Today is World Environment Day, a day observed every year on June 5 to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet.
There is an increasing demand for more information on the environmental impacts linked to extractive activities in order to assess their real costs, inform the debate and strengthen public participation in decision-making on policies and mining, oil and gas projects. People want to know in advance of extractive activities about the effects of the extractive industries on their environment.
Several of our coalitions have been campaigning for increased transparency in the extractive sectors and these are just some examples:
In Indonesia, lack of governance in the extractives relating to forest and land management has created problems which caused loss of national revenue, deforestation and environmental degradation. PWYP Indonesia has been working to raise awareness to this impact on the country’s environment and to address these. The Swandiri Institute, a PWYP member in the country, has built drones and used them to monitoring mining impact on the environment.
As Burkina Faso has seen its mining sector boom, in particular gold, a report was commissioned by the national EITI Secretariat to measure the transparency of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the mining sector. The first source of GHG emissions is the generation of electricity (60%) by thermal power plants for mining power requirements. Road transportation running on diesel of heavy machinery for mining work is the second cause of GHG emissions (31%). The other emission causes are the production of zinc and lead (8%) and waste management (1%). The PWYP coalition in the country has used these findings to campaign for better assess and mitigate this impact.
Bantay Kita / PWYP Philippines have been working with communities as extractive industries disrupt the way of life of many indigenous people’s communities in the Philippines. Their livelihood, health, environment and even social cohesion are affected once the big trucks start coming in and explore and haul their pristine ecology.
In Zambia and Zimbabwe, our coalitions have been recommending that mining companies must produce annual reports that capture social and environmental impacts.
Environmental organisations around the world have recently sent a letter to the EITI Board and Secretariat, calling for the standard to take into account the climate risk. In particular there has been a strong call from civil society organisations in Latin America to include environmental information in the EITI standard.
The environment isn’t a soft or an anti-modernity issue, it is material and intrinsically linked to the value and viability of an extractive project. It’s time to catch-up and incorporate environmental costs into all conversations about making natural resources work.