Friday, 29 May 2015

RESOURCE BLESSING, RESOURCE CURSE: LARGE SCALE NATURAL RESOURCE EXTRACTION

The extractive industries have the potential to significantly transform environments, communities and economies. At times, such transformation may manifest in conflicts or disputes between a resource developer and local communities, or even complete breakdown of the company’s social license to operate with associated costs for the company, local communities, and the broader public.

Large-scale natural resource extraction can only be met with the support of strong institutions engaged in the legislative process, monitoring compliance and environmental management practices, and promoting transparency. Without strong and committed institutions filling this role, the ꞌꞌRESOURCE BLESSINGꞌꞌ threatens to become a ꞌꞌRESOURCE CURSEꞌꞌ.
Smelting Works of a Copper Mine in Zambia
Exploiting the natural resources of a country is a powerful method for growing a nation’s economy and building the human, physical, and social capital needed for real national development. However if the sector is mismanaged and exploitation proceeds carelessly, natural resource extraction can be accompanied by increased corruption and reduced transparency, sow national disharmony, fuel economic inequality, and lead to irreparable environmental damage which poisons the source of peoples’ livelihoods for generations.

The enormous economic opportunity presented by these natural resource endowments has raised proportionally large concerns for sustainable environmental governance, revenue management, public health, community compensation and inter-generational justice.

Indeed many concerns are raised and I personally feel that, these concerns can be dealt with if we have many people/activists/CSOs/corporating partners that love and are interested in natural resources and deeply concerned about it’s destruction. People who are concerned with what the big corporations are doing in the name of making more profits but in the long run create more environmental problems and continue exploiting that which poor countries are endowed with.
Emerald Mining In Zambia
We need more activists, advocates and CSOs that are keen in ensuring that our environment is protected. For far too long the world’s poorest people have seen no benefit from the vast natural resources in their own backwards. It is time to end the injustice where ordinary people are silent witnesses, left to suffer without basic services, as the profits from their countries assets are hidden and plundered by corrupt regimes.

The power to save our natural resources and Zambia rests with the Zambian people. Remember that plans to protect air, water, soil, wilderness, wildlife and natural resources are in-fact plans to protect man.


We have fought for social justice. We have fought for economic justice. We have fought for gender justice. We have fought for Criminal Justice. Now we must add a new fight – the fight for environmental and climate justice.

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