Generating Conflict: Gold, Water and Vulnerable Communities in the Colombian Highlands
NATURAL RESOURCES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW PERSPECTIVES Routledge Press (Tan & Foundez, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017).
21 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2017 Last revised: 15 Jul 2017
Date Written: June 1, 2017
Foreign direct investment is commonly believed to have a stabilizing effect in countries receiving investments, and is believed to lead to positive development outcomes. This chapter pushes back on these assumptions. Informed by nearly four years of intermittent ethnographic fieldwork in the towns surrounding the Páramo de Santurban in the rural highlands of Colombia, it provides a grounded account of how investments by foreign mining companies may destabilize populations and cause conflict, rather than perpetuate stability. This empirical study lends support to the argument that the design of the FDI project, and the process by which it is established, may determine whether the project will be beneficial or detrimental to common development goals, including whether it will cause conflict or act as a stabilizing force. This chapter is largely informed by the fieldwork that led to the production of the documentary film directed by the author, There is Nothing Else/Otra Cosa No Hay, in which many of the topics discussed herein are explored in further detail.
Keywords: Mining, Gold, Human Rights, Extractive Industry, Water, Conflict, Human Rights, Development, Paramo de Santurban, Colombia
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