sharing in governance of extractive industries

Hello everyone! I'm very excited to have joined you on this group and to be working on such interesting issues. I'm sure that even the smallest changes we can make on the environmental public administration of our countries, will have a huge impact over the lives of many people, especially of those more vulnerable.

On this discussion room I would like to share with you some of the things we have been doing for the implementation of the “Environmental Governance for Sustainable Natural Resource Management” project in Colombia and some of the main doubts and ideas (sometimes maybe too basics) that we have come up with during this process. I hope you can share also some of your thoughts and maybe together you can help us to find out the best way to follow up.

So far we have worked on the selection of the public agencies in charge of environmental licensing for mining projects that we will use for the assessment of the rule of law. In Colombia we will work in two scales, as Tiffany correctly explained on her post:

  • National scale with the Autoridad Nacional de Licencias Ambientales - ANLA (National Authority for Environmental Licensing) which is in charge of environmental licensing for large-scale mining projects.
  • Regional and local scale with the Corporación Autónoma Regional del Chocó - CODECHOCÓ (Choco’s Regional Autonomous Corporation) which is in charge of environmental licensing for medium to small-scale mining projects.

For both of those study cases we have worked on the identification of the stakeholders to survey. For the agencies staff it has been quite easy to identify who are the public servants that have been involved in the licensing process; nevertheless, we are afraid that, at least for the regional scale, there are just a few persons involved, so here are some questions:

1. According with the “Users’ Guide for Assessing Rule of Law in Public Administration” if the group of civil servants is small we should include as many as possible, but how many are too few? If we have identified no more than 5 persons, the conclusions of their surveys will be conclusive?

2. Should we include other staff members from the agency even if they are not directly involved with the environmental licensing process?

For the user surveys we have identified three groups of people whose experiences we think that could be useful for the analysis of RoLPA:

  • People within the area of influence of a mining project with environmental license, who are being impacted by the mining operation and who have participated, formally, in consultation provided in the environmental licensing process.
  • People within the area of influence of a mining project with environmental license, who are being impacted by the mining operation but who have not participated in consultation provided in the environmental licensing process. For example, their access to participate in meetings, forums, and so on, has not been facilitated, they do not know the project information, they cannot go to the meeting-consultation sites, etc.
  • People from the area of influence of a mining project with no environmental license, and who are being impacted by the non-formalized mining operation. According to the latest mining census in Colombia (2010-2011) more than 60% of the mining production units have no mining title, and therefore no environmental license. Consequently, there is no possibility of participation of people (potentially or in a real way impacted by the mining operation) in environmental decisions.

Now, about this we have also some questions:

3. Does it have sense to interview people who haven’t been directly users on the environmental licensing process? Our assumption is that those who haven’t participate in that process might not be able to do so due to RoLPA failings, and therefore it is worth to collect information from them. What do you think?

4. On the other hand, we have identified also people affected by illegal or non-formal mining projects (thus, projects without environmental licenses). Even though we did so because we think that they are probably the most vulnerable people, we have been debating about if the information they will give us could actually be useful to come up with recommendations for the inclusions of the rule of law principles on public administration, since their problem is that actually they are not having access to that public service. E.g. how can you ask someone how they feel about a given service, if they cannot have access to that service?

We have recently received the sample questionnaire surveys that have been modified from the RoLPA toolkit to be applicable to the environmental/mining sector. Right now we are working on improve it for the Colombian context but it’s not totally clear how to analyze the outcomes once the surveys are done. Then we are wondering:

5. Is there a methodology already established for the collecting and analysis of information?

6. How should we evaluate the answers to the surveys?

7. Which kind of quantitative and qualitative analysis can we conduct?

Finally, we would like to know in which state are the implementation of the projects in Mozambique, Kenia and Mongolia. We are positive that their experience could be very helpful for us.

I hope this post is not too confusing (apologies for my English) and I’m looking forward to reading any of your ideas about this.

Thanks, Felipe

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Replies to This Discussion

Hola Felipe!

Welcome to the group!

These are some very interesting and important questions that you are raising. I will need to think a little and then try to share some of my reflections.

No problem with the language! No need for perfect English here! Su Inglés es mucho mejor que mi español :)

All the best!


I’ve got to be honest on this; I’ve read this post more than 3 times. Not because it’s difficult to understand. No way! It’s just the more I read, the more I realize that we have a lot of work to do. Actually, I’ll follow Maria Nyholm’s example. I’m going to think a lot about this issue and try  to come up with something.

In the meantime your post gave me another idea: why not addressing the issue of “Rule of Law Assessment of Environmental Monitoring for Mining in Mozambique”?

So, I’m really interested in finding the answers for your questions as it will help establishing our own methodology.

Finally, more and more I realize that joining this GOXI platform was a great step for exchanging experiences.

About the English, relax. For many of us English is not our main language!!!

Thanx Felipe,


Hi Felipe,

A few thoughts from my side regarding one part of your question – on the users that could be targeted.

First, I do think it could be useful to also target users that may not have, as of yet, been involved in the environmental licensing process but that have an interest in the issue (and perhaps should have been involved..)

To be a bit more specific about who to target within the three broad user groups you propose, it seems worth considering the following:

-  Any representatives from other relevant local authorities that interact with ANLA (in the case of large scale mining licenses) or Choco CAR in different ways during the licensing process or that otherwise have an interest in the process

- Any existing informal small scale miners that are currently active in the area under consideration for licensing of large scale mining to . 

-Ensure a balance between different user groups - men, women, youth / elderly as well as any traditionally excluded groups

-  What about the mining companies themselves to hear their views on the process?

Hope this is helpful. 



Hi Felipe,

I would like to respond to your third and fourth questions.  

In assessing the rule of law it is important to not only consider it from the perspective of the government agencies, but also from the broader civil society -- and especially the most vulnerable, but also regulated entities.  Aside from the risk of bias (wherein government authorities may have an incentive to assert that they are doing everything they are supposed to), people often do not have access (as you point out) which fundamentally undermines the rule of law.

You might look at how other assessments have considered diverse perspectives.  For example, the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index (http://worldjusticeproject.org/rule-of-law-index) includes survey results from the general public and from experts.  While that survey focuses on the public in major cities, you would probably want to consider perspectives from rural citizens -- as they are the most affected by mining licenses and operations.

You might also consider disaggregating the survey results to examine whether there are different perceptions of women and men, urban and rural citizens, majority and minority groups, and so forth.  This sort of disaggregation can be useful in identifying where further consultation or other measures should be prioritized.

One final caveat ... as this is part of a broader process, you might want to consult the EGP project leaders before proceeding along these lines.





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