MAC: Mines and Communities

Controversy at EITI's Lima meeting

Published by MAC on 2016-02-29
Source: Statements (2016-02-28)

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)'s latest global conference has just taken place in Lima.

There was a serious altercation involving civil society participants. It appears the 'belligerent' (to quoe the Economist) ex-UK MP, Eric Joyce, tried to engineer one of his own candidates for a civil society board post, outside of the recognised process coordinated by Publish What You Pay (PWYP), which led to a partial boycott of the voting/meeting.

However, some observers noted that this altercation actually distracted from more serious concerns for local communities.

For instance, Gary Goldberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of Newmont Mining, was in Lima for the VII EITI Conference. A number of social organizations reminded him of the systematic human rights violation of Mrs. Máxima Acuña de Chaupe and her family, campesinos from the Celendín province in the Cajamarca Region, in the area of the Conga gold project.

See previous MAC coverage at Transparency initiative debates way forward

Accountability is needed before transparency in the extractive industries resonates with communities in Latin America

Amanda Romero, Julia Mello Neiva & Karen Hudlet, Latin America Team, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

http://business-humanrights.org/en/accountability-is-needed-before-transparency-in-the-extractive-industries-resonates-with-communities-in-latin-america

24 February 2016

Transparency must surely be a means to a goal, and not the goal itself. The ultimate objective should be preventing and fighting abuse.

Global leaders from business and government meet in Lima today to discuss “open and accountable management of natural resources” at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) global conference. It’s the first time the conference has taken place in Latin America, a region where communities have felt the effects of corruption and misconduct by governments that approve companies’ projects despite little or no consultation with locals. Peru has more than once attracted international attention because of protests, inadequate environmental impact assessment, and human rights abuses, such as those related to the huge mining project of Tía María.

Peru is an “EITI Compliant Country”, the first in Latin America, and the only other country in the region apart from Guatemala to receive that status. This means the government declares how much revenue it receives from companies that extract the country’s natural resources. A cornerstone of EITI’s belief is that use of natural resource wealth can lead to poverty reduction. But for many communities in Peru, the extractive industry has contributed to maintaining or deepening their poverty and exposes them to serious risks. The situation is so worrying, in fact, that an Ombudsman has criticised the Government for “failing to enforce” laws granting indigenous peoples prior consultation for developments on their land.

Lack of transparency also exacerbates environmental harms, like those occurring in the Amazon area where the Pluspetrol & PetroPeru oil industry has destroyed water resources and livelihoods of indigenous peoples living in El Tigre River basin. Protests by local communities against Dengwood Holdings Peru Metals have also broken out over contamination of subsoil water sources due to mining activities.

Across the region communities face similar problems. In the last three years, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has contacted companies operating in Latin America regarding allegations of human rights abuses 204 times, and almost half (43%) of these involved extractive companies. Yet some states still allow extractive projects that deprive indigenous peoples from their livelihoods, as in a case in Paraguay highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

In Brazil, numerous reports of killings, diseases, evictions, lack of information and consultation on projects that affect indigenous and quilombolas (rural settlements of people of African descent) have emerged in the last couple of years. Munduruku indigenous communities have received death threats from miners. Rangers have been accused of killing Guarani leaders for speaking out about the illegal occupation of their land. Construction companies building dams, railways, roads, and ports, have affected the Guarani, Yanomami, Tembe, and Awa peoples. Those who have opposed extractive projects have too often been victims of intimidation, threats, aggression and killings.

The present reality for many indigenous, afro-descendant peoples and other poor and peasant communities in the region is that their historically recognized territories, rich in natural resources, are being exploited or are at risk of being so by oil, mining and logging companies. This is despite the current low price of commodities; although some extractive projects have stalled or shrunk, many are still going ahead at full speed. It seems that costs of production in Latin America are so low that these ventures are still profitable.

Initiatives like EITI can play an important role to protect these groups from further abuses if they really work towards promoting “increased trust, better information, and good governance”; as they claim, it is much needed. The EITI could also be an effective forum to bring the concerns of affected people to the table.

But ultimately transparency must surely be a means to a goal, and not the goal itself. The ultimate objective should be preventing and fighting against abuses to guarantee that communities affected by business projects - especially from the extractive industry, as these usually have the largest impacts - are informed about what is going to happen to their territories and to them. They should be properly consulted and should be part of the decision-making process regarding their future.

