sharing in governance of extractive industries
By Jasmin Blessing and Sarah Daitch
Our upcoming webinar will explore the work of community-based environmental monitoring committee, on January 24 and 25th at 9:00am – 10:45 EST. This webinar is part of our FREE NBSAP Forum & GOXI learning series -Environmental Governance of the Mining Sector. We hope participants will come away with a better understanding of how the Participatory Environmental Monitoring Committees work, what their role is, and what some of their strengths are, as well as the challenges they face. We will address the question of whether the committees can empower citizens to shape decision making on mining in their areas, and thus be a tool to prevent conflict from escalating. Cases from Peru and Mongolia will be used for discussion and sharing of experiences.
Community Based Environmental Monitoring Committees: a tool to build citizen participation in decision-making
For many developing countries, mineral extraction continues to be an important driver for economic growth with the potential to improve human development outcomes, in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, with mining also comes a risk of contamination to water and lands, upon which communities depend on for their lives and livelihoods.
A new approach is involving citizens in the environmental monitoring process. The Participatory Environmental Monitoring Committees (PEMCs) can be a community-based initiative, or in other instances are promoted by mining companies and local governments. They are tasked with monitoring the ongoing environmental impacts of mining activities. By providing a mechanism for citizen participation in assessing environmental information, PEMCs offer several benefits, including building citizen participation in decision-making, reinforcing environmental compliance and providing an opportunity to prevent conflict at an early stage.
What we have learned about community based monitoring from Peru:
In 2016, Peru’s Ombudsman’s Office noted that the majority of active social conflicts involved communities and mining companies, and were related to water issues. As a result, Participatory Environmental and Social Monitoring and Surveillance Committees were created to prevent these conflicts. In some cases, these monitoring committees have contributed to resolving disputes among the stakeholders (community, mining company, and state). The work completed in Peru demonstrated that meaningful and systematic participatory monitoring can prevent environmental impacts and linked social conflict, better positioning communities to participate in decision making about mining in their regions.
If you’d like to start the discussion about Participatory Environmental Monitoring Committees we’d welcome your comments, or thoughts in response to these questions:
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