Re: ONLY VILLAGE CONMEN, WAIGANI THIEVES & FOREIGN INVESTORS WANT THESE MINES, LNG PROJECTJuly 5 2010 at 7:16 AM
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Response to Re: ONLY VILLAGE CONMEN, WAIGANI THIEVES & FOREIGN INVESTORS WANT THESE MINES, LNG PROJECT
The legal process is a tool of governance and more so, ensures impacts from development are absorbed by the country in a sustainable manner. Social, economic and environmental assessments are not merely formalities; they are basis of negotiating how the project is to be developed. They hold the information required to formulate the framework of the project. For example, if the economic assessment various support services contracts to landcos, than it is in the interest of the landcos to negotiate preferential tendering so that they are actively engaged in the project. They can further negotiate their percentage in the project. As was the case in the LBBSAs where they went from 2.5% to 7% and in the process, developed Business Development Grants that the government is to give to them as seed capital for mobilizing resources to develop those projects in the preferential arrangement.
For social impact assessments, analysis on education subsidies, health services and other social issues can all be negotiated. Than of course the environmental assessments. Yes, it is an analysis to identify the levels of pollution that is expectable for cohabitation and even the facts of this information can be negotiated.
The point is that we tend to throw in the towel so often thinking that because our people do not have the capacity and are unable to source credible advice, they are left high and dry.
The LBBSA negotiations have clearly demonstrated astute landowner negotiators. Theyre focus was economic and wealth creation and they succeeded in attaining 7% ownership, preferential supply of goods and services and lastly, education and health schemes for their people. We are not seeing much debate on the environmental assessments as it would appear that they are willing to trade that off for the gains they have made in the social and economic setting. Only time will tell, if what they negotiated for is worth what they traded off.
To many occasions, our people do not see the value of baseline studies and simply approve the recommendations without negotiating them. Than when they come into contact with someone that happens to read and write and show that they care, they draw from their thoughts on the development. Many of these good people they draw upon are more interested in the environmental aspects and take a very strong view that keeping the environment intact is good. All the while, encouraging the landowners to trade off social and economic development.
Im not going to try to argue the merits of their approach but what I so want to point out is that it was through baseline analysis from economic and social assessments that set the motion of negotiations. Fair enough, the information needs to be scrutinized by experts so that its balanced. But the point is that these studies in most occasions act as catalysts negotiations.