This comes down to governments in the region taking steps to ensure human rights are protected from business activities by putting the necessary safeguards in place, and seriously listening to affected people when implementing a project that will impact them. Eventually this means a project should be cancelled for imposing too many social and environmental risks to their livelihoods

In this regard, transparency is important but only when accompanied by accountability, for businesses and for governments. Human Rights Watch has suggested that EITI could address the human rights impacts of host governments, remarking that “transparency can be transformative in an environment where fundamental freedoms are respected because the combination of the two is what provides for accountability… In very repressive environments, transparency can offer little more than an empty gesture that may even allow an abusive or corrupt government to act more brazenly”.

The EITI has made gains in increasing revenue disclosure by some governments on the extractives industries. But it is important that this does not happen in a vacuum; accountability for human rights must be implemented. Only then will “transparency” meaningfully resonate with communities all over Latin America, and help ensure that natural resources can benefit all citizens.


EITI: civil society and rumpus in Lima

Peru Support Group statement

28 February 2016

Judging from this week’s UK press coverage of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Conference – held in Lima – readers would have thought discussions were mainly dominated by the brouhaha caused by the selections process of candidates on to the EITI Board (see for example The Economist).This resulted in NGO representatives walking out from the EITI board meeting. Whilst internal governance issues urgently need addressing there are other substantive policy issues that deserve further discussion.

The EITI was founded in 2003 with a mandate to improve transparency in the extractives sector by making information about government revenues received from extractive industries and the payments made by companies to governments more transparent. Today it is an organisation with 49 members committed to implementing the EITI standards.

Peru attained EITI-compliant status in 2012 after overhauling its tax system and adopting a programme of fiscal, environmental and social reform in order to achieve compliance. One of the most important changes introduced was to disclose company payments made to both central and local governments and to use these resource revenues to positively influence local development.

In spite of these advances, Peru in common with other resource-rich countries faces significant challenges in managing its natural resource wealth more effectively. As the voice of civil society grows ever stronger, so does the demand for ensuring that the benefits of natural resource revenues are shared more widely and fairly.

Such demands go beyond the present remit of the EITI. Evidently transparency in revenues alone will not bring about social justice and environmental sustainability, nor will it guarantee the sound management of extractive resources. It can however be an effective tool for changing the decisions and actions of policy makers if civil society is free to operate and the voices of the vulnerable and marginalised are meaningfully included in development decisions which affect them.

As pointed out by Prof. Anthony Bebbington during the EITI side event (which was jointly organised by Propuesta Ciudadana, Publish What You Pay, Oxfam, PSG), faced with an increasingly hostile environment, civil society solidarity and protection is more important than ever.

The PSG will shortly provide its own set of opinion pieces, somewhat different in tone and content than the view expressed by The Economist, from the 2016 EITI Conference. Keep an eye on our website for further information, including Bebbington’s report from the EITI side event ‘Participation is power – How protecting citizens’ voices will deliver real results in natural resource governance’.


EITI Governance Failures Threaten Independent Civil Society

PWYP Statement

24 February 2016

Yesterday in Lima, on the eve of the 2016 Global EITI conference, more than 100 civil society representatives took a principled stance to boycott the members’ meeting, the highest governing body of the EITI. The impetus for the boycott was the improper and illegitimate interference in civil society’s right to self-selection of their representatives to the EITI International Board and the addition of a civil society candidate to the list of civil society nominees, without the support of the broad civil society constituency. This was in violation of the agreed procedures for nominating civil society representatives to the board. In advance of the meeting, civil society tried to work toward resolution by demanding that the illegitimate candidate’s name be removed but to no avail.

Civil society was fully ready to enter the members’ meeting provided that the illegitimate candidate was removed from the roster. Civil society sent a representative into the member’s meeting to make this position known. Outgoing EITI Chair Clare Short, who chaired the meeting, chose to proceed with the meeting despite a majority of one of the key stakeholders not being present. During the meeting, the civil society representative was given the opportunity for a brief intervention before being prevented from fully elaborating civil society’s concerns. In this context the decisions made during that meeting are being called into question. While the sixth name was ultimately withdrawn by the nominating organisation during the member’s meeting, it was done so in a manner and on a time-frame that made it impossible for civil society to rejoin the meeting. All of this is contrary to the spirit and principles of the initiative, and constituted a breach of the governance process and a gross disregard for the trust we have worked to establish over the past decade.

