31 May 2012

Community Responses to New Energy Sources: role of IA: Discussion



Size of aboriginal communities in NT?

How long expecting the wells to be operational?

Has anyone thought about the aboriginal people owning some of the project or shares in the project?

Suggest that you might look at Nigeria and developing community trusts as a way to manage these royalties?

5-600 people

Expecting production for 6-10 years

Difficulty is that most of the land available is already taken by companies so we can't set up our own company but are looking at joint venture and looking at equity but many companies don't want to do it as we want to have free carry equity so all risks with the company (5% has been worked up).

Looking at setting up associations and kick-starting investments but still need to look at how to distribute the money.

Lot of literature on communal management of such monies .

Sierra Leone ethanol project, did not see many maternal health indicators?

How was monitoring developed?

What was the communities reactions and expectations? Has it increased trust or raised additional concerns?

With all the findings of the study, how much of the outcomes of the study how much of this was implemented and caapcity of company to implement; and is there a role for governments nd other stakeholders in monitoring?

We did have maternal health indicators - access to antenatal care and services provided, beast feeding practices, vaccination status of children

We recommended strengthening local health centres and using them to collect routine data to help with monitoring.

Food security was an issue and the project started a farmers development programme to enhance food security by improving food production and storage.

Also included health education within the programme of mitigation and enhancement.

Often communities can have research fatigue or see you as just another passing NGO. We had a good local partner which increased credibility with community and government.

Used existing studies and experiences to develop the mitigation measures and monitoring programme. Did include local health stakeholders. We identified who should do what in the management plan and suggested the project work with government and NGOs.

How can big oil and gas companies play a role in informing the debate without being accused of spinning the issues to their benefit?

Need to understand the regulatory process and that we work within that framework. Therefore we allow the due political process to take place and not act in the spirit of for example a moratorium on this in South Africa.

We also involve local water experts for example to guide our approach in a particular project. Developing a sensitivity analysis of the potential water impacts. Also funding research and science behind the key issues e.g. Development of a water atlas which has been put in the public domain for government and NGOs to use.


Reflections on the presentataions and the discussion

  • Conflict seems to be a key theme
  • Range of interests involved - substantive ( affecting water and sacred sites); process (regulatory and IA processes); emotive (personal and social narratives)
  • Mediation and negotiation process

Work in communities where millions of Rand go into a community and now people don't trust the Chief, the complexity is immense, how do you help communities make informed choices, see the short term benefits and miss the long term harm.


Try and use a range of approaches to communicate the information about the issues but often a single person makes the decision for the whole community even though some people disagree. This over time might lead to a breakdown in trust within the community. Changes people's values as they become more materialistic and money focused. Also where some communities benefit and get money and others don't then neighbouring communities ask why them and not us.

Would like to hear about what communities worry about e.g. In Sierra Leone project?

During the scoping study we had focus group discussion during a field visit and asked about what they perceived about their health and wellbeing and their concerns. We also do key informant I views and the Chief as well.


How far is HIA integrated with SIA given the internal conflicts that emerge in communities?

It's important to draw on the knowledge the emerges from both types of IA.

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