1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Blogs and Think Pieces by Keyword - Extractive industries

  • Surging or Subsiding? How Mining Sector Booms Impact Female Empowerment (4 May 2020) | Audrey Au Yong Lyn
    Mexico experienced a major mining boom as a result of the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, which produced sharp increases in the prices of precious metals mined in Mexico such as gold and silver. Mining is a male-dominated profession, so what happened to female welfare during the boom? This think piece discusses the results of a study of data from mining communities in Mexico before and during the boom on two significant determinants of female empowerment, namely intra-household decision making and intimate partner violence.
  • Squaring Urgency and Equity in the Just Transition Debate (13 Nov 2018) | Peter Newell
    Is it possible to accelerate transitions to a low-carbon society and economy in inclusive ways? Can rapidity be squared with attending to questions of equity and social justice? The question here then is less whether transitions can be just, but can rapid transitions also be Just Transitions?
  • Just Transition, States and Businesses (4 Jul 2018) | Diego Azzi
    One reason why climate change is such a complex and fascinating issue is that it affects everyone everywhere. It simultaneously touches upon a wide range of interests, both private and public. Within the climate negotiations space, Just Transition is a contentious issue for the various actors involved, primarily states and firms, as well as NGOs, social movements and trade unions that do their best to monitor and influence the negotiation outcomes.
  • The Energy Transition in India: Creating Decent and Inclusive Green Jobs for All? (7 Jun 2018) | Joachim Roth
    Around the globe, the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is accelerating. The economics behind this trend are simple to understand: between 2010 and 2017 solar, wind and renewable energy prices have fallen precipitously. In fact, they have fallen so fast that many of these technologies are now on a par with, if not more competitive than, fossil fuels. Although the benefits of cheaper and cleaner energy are undeniable, it is important to consider the many social and political challenges that need to be addressed if green transitions are to be effective and equitable. This think piece looks at the case of India to discuss how green jobs can become more decent and how to manage change in states that have depended on fossil fuels for their growth.
  • Contesting the Colour of a Just Transition in South Africa (3 May 2018) | Jacklyn Cock
    Reliant on heavy industry and coal-fuelled electricity, South Africa is one of the most carbon intense economies in the world. The Government has made commitments to reduce carbon emissions but is simultaneously promoting the expansion of coal. As resistance to coal is growing, a transformative approach to Just Transition has the potential to overcome differences that currently constrain unified action.
  • Fair Compensation and other Prerequisites to Mining for Development (31 Aug 2015) | Cielo Magno
    This piece challenges conventional approaches to a country’s economic development by suggesting a departure from the mainstream “mining for development” approach. It suggests that mining ventures should follow a set of preconditions that take into account other significant factors such as fair taxing schemes that benefit the state, clear transparency and accountability mechanisms, and an expanded monitoring scheme that covers environmental and social impacts of extractive activities.
  • Financing Development: Tangible Tools to give Meaning to Fine Words (19 Aug 2015) | Eddie Rich
    How can we move from fine words spoken at global conferences to actual results? For resource-rich countries, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process can provide a tangible set of policy actions that countries can take to help maximise the value of their extractive resources. These actions can contribute to strengthening government tax collection systems, making countries more attractive investment prospects, and generating informed public debate. Experiences in EITI countries show that these are the kinds of good practices that forthcoming global conferences should catalyse to help countries use their resources to finance development.
  • International Corporate Tax Reform is Critical to Financing Sustainable Development (6 Jul 2015) | Erika Dayle Siu
    The Third International Conference on Financing for Development presents an historic opportunity to make the commitments necessary to eradicate extreme poverty and reset the development trajectory on a sustainable path. While financing for the post-2015 development agenda must come from many sources, increasing tax revenue will be critical. Although capacity building efforts in developing country tax administrations have been partially successful in the past decade, much more can be done to reform the outdated international tax rules. This think piece argues tax reform is essential to mobilizing the resources required to achieve the SDGs, and surveys current reform efforts.
  • 'Crops' or 'Carats'? Interaction between gold mining and cocoa production and the livelihood dilemma in Amansie Central District of Ghana (30 Oct 2014) | Stephen Yeboah
    Gold mining and cocoa production co-exist and interact as vital livelihood strategies in Ghana. While gold mining and agriculture complement each other in terms of income and labour flows, they also compete significantly for land and water resources. Drawing upon qualitative fieldwork in the Amansie Central District of Ghana, this think piece argues that despite its substantial income-generating potentials, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is not a complete substitute of agriculture because predominantly young farmers (those below 50 years) choose to mine. ASM complements the income of these farmers. Cocoa production remains an important economic activity for a majority of the farmers, as the one that they have long lived with. Farming is also more sustainable than ASM. I argue again that though ASM generates income for some farmers, the costs of its activities in terms of collective loss of vast agricultural lands and water pollution diminish these benefits.
