Friday, January 30, 2015

Community-Company Engagement: “Good” Practice in Extractive Industries

The extractive industries, including mining, oil and gas, continue to have large-scale and systemic impacts on indigenous peoples and local communities that live on or near such projects. Communities, whether they seek to resist the entry of extractive industries on their lands – due to the well-known history of gross violations of their rights as a result of mining activities or due to lack of obvious benefits – or whether they seek to cooperate with the hope of obtaining some benefits, will usually interact with companies in some form or another. 

Over the past years companies and communities have increasingly engaged through amicable means. These types of ‘community-company engagements’ have taken a broad range of interactions inducing dialogue throughout a project’s life cycle, including specific negotiations, agreements and accompanying mechanisms such as grievance mechanisms and development funds. This paper  by Marie Wilke, Laura Letourneau-Tremblay and Stephanie Booker seeks to examine community-company engagement through the lens of communities that, for a variety of reasons, struggle to engage with companies and who seek to use these types of agreements to formalize their role in the process, to obtain clear commitments on key points such as the scope of impact assessments, to draw up mechanisms that can address potential conflicts and to set the stage for more comprehensive socio-economic participation negotiations at a later stage.

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