Why is it that many regions that abound with mineral resources are the most miserable places, keeping their inhabitants in an iron grip of conflict, poverty and disease? The root causes are complicated and differentiated, but greed, lack of transparency and lack of responsibility are some obvious reasons. New Routes 2.2010 elucidates this topic from a number of different angles with a somewhat provocative question: Extractive Industries – What’s the problem?

The effects – and side-effects – of Extractive Industries touch on people’s lives in a wide range of situations: among producers, sellers, buyers, users … Therefore this issue of New Routes needs to be widely spread. In your networks you have a large number of potential readers. Do let them know about this thematic issue! It will be distributed from June as hard copy and can also be downloaded in four colour PDF format from www.life-peace.org

The articles offer examples from, among others, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Guinea and Colombia.

Tags: Extractive industries, Life & Peace Institute, New Routes, Nonviolent conflict transformation

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Thanks for sharing this. I've been asking myself the same question for years it lead me to leave the industry as a Geologist and now I'm researching into how to prevent the resouce curse in Ghana as we should start oil production this year.
Is an issue that is currently affecting us in Sierra Leone especially with Koindu Holding a diamond mining conpany in kono Distrcit and Sierral Routile in Monyamba District. People's lives are in serious threat, there is a great potential of environmental degradation without these industries meeting their cooperate responsiblities. Though civil society organizations are relentlessly advocating for improving the livelihood of affected people yet remained lack of transpancy and responsiblities from stakeholders who are under obligation to meet people's interest.
I cannot agree more on the concerns relating to this issue. We in Papua New GUinea are faced with this issue since early 1970's when mining and forestry industries started operating in our country. It is increasingly evident that instead of the well being and peaceful livelihood of the resource owners among themselves, between resource owners and their governments, and most significantly between the resource owners and the extractive developers. It seemed our abundant natural resources are not blessings rather curse on us. Proceeds from these major developments cause us more conflicts, disharmony, and other vices such as greed and misuse of these funds for personal gratification. The other side effects are that our public servants become greedy and manipulative. They have become corrupt by colluding with greedy members of the resource owners and siphon off parts of the royalties for the rural landowners or create reasons for themselves to use these monies belonging to the resource owners.
We at Freedom Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation are grateful for this initiative and are keen to learn more of how the issue can be addressed. What can we do and who is there for us to call upon for guidance and ideas to address the issue?

Thank you once again.
Basil Peutalo
Director, FSLF
Thanks for sharing,well it is a hot issue for discussion in Uganda.Currently the debate is on about oil as a resource,in terms of exploitation.Am very passionate about the issue as a practitioner,researcher and scholar.This is a good idea for insights as far as extractive industry is concerned.
Thank you very much
Tom Kisembo Balemesa
Peace Consultant in Uganda.
It is obvious from other responses that paradoxical relationships between enormousity in natural endowment of country and poverty line becomes peculiarity of African States. In Nigeria , whosoever ignorant of 'under-lived' status of Nigerian would presume life full of 'matured-existence' for them (Nigerians). In spite Blair's EITI initiative in 2003, most of extractive industries in African States still loom in corruption, which undermines its growth and consequently affects the economy at large. What i think should be done is to pray for a divine reformation. This divine should, indeed, be our handiwork as we should work towards a reformable and credible elections and electoral processes. This would invariably install representative government that could enuciate people-oriented policies and appoint a morally upright personalities to occupy salient position in the economy.
If you look at the compensation packages (salary, use of goods and services, catering, etc) of the CEOs, VPs, Majority Shareholders and Crony Consultants, then you realize that so many corners have to be cut to enable this. Not only that, but many of the executives spouses, children and social circle members also receive compensation for generally contributing nothing. Especially since the commodities trading markets have prices not based on true cost of extracting these resources ethically and safely, with people receiving the proper compensation for their energy and time contribution.

Pricing for minerals and resources have to change to actual cost of clean extraction, meaning no damaged ecosystems and societies.

" http://zh-cn.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=141194563292&topic=13312 "
If you happen to use facebook, check out the proposal for a Simultaneous Global Ceasefire for 11/11/2010
" http://zh-cn.facebook.com/event.php?eid=295274480091&ref=mf "

followed by an Ecologically Sustainable Global Societal Model Adoption for 11/11/2011
" http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Simultaneous-Adoption-of-an-Ecologically-Sustainable-Global-Societal-Model/166375859682?ref=ts "

Then we could accomplish tasks without destroying ourselves, humanity and without destroying everything that sustains us, which very importantly, includes a diverse and healthy ecosystem.

Cheers and Thanks,
Chris Curpen
All Possible to Fulfill
There are indeed a lot to be wondered about the reality of the so called resource curse pervading the African continent. It is regrettable as it is unfortunate that mostly African states with resource abundance are wallowing in abject poverty. Unfortunate too is that, despite many years of scholarly and action research and study of this subject especially as it concerns African cases, nothing much has been achieved in the way of correcting this obvious anomaly. For related reasons, I am currently researching on Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs) as signed in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. The study is specifically searching for reasons why IBAs and related partnership agreements singed by the Niger Deltans and their oil company partners have not succeeded as to curb many of the natural resouces-related conflicts in the zone. It is indeed surprising that this same type of agreements have been applied rather successfully in places like Canada and Australia. What possible geo-social and eco-political peculiarities of the African continent has made it resistant to such restructuring? I will appreciate inputs in this regard or in a general Natural Resources Conflict perspectives. I believe this issue deserves our attention as we look forward to achieving peace someday.
In my last comment, I beckoned at good governance as a means to effective management of natural resources. The notion of good governance revolves around a 'productive' leadership that tailored its activities towards creating society that devoid of corruption, dishonesty and other development vices. In a related manner, the leadership would adeptly reckon with committed monitoring and implementation mechanism that would be elemental to 'development state'. So, skepticism towards workability of IBAs would gone into oblivion.
This is Capitalism without any rules. Our Government and our companies have an obvious obligation to set the rules, even if there is corruption within that particular country, there still should be laws and a 'department' that over sees our companies; Coke, oil companies, Nike, Walmart are a few of thousands of companies that have a different standard on life, the countries ecology and resources. Look at Haiti, we brought the companies in and they paid the people pennies. There is no such thing as the 'trickle down theory'. If it's not standard in a certain country, we should have the same human rights for all, and it should be a law.
I am afraid even if the human rights beocmes a law, and I believe this has been enforced through the various UN instruments the cause for conflict and disrespect to human rights is still there: in the government of the day and whatever powers that is there. In my country our laws are blatantly interpreted and applied in terms of the interest of whoever is in power, or just blatantly ignored and allow the developers to do business as usual. On the other hand, fault is not always on the developer and the corrupt governemnt and officials. Where there is pervasive ignorance and illiteracy in the community, there is no collective and widespread objection and rejection of illegal and destructive activities by extractive and multimillioaire companies. Education is one key tool to eradicate and prevent corrupt and illegal practices by extractive developers and corrupt governments.
Very good insight, thank you, Mr. Peutalo. I do know it's been milled through the UN; it's outcome, I'm unaware of. Education is always the best avenue especially if one doesn't know their rights. To many this is a way of life I'm sure, the wages (if any) child labor; so many issues. I think with an issues as this,
any and every way should be looked into. It's very sad to me to think that some will always be poor, when things can be different.


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