ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING HELD VIRTUALLY
On June 8 and 9, the CONNEX Support Unit held its Annual Advisory Committee and Governing Board Meeting. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Annual Meeting was held virtually. The Advisory Committee and Governing Board reviewed the work of the CONNEX Support Unit in the previous year and discussed its future development.
The Governing Board opened the meeting by expressing appreciation for the work members of the Advisory Committee do in guiding the Secretariat and advising the Governing Board. Two members who were appointed to the Advisory Committee in the intervening period, Ms. Laura Morales and Dr. Cielo Magno, were also welcomed.
It has been a busy year for CONNEX. More requests than ever were fielded from host governments. In addition to Africa and Central Asia, CONNEX added Latin America to the list of regions in which it is active. It is currently offering support to the Provincial Government of Catamarca, Argentina, in preparing for and undertaking the negotiation of the closure of the largest mine in the history of the country. This would also be the first time CONNEX is supporting a subnational government.
CONNEX also recently concluded supporting the Government of Liberia to renegotiate a royalty agreement that aided the Government in recouping millions in lost revenue and increasing revenues from the project moving forward.
These and other key achievements were reviewed and discussed by members of the Advisory Committee and Governing Board, who noted the wide breadth of services CONNEX has been providing to governments. They reflected on the growing demand for CONNEX and the varying kinds of agreements for which CONNEX support is requested.
Members of the Advisory Committee and the Governing Board also discussed how CONNEX could support governments during the COVID-19 pandemic and after. It is important for host governments not to feel pressured into concluding contracts that are less than favorable to host governments.
In this regard, representatives of host governments are encouraged to reach out to the CONNEX Secretariat to discuss how they could be assisted in engaging with mining investors. CONNEX has kept supporting host governments throughout the period of travel restrictions and has the infrastructure to continue to do so.