Posted tagged ‘policy’

OBSERVATIONS AND POSSIBLE ADVOCACY POSITIONS REGARDING THE MINING SECTOR

December 26, 2013

OBSERVATIONS AND POSSIBLE ADVOCACY POSITIONS REGARDING THE MINING SECTOR

April 28, 2008

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Date: 10 February 2005

 

[Written for the Office of the President/multi-agency task force on mining advocacy.]

 

BACKGROUND

 

The paper summarizes the observations of this analyst regarding the mining sector. Some prospective advocacy positions are advanced at the concluding part of the report. The references were largely the Mining Act and related reports coming from the DENR

 

Being a constituency-enabling agency, this organization most appropriately considers the ‘constituency criterion’ in addressing problems/issues of advocacy. That is, in regard to mining, the relevant question is: do the constituency groups benefit at all from a revitalized mining sector? This paper will try to answer this question in particular.

 

DEFINITION OF TERMS

 

For easier comprehension, a number of key terms are operationally defined as follows:

 

State: Government of the Republic of the Philippines, with all of its agencies and instrumentalities.

 

Market: All economic institutions aimed at seeking profits, notably: single proprietorships, partnerships and corporations.

 

Civil Society: Non-profit institutions, specifically: NGOs, Peoples Organizations or POs, brotherhoods/sisterhoods & civic clubs, associations (in the generic sense) and cooperatives and social enterprises (civil society with market functions).

 

Community: Territorially-bound, localized grouping of people, with associational life and unique culture.

 

Constituencies: Social sectors, localized community groups.

 

POTENTIALITIES, BARRIERS, ADDRESSING PROBLEMS

 

The developmental and wealth-producing potentials of the mining sector are enormous. The sector is noticeably in the doldrums though. Inspite of the enormous levels of mineral resources possessed by the nation, the (mining) sector produces only around 1% of the GDP, and employs merely 104,000 human resources or 0.30% of the labor force.  Barriers to entry of market players combine institutional, policy, fiscal, technological, environmental, infrastructural and micro-level productions factors. A combination of technological, environmental and financial factors led to the closure of big metallic mineral producers in particular (i.e. Atlas , Marcopper, Lepanto, Dizon).

 

Legislative measures were enacted to address the policy side of the sector.  Among these are: (a) Presidential Decree No. 1899, “Establishing Small-Scale Mining As A Dimension In Mineral Development,” and (b) Republic Act No. 7942, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. DENR Administrative Order No. 96-40 was put into place in 1997 to serve as the administrative framework of the sector.

 

A debate raged for some time regarding the constitutionality of the Mining Act. The debate had since been resolved, with the Supreme Court deciding to defend the legality and propriety of permitting foreign investors to engage in mining within the Philippine territory, both onshore and offshore, at a 100% ownership scheme. The SC decision finally resolved a key policy barrier, and is expected to lead to synergy of efforts between the state and the market to revitalize mining activities and increase mining’s contribution to GDP in the short run.

 

POLICY ENVIRONMENT AMID SHIFTING POLITICAL REALITIES

 

Based on a review of the Mining Act of 1995, it can be inferred that the policy environment for the sector had become more definitive. Such a definitiveness had encouraged more market players to signify their intention to participate in the sector, from exploration to extraction. However, ambiguities lie in the operational side of the policy, which has implications to revising the present policy. It is quite premature to say though that a comprehensive national policy on mining prevails, this being the product of series of trilateral talks among state, market and civil society players.

 

As can be observed from the introductory provisions of the law, mining intervention is largely a state-market synergy. To quote Section 2 (Declaration of Policy) of Chapter 1 (Introductory Provisions):

 

It shall be the responsibility of the State to promote their rational exploration, development, utilization and conservation through the combined efforts of government and the private sector…

 

Such a policy statement that delimits mining to a state-market synergy, without civil society provision, is explained by the fact that liberal economic policies were the wave of the past three (3) decades when the law came out. The ‘ideological field’ changed the states’ role from ‘provider state’ to ‘enabler state’, while providing greater space for market players to operate—presumably on ‘level playing field’. The policy regime comprised of: liberalization, deregulation, privatization, decentralization, tax reforms, downsizing, and liberalized currency exchange.

