Monday, November 5, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Earlier this month I was very humbled to be awarded a University of Queensland Foundation Research Excellence Award. The really great thing is that the award allows me to do some writing. I plan to reflect on how the resources sector is addressing the challenges of sustainable development and the role of communities, civil society, government and industry sustainability professionals in such change. UQ put together a video of the project – complete with 1980’s musac – and I did my best to rock a Marvin Gaye style collar! It was winter…
Posted by Dr Daniel Franks at 8:22 AM
Monday, October 22, 2012
Asia Pacific Inclusive Growth and Development,
United Nations Development Programme, Asia Pacific Regional Centre
E-Discussion - Advancing Sustainable Development: The Case of Extractive Industries (Sub-Theme 3)
Thursday, 13 September, 2012
[Facilitation Note: Dr. Daniel Franks (Senior Research Fellow, CSRM, University of Queensland) highlights that a “policy framework that encourages responsible mineral resource development and greater public and civil society involvement in decision-making can improve outcomes for communities while still maintaining a reasonable investment climate”. He shares a few examples of “policy innovation within companies to better address the social impacts of resource development”.]
Dear Network Members,
Policy innovation for better governance of the social impacts of mining
Mining and energy developments bring change. They can negatively impact the environments, communities and economies near ore deposits and processing sites; simultaneously they can also bring economic, social and sometimes environmental opportunities through the conversion of the ore body into financial resources; the development of skills, infrastructure and businesses; and the investment of those resources into social and environmental initiatives. Change is experienced very differently by different people depending on a multitude of factors including, values, history, livelihoods, demographics and, of course, the distribution of the costs and benefits of a project.
The process of how change is managed can have a big influence on the outcomes. It is sometimes argued that to attract extractive resource developments developing country governments should reduce business costs and put in place policies and laws that expedite or prioritize mineral and energy resource development. Such an approach, however, can be a disincentive for investment by experienced and responsible resource developers not only because it can increase business risks and jeopardize the prospects for long term success of developments, but also because weak governance environments tend to attract inexperienced companies. Significant costs can be experienced by companies in conflict with communities due to delays, shutdowns, and the closure of projects (see Davis and Franks 2011).
When stakeholders have an opportunity to actively participatein the decision-making of resource developments and ensure that the project is consistent with their values and livelihoods, their experience of those developments tends to be more positive and their attitudes toward projects more supportive (though this is not exclusively so).
Public participation may take the form of local community consultation (and increasingly consent), opportunities for civil society involvement in impact assessment processes, or more active participation such as involvement in ongoing community consultative committees, the negotiation of community development agreements, opportunities for dispute resolution, or participatory environmental and social monitoring initiatives. In the state of Queensland, Australia, social impact assessment and multi-stakeholder governance processes were strengthened through the Sustainable Resource Communities Policy. The policy also introduced Social Impact Management Plans as an ongoing process across the life-cycle of projects (see Franks 2012). In the Philippines and Sierra Leone public access to mining lease information is provided through online repositories. In Peru local communities have been involved in participatory water monitoring projects.
There are also examples of policy innovation within companies to better address the social impacts of resource development. A South African-founded company has developed the Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox as a requirement at their mines. An international company based in Switzerland requires sites to develop a complaints and grievance handling process. A British-Australian multinational requires sites to develop community plans (sometimes undertaken as a community strategic planning processes in collaboration with local government). International institutions, such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), have also developed performance frameworks for environmental and social issues.
These initiatives point to greater flexibility for governments to implement policies that mandate better social and environmental performance for all companies operating within their jurisdiction. A policy framework that encourages responsible mineral resource development and greater public and civil society involvement in decision-making can improve outcomes for communities while still maintaining a reasonable investment climate.
Dr. Daniel Franks
Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining
University of Queensland
Co-Chair Social Impact Assessment, International Association of Impact Assessment
Posted by Dr Daniel Franks at 9:36 AM