IGF Case Study: The Importance of Consultation and Engagement in Environmental and Social Impact Assessments
Environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) are important tools for helping governments decide whether to allow the development of a proposed mine. Critical to this process is deciding what conditions should be imposed and whether the development will benefit the project-affected communities. If the benefits of the project are not deemed acceptable to the surrounding communities, the mine is likely to encounter conflicts, such as protests, roadblocks, or other legal and illegal actions. Support and trust in governments can also erode if a project is approved without community support. Therefore, the ESIA is an essential process through which communities can influence project plans and provide meaningful input to government decisions. Project approvals should be granted only when there is general community support, also referred to as a social licence to operate.
This report provides background on how consultation and engagement can be integrated into legal frameworks regulating ESIA and mining, drawing from the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development’s (IGF’s) Guidance for Governments: Improving Legal Frameworks for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Management (2020).
This report highlights good legal frameworks that cover a mine’s life cycle and then looks at case studies that illustrate how different jurisdictions have further integrated mechanisms into their legal frameworks to address Indigenous Peoples and mining conflict. The report’s examples and case studies can be used by other jurisdictions to fill gaps and improve their ESIA legal frameworks.
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