The central principle of the EITI is multi-stakeholder collaboration between governments, companies and civil society as equal partners at all levels of EITI governance. Yesterday the EITI International Board adopted the 2016 EITI Standard, which includes a strengthened Civil Society Protocol to ensure that civil society can fully and freely participate in EITI processes. The principles enshrined in that Protocol have been violated. Civil society is deeply concerned about these actions at the global level, as they set a dangerous precedent for meaningful independent civil society engagement in national EITI processes.

Civil society nominations to the EITI board were coordinated by an independent committee convened by the Publish What You Pay coalition, with the support of 800 civil society organisations worldwide. As noted in the EITI Constituency Guidelines 1, PWYP received this mandate to facilitate nominations following a consultation with civil society stakeholders. The civil society EITI Board nomination process was open to applications from any civil society organisation, with no requirement for affiliation with PWYP. Recognising the importance of ensuring representation from non-PWYP civil society in the nominations committee, the PWYP Global Council convened an independent and credible nominations committee composed of an equal number of PWYP and non-PWYP members. The nominations committee was tasked with upholding good governance in the selection process and ensuring the identification of competent individuals who can legitimately represent civil society interests in the EITI Board. Three of the ten nominees represent organisations that were not affiliated with PWYP.

Civil society welcomes EITI Chair Nominee Fredrik Reinfeldt’s willingness to work with PWYP. During the 2016 PWYP Global Assembly, Mr. Reinfeldt addressed PWYP members and affirmed the critical role of the coalition in making the EITI a strong and credible initiative.

All stakeholders need to remain committed to the core principles of the EITI and protect civil society’s independence. We request that Mr. Reinfeldt immediately convenes a meeting with civil society to explore how to remedy the numerous governance gaps and deficiencies that recent processes have brought to light. We call for a review of the EITI Articles of Association and demand accountability to ensure that encroachment of civil society space never happens again.

1. The EITI Constituency Guidelines note: “Those civil society representatives interested in being represented on the EITI Association or Board are encouraged to contact the Publish What You Pay coalition.”


 

Letter to Gary J. Goldberg, President and CEO Newmont Mining Corporation

http://propuestaciudadana.org.pe/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Carta-Presidente-Newmont-17-02-16-ENG-1.pdf

22 February 2016

Dear Mr Goldberg,

Lima, Peru - You will be visiting Peru to participate in the Opening Plenary of the VII Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Global Conference, to be held between February 22nd and 25th in the city of Lima.

We celebrate the existence of an initiative like EITI that promotes transparency along the mining, oil and gas activities, in which traditionally there have been a great degree of opacity and too much corruption.

In addition, we commend that a mining company like Newmont is part of this initiative and promotes its existence and consolidation in the countries where it operates.

However, we sincerely regret and strongly oppose that, while you open an event that promotes transparency in extractive activities, your company (Newmont Mining Company) and Buenaventura Mining Company (its partner in Minera Yanacocha) engage in a systematic, arrogant and abusive campaign to violate the human rights of Mrs. Máxima Acuña de Chaupe and her family, peasants from the Celendín Province in the Cajamarca Region), who have refused to sell their lands to Yanacocha wishing to remain as small agricultural producers.

There is no doubt that, as president and CEO of Newmont visiting Peru, you have prepared well before your trip. If so, surely you are aware of the case.

You would know it´s been years now that Newmont and Buenaventura are harassing this family and violating their human rights, and that Yanacocha is ignoring the internal protocols of Newmont and the Voluntary Principles of Security and Human Rights, voluntarily assumed by major world mining companies.

You would know that Peruvian Justice ruled in favor of the Chaupe and that the case has also been taken to the Inter American Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS), who has emitted a precautionary injunction in favor of the Chaupe family.

Being yourself a well informed person of your companie’s doings, you would know that in the last few weeks Newmont and Buenaventura have increased the abuses on the Chaupe family: sieging their lands preventing the family’s mobility; surveilling them with drones and violating their intimacy; attacking their pets; destroying their crops; and more.

