans (CIP) of Bettercoal Colombian Suppliers, as well as to strengthen relations between relevant stakeholders. Beyond the bilateral and sectoral dialogue the CWG has with the Colombian Bettercoal Suppliers (Cerrejón, Drummond and Prodeco) on their improvement plans, which are the result of Bettercoal’s Assessments, the group has identified complex and systemic challenges related to mining in Colombia that require specific action.

Gabi Knoff, Chair of the Colombia Working Group says: “Providing a permanent platform for collaboration and consensus building for all relevant actors in Colombia’s peace building process, the CREER project helps to build trust amongst all stakeholders in the Cesar region – a precondition for constructive dialogue.” Bettercoal’s Executive Director Anne-Claire Howard emphasized that “by supporting this project, Bettercoal’s Colombia Working Group hopes to contribute to the long term social, environmental, economic and institutional development of communities in which the mines operate. In the current times, above all the unprecedented challenges the world is facing with the Covid-19 pandemic, we also witness the exacerbation of systemic local issues. Within this context, supporting this initiative becomes even more relevant.”

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