Perspectives on community representation within the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative: experiences from south-east Madagascar
Smith, S. M., Shepherd, D. D. and Dorward, P. T. (2012) Perspectives on community representation within the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative: experiences from south-east Madagascar. Resources Policy, 37 (2). pp. 241-250. ISSN 0301-4207
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2011.01.001
This article critically examines the nature and quality of governance in community representation and civil society engagement in the context of trans-national large-scale mining, drawing on experiences in the Anosy Region of south-east Madagascar. An exploration of functional relationships between government, mining business and civil society stakeholders reveals an equivocal legitimacy of certain civil society representatives, created by state manipulation, which contributes to community disempowerment. The appointment of local government officials, rather than election, creates a hierarchy of upward dependencies and a culture where the majority of officials express similar views and political alliances. As a consequence, community resistance is suppressed. Voluntary mechanisms such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) advocate community stakeholder engagement in decision making processes as a measure to achieve public accountability. In many developing countries, where there is a lack of transparency and high levels of corruption, the value of this engagement, however, is debatable. Findings from this study indicate that the power relationships which exist between stakeholders in the highly lucrative mining industry override efforts to achieve "good governance" through voluntary community engagement. The continuing challenge lies in identifying where the responsibility sits in order to address this power struggle to achieve fair representation.