  • African Mining, Gender and Local Employment (10 Oct 2014) | Anja Tolonen
    Large scale mining operations have been accused of being economically isolated enclaves, with few positive benefits to nearby communities. In addition, it has been argued that extractive industries hinder women’s labour market participation by increasing reservation wages (the lowest wage rate at which a worker is willing to accept a job) and decreasing demand for female labour, thus reinforcing gender inequality. This think piece builds upon original research performing the first cross-national study using micro-data testing these important hypotheses. We treat mine openings and mine closings in sub-Saharan Africa as natural experiments to explore local labour market changes. We partly refute and partly confirm the above arguments. Industrial mines generate local structural shifts. Subsistence farming becomes less important for both men and women: men shift to skilled manual labour, and women shift to service sector jobs or leave the labour market. The effects are not persistent and mining risks creating local ‘boom-bust’ economies.
  • Activists and Extractive Industries: An Alliance Against Social Development? (23 Jul 2014) | Martin Tengler
    This paper argues that activists and corporations in extractive industries depend on each other for power. This might seem to be a positive outcome for social development. However, activists do not always have a positive impact on social development. In fact, relying too much on activist interventions creates a risk of government and public complacency, which shifts discursive power toward extractive industry corporations. This paper argues that if extractive industries are to have a positive impact on social development, the state needs to break the activist-corporate dependence cycle.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Oil in the Niger Delta: Solution or Part of the Problem? (23 Jul 2014) | Michael Marchant
    Much recent development thinking has considered the ability of the private sector to play a developmental role in areas lacking a state presence. This think piece casts doubt onto this perspective by assessing the obstacles that the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) has faced in enacting CSR policies in the Niger Delta. It suggests that the complex nature of conflict in the Niger Delta, along with Shell’s organizational structure and culture have been two primary obstacles. However, it also argues that Shell’s reluctance to acknowledge its own role in the conflict within the Delta has undermined its CSR. Ultimately, it is suggested that this speaks to a fundamental problem with the belief in CSR as a solution to the current absence of state institutions in many areas; namely that it ignores the corporation’s own contribution to the social, political and economic problems facing the communities that they operate in.
  • Extractive industries, power struggles and the battle of ideas (23 Jul 2014) | Karolien van Teijlingen
    Over the past decade, there has been rapid growth and expansion of the extractive industries in the Amazon, accompanied by a rise in social mobilization and conflicts. This think piece scrutinizes the discourses that have been used, and are still being used, to legitimize powerful actors’ interventions in the extractive industries and local social development in this region. Various examples from South America confirm that rather antiquated top-down discourses of resource abundance and progress still guide the interventions of states and companies, despite recent discursive innovations of the concepts of sustainable and harmonious development. In some cases however, counter-discourses gain ground and enable marginalized communities to take control over their own social development. This think piece concludes by inviting actors involved in extraction-related conflicts, in particular young scholars, to critically consider the role of discourses and discursive power.
  • Paving a national avenue on top of a complex network of trails: Contentions around mineral extraction in Ecuador (23 Jul 2014) | Duygu Avci
    Since his election in 2007, Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa has embarked on a post-neoliberal development strategy based on mineral extraction. The main justification of the government for promoting mineral extraction is that it will serve the ‘national interest’ and provide the resources to finance social policy. Although mineral wealth, if properly managed, can contribute to social development, pursuing this strategy at all costs might indeed prove counter-productive for the long-term development of the country. In some particular places, extractive activities might threaten diverse social experiments with alternative models of development, and harm processes of institutional innovation and social learning. What can be learned from such social experiments can potentially be important for facing future development challenges in a world characterized by complexity and uncertainty. A more integral development strategy should take such complexity and uncertainty seriously and allow diverse social experiments to multiply and flourish.
  • Transforming Extractive Industries in the Philippines: Locating Spaces for People’s Participation in Mining Policies (31 May 2012) | Marie Joyce Godio
    Many in the Philippines consider mining an important industry that generates employment, taxes and foreign exchange earnings. But such economic potential is not translating into the well-being of local communities. More often than not, resource extraction is associated with social conflict and environmental degradation. The 1995 Philippine Mining Code requires environmental monitoring and includes provisions for public consultation. According to the author, however, these processes are often mired in corruption; a lack of transparency and consultation means that the communities most affected are deprived of their right to determine how best to use their resources and the freedom to define their own development.