Examples of coupled human and environmental systems from the extractive industry and hydropower sector interfaces

Castro, Maria C., Krieger, Gary R., Balge, Marci Z., Tanner, Marcel, Utzinger, Jürg, Whittaker, Maxine, and Singer, Burton H. (2016) Examples of coupled human and environmental systems from the extractive industry and hydropower sector interfaces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113 (51). pp. 14528-14535.

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Large- scale corporate projects, particularly those in extractive industries or hydropower development, have a history from early in the twentieth century of creating negative environmental, social, and health impacts on communities proximal to their operations. In many instances, especially for hydropower projects, the forced resettlement of entire communities was a feature in which local cultures and core human rights were severely impacted. These projects triggered an activist opposition that progressively expanded and became influential at both the host community level and with multilateral financial institutions. In parallel to, and spurred by, this activism, a shift occurred in 1969 with the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act in the United States, which required Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for certain types of industrial and infrastructure projects. Over the last four decades, there has been a global movement to develop a formal legal/regulatory EIA process for large industrial and infrastructure projects. In addition, social, health, and human rights impact assessments, with associated mitigation plans, were sequentially initiated and have increasingly influenced project design and relations among companies, host governments, and locally impacted communities. Often, beneficial community-level social, economic, and health programs have voluntarily been put in place by companies. These flagship programs can serve as benchmarks for community-corporate-government partnerships in the future. Here, we present examples of such positive phenomena and also focus attention on a myriad of challenges that still lie ahead.

Item ID: 47076
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1091-6490
Keywords: impact assessment, community health, corporate social responsibility
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 07:35
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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