 

However, while the policy statement excluded civil society, the other chapters of the law provides for the roles of civil society players along the various phases of mining operations. Invariably mentioned were the following players: NGOs, cooperatives, associations, indigenous cultural communities or IPs, and local communities. This is in addition to small-scale miners covered by previous laws.

 

Such a recognition of civil society as industry stakeholder is a response to the broad challenges posed by a strong civil society on state and market players to fast-track the  redistribution of power, resources and values. Even traditionally market-oriented sectors and engagements must provide space for civil society to participate in the sector, while corporate social responsibility turned into a powerful wave in the corporate world.

 

In sum, using a typical cost-benefit analysis, the policy environment has become more definitive so as to ensure that a revitalized mining would economically benefit market players, most specially but not exclusively corporate players, as well as government coffers in terms of added taxation (e.g. excise tax). However, there are remaining kinks concerning the social and economic benefits of communities and constituencies, or civil society, that must be addressed. Hopefully, a Comprehensive National Policy will eventually address the ambiguities in the constituency side of the equation.

 

While relevant issues concerning civil society stakeholders are not sufficiently addressed, thorny questions will be raised and tensions will prevail during the implementation of the Mining Act. Many detractors will claim that civil society has been reduced to a kibitzer in the Mining Act and related documents, a contention that is not altogether invalid. The Mining Act campaign of government will also be largely biased for market players in the absence of more definitive provisions for civil society benefits. The constituency side must therefore be addressed with immediacy and dispatch, to avoid making the mining sector a mitigating factor in destabilization campaigns.

 

PROVISIONS CONCERNING CONSTITUENCIES/CIVIL SOCIETY

 

Non-Governmental Organizations

 

Among the functions of NGOs is policing mining activities. Ch. 2 (Authority of the  Bureau) stipulates that “the Director may deputize, when necessary, …duly registered nongovernmental organization (NGO) or any qualified person to police all mining activities.”

 

Another important role of NGOs concerns the environmental side of mining. Section 70 (Environmental Impact Assessment) under Chapter 11 (Safety and Environmental Protection) stipulated the following:

 

That a completed ecological profile of the proposed mining area also constitute part of the environmental assessment. People’s organizations and nongovernmental organizations shall be allowed and encouraged to participate in ensuring that contractors/permittees shall observe all the requirements of environmental protection.

 

 

Indigenous Peoples

 

The Mining Act was very clear about IPs as stakeholders in the sector, from the exploration phase through the post-production phases such as royalty provisions. Chapter 3 (Scope of Application) contained two (2) relevant sections on IPs, to note:

 

Sec . 16. Opening of Ancestral Lands for Mining Operations. No ancestral land shall be opened for mining operations without the prior consent of the indigenous cultural community concerned.

 

Sec. 17. Royalty Payments for Indigenous Cultural Communities. In the event of an agreement with an indigenous cultural community pursuant to the preceding section, the royalty payment, upon utilization of the minerals shall be agreed upon by the parties. The said royalty shall form part of a trust fund for the socio-economic well-being of the indigenous cultural community.

 

It can be remarked that the provisions are progressive enough. However, Section 17 does not contain specific  benchmark ceilings that define how much can the IP community receive as royalties. In the absence of such a benchmark ceiling, the IP group can end up at the losing end, as royalties can be defined in the marginal figures by the mining companies involved. Also, corrupt leader-officials from the IP side can appear on the scene to aggrandize a large portion of the royalties.

 

Not only that. IP groups can always cite the USA case as the most progressive instance of IP treatment. In the USA today, various ‘affirmative action’ measures have taken place to ensure that the native Americans become co-owners of gambling centers, tourist spots and various market concerns in their localities. Many native Americans today own middle class residential structures and live middle class lives precisely because they all benefit as being co-owners rather than just be treated as beneficiaries of trickles from ambiguous royalties. The mining sector doesn’t seem to be prepared to cross swords with any IP group citing the USA case.

 

Cooperatives and Associations

 

Cooperatives and associations were clearly stipulated as among the permissible participating market players in the sector. They were lumped up together with partnerships and corporations, notably in Chapter IV (Exploration Permit). The chapter defined the geographical limits of operations by market players, without discriminating against any particular form of stakeholder.

 

Whether in onshore or offshore operations, the limits applying to partnerships and corporations will likewise be benefited by cooperatives and associations. Let us cite for example Secion 22 (Maximum Areas for Exploration Permit):

 

 

(a)    Onshore, in any province –

For partnerships, corporations, cooperatives, or associations, two hundred (200) blocks.

(b)   Onshore, in the entire Philippines –

For partnerships, corporations, cooperatives, or associations, four hundred (400) blocks.

      © Onshore, beyond five hundred meters (500 m) from the mean low tide level –

For partnerships, corporations, cooperatives, or associations, one thousand (1,000) blocks.

 

Corollary provisions in Chapter 5 (Mineral Agreements) also stipulated the same stakeholders as participating market players. The chapter set the limits on maximum areas for mineral agreements, without discriminating against any form of stakeholder, inclusive of cooperatives and associations.

 

There was no clear definition, however, of association. Just exactly what sort of associations can participate in mining intervention in a given area? This question must be answered by the operating guidelines affecting the sector.

 

[Note: 1 block approximately equals 81 hectares.]

 

Marginal Miners

 

Aside from stating that a previous law (RA 7076) already defined the scope and limits of participation by small-scale miners in the sector, the Mining Act also contained important provisions affecting the said miners. Chapters 4 and 5 referred to them as ‘individual miners’, with maximum ceilings of geographical areas considerably smaller that those of partnerships, corporations, cooperatives and associations.

 

Mining Communities

 

The Mining Act also cared to ensure the development of mining communities. Chapter 10, titled “Development of Mining Communities, Science and Technology,” articulated on provisions about the locality being a beneficiary of a mining intervention within its folds. Section 57 (Expenditure for Community Development and Science and Mining Technology) states: “A contractor shall assist in the development of its mining community, the promotion of the general welfare of its inhabitants, and the development of science and mining technology.”

 

Another section of the same chapter, Sec. 61 (Donations/Turn Over Of Facilities), defined how a mining community can benefit from the post-operational facilities left behind by a mining operator. The section stipulates the following:

 

…Prior to cessation of mining operations occasioned by abandonment or withdrawal of operations, on public lands by the contractor, the latter shall have a period of one (1) year therefrom within which to remove his improvements; otherwise, all the social infrastructure and facilities shall be turned over or donated tax-free to the proper government authorities, national or local, to ensure that said infrastructure and facilities are continuously maintained and utilized by the host and neighboring communities.

 

Labor

 

First of all, the latest mining law is very friendly towards children, and strictly prohibits child labor. Section 64 (Mine Labor) under Chapter 11 (Safety and Environmental Protection)  contained the following unambiguous provision: “No person under sixteen (16) years of age shall be employed in any phase of mining operations and no person under eighteen (18) years of age shall be employed underground in a mine.”

 

Labor in FDI (foreign direct investments) controlled firms have relevant provisions for Filipino labor, as contained in Chapter 10 (Development of Mining Communities, Science and Technology). To cite the key provisions:

 

Sec. 59. Training and Development. A contractor shall maintain an effective program of manpower training and development throughout the term of the mineral agreement and shall encourage and train Filipinos to participate in all aspects of the mining operations, including the management thereof. For highly-technical and specialized mining operations, the contractor may, subject to the necessary government clearances, employ qualified foreigners.

 

Sec. 62. A contractor shall give preference to Filipino citizens in all types of mining employment within the country insofar as such citizens are qualified to perform the corresponding work with reasonable efficiency and without hazard to the safety of the operations. The contractor, however, shall not be hindered from hiring employees of his own selection, subject to the provision of the Commonwealth Act No. 613, as amended, for technical and specialized work which in his judgement and with the approval of the Director, required highly-specialized training or long experience in exploration, development or utilization of mineral resources: Provided, that in no case shall each employment exceed five (5) years or the payback period as represented in original project study, whichever is longer…

 

While the provisions are sterling instances of ‘affirmative action’ measures for Filipino labor, certain quarters can raise the howl that labor is treated in the traditional way as wage labor. There is no provision at all that stipulates a far more progressive scheme on profit sharing. We may as well anticipate such howls to come, added to another age-old issue of  ‘nationalization’ pertaining to the sector.

 

Environment

 

The concern for ecological balance was taken up in one whole chapter (Ch. 11/Safety and Environmental Protection). This chapter signifies the changes in developmental approaches, in that this time around development cannot be left to market forces alone. The risk to a purely market-driven development is the further degradation of the environments and destruction of human habitats mitigated by severe ecological damages. Section 63 stipulates provisions on mines safety and environmental protection. Section 64 defines mine labor, as previously mentioned.

 

Other interesting and relevant sections are: Section 68 (Reports of Accidents), which penalizes mining firms that fail to report mining-related accidents within a given time; Section 69 (Environmental Protection), which mandates participating market players to undertake an environmental protection and enhancement program; Section 70 that mandates the conduct of Environmental Impact Assessment, with civil society participation as mentioned earlier; and, Section 71 (Rehabilitation) that requires contractors and permittees to “technically and biologically rehabilitate the excavated mined-out, tailings covered and disturbed areas to the condition of environmental safety…,” with stiff penalties for failing to undertake rehabilitation.

 

EFFECTING WINNABLE ADVOCACY BY CLARIFYING POLICY & OPERATIONAL AMBIGUITIES

 

This analyst argues that the mining campaign could be a potentially winnable one, and can be a focal point to reverse prevailing perceptions about the state. It is further argued that the crux of the winnability lies in providing clearer, unambiguous guarantees to the social benefit & acceptability aspect of the entire mining sector. The following positions are advanced for deliberations and adoption:

 

Draft a Comprehensive National Mining Policy. Such a policy must pay respect to the evolving trend of tripartite state-market-civil society synergy in all forms of developmental endeavors and all phases of program and project execution. The national policy must ensure that constituencies are co-partners in the sector and are not just mere kibitzers that can ‘perform a role’ when contingencies arise.

 

Call for a Mining Summit that should involve precisely the three (3) sectoral stakeholders, namely: state, market, civil society. The output of the summit should be clear, definitive and doable policy agenda that can serve as input for the drafting of the national policy and revision of the mining act to incorporate the changes in the policy framework.

 

Revise the mining act in accordance with the summit covenant drafted and adopted thereof. The law should not just limit the participation of NGOs to monitoring activities and the conduct of EIAs but should be broadened to include  participation in the periodic review and assessment of the entire mining industry and drafting of policy covenants in the succeeding years.

 

Define specific benchmark ceilings for the royalties that should go to the IP communities where mining is involved. Such a ceiling should not be lower than five percentum (5%) of the income after taxes derived from the specific cite. [5% is the standard brokerage fee in various enterprises.] The accounting system that can define the benchmark should likewise be clearly defined. The basis for the royalty should be ‘social capital’, which means that the norms, values, institutions of the community must be properly valuated and regarded as equity or equivalent for royalty purposes.

 

Define clearly what ‘association’ means, by defining who can constitute an ‘association’ that can participate as a market stakeholder. Should local, broad-based community associations be involved in mining, as co-partners of partnerships, corporations and cooperatives, than the ‘social capital’ of the members should be considered as an equity capital equivalent to no less than five percentum (5%) of the authorized capital requirements for the concerned mining project.

 

Stiffer penalties on those market stakeholders that violate child labor policies should be added to the mining act. Section 64, Chapter 11 of the law should be amended accordingly.

 

Provide incentives to partnerships and corporations that will share profits to their laborers. The higher the percentage of profits shared to the workers at any given time, the greater the incentives, notably tax incentives.

 

 

END

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PH PRESIDENT AQUINO: CROCODILE’S SMOKESCREEN

April 15, 2011

PH