Out of the Conflict Zone: The Case for Community Consent Processes in the Extractive Sector
49 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2008
Date Written: October 22, 2008
An examination of contemporary struggles over extractive industry projects shows that they are not adequately captured by current CSR strategies because they are not exclusively disputes about the environment, human rights or health and safety as those subjects are generally understood by companies. Rather, they are better understood as disputes over community control of resources and the right of community members to control the direction of their lives. This Article proposes that extractive industries can tackle the underlying causes of the growing opposition to their projects in the developing world by engaging in consent processes with communities and groups directly affected by projects with a view to obtaining their free prior and informed consent (FPIC). The authors propose that FPIC must be enduring, enforceable, and meaningful in order to take companies and communities out of their current defensive positions. FPIC should instead allow companies and communities to take up proactive positions - with those companies that have the consent of the communities in which they operate obtaining a competitive advantage and those communities that have enforceable agreements with companies obtaining control over the natural-resource-based development process on which their future depends.
Keywords: CSR, extractive industries, development, natural resources, human rights
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