Given the circumstances, we demand from you two fundamental things: the immediate halt to the permanent harassment to the Chaupe Family and identification of the persons responsible for these actions.

Only on the basis of strict respect for the human rights of populations living in the territories where extractive activities are carried out, is that we can lay the foundations for an open and responsible dialogue about the role of mining in socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable strategies to generate the welfare of the people.

Sincerely,

1. Alternativa – Centro de Investigación Social y Educación Popular
2. Amazónicos por la Amazonía (AMPA)
3. Asociación Arariwa
4. Asociación Civil Universidad Coherente
5. Asociación Civil Centro de Cultura Popular Labor
6. Asociación Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras
7. Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP)
8. Asociación Nacional de Centros (ANC)
9. Asociación para la Investigación y Desarrollo Integral (AIDER)
10. Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH)
11. Centro Amazónico de Antropología y Aplicación Práctica (CAAAP)
12. Cáritas del Perú
13. Centro Bartolomé de Las Casas (CBC)
14. Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú (CHIRAPAQ)
15. Centro de Educación, Organización y Promoción del Desarrollo (CEOP) Ilo
16. Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Regional (CEDER)
17. Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Participación (CEDEP)
18. Centro de Estudios y Promoción del Desarrollo (DESCO)
19. Centro de investigación y promoción del campesinado (CIPCA) Piura
20. Centro Ecuménico de Promoción y Acción Social (CEDEPAS) Cajamarca
21. Centro Ecuménico de Promoción y Acción Social (CEDEPAS)
22. Centro para el Desarrollo del Indígena Amazónico (CEDIA)
23. Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales (CEPES)
24. Colegio Economistas Loreto
25. Confederación Campesina del Perú (CCP)
26. Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú (CGTP)
27. Confederación Nacional Agraria (CNA)
28. Confederación Nacional de Mujeres Organizadas por la Vida y el Desarrollo Integral (CONAMOVIDI)
29. Consejo de Coordinación Local Provincial (CCLP)
30. Consejo de la Prensa Peruana (CPP)
31. Consejo Machiguenga del Río Urubamba (COMARU)
32. CONVEAGRO – Convención Nacional del Agro Peruano
33. Comisión de Justicia Social de la diócesis de Chimbote
34. CooperAcción – Acción Solidaria para el Desarrollo
35. Cooperativa Norandino
36. Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDDHH)
37. Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR)
38. Descosur
39. Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
40. ERigths International (ERI)
41. Federación Enfermedades Peruanas (FEPER)
42. Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos (FIDH)
43. Foro Ecológico del Perú
44. Forosalud – Foro de la Sociedad Civil en Salud
45. Fundación Ecuménica para el Desarrollo y La Paz (FEDEPAZ)
46. Fundación para el Debido Proceso (DPLF, por sus siglas en inglés)
47. Grupo Propuesta Ciudadana (GPC)
48. Grupo Internacional de Trabajo sobre Asuntos Indígenas (IWGIA) (Dinamarca)
49. Instituto de Defensa Legal del Ambiente y el Desarrollo Sostenible (IDLADS)
50. Instituto del Bien Común (IBC)
51. IPSA - Instituto de Promoción Social Amazónica (La Voz de la Selva)
52. Natural Resource Governance Institute – Latin America Regional Office
53. Organización Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas Andinas y Amazónicas del Perú (ONAMIAP)
54. Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT)
55. Organización Regional Aidesep Ucayali (ORAU)
56. Organización Regional de los Pueblos Indígenas del oriente ORPIO - Loreto
57. Paz y Esperanza
58. Consorcio Nacional para la Ética Pública (Proética)
59. Programa Laboral de Desarrollo (PLADES)
60. Red de Vigilancia del Presupuesto Participativo de Cajamarca
61. RED MUQUI PERÚ- Red de Propuestas y Acción
62. Red Peruana por una Globalización con Equidad (RedGE)
63. Reflexión Democrática
64. Rocío Silva Santisteban Manrique - DNI 07822730
65. Salud Preventiva Andina
66. Servicios en Comunicación Intercultural Servindi (Perú)

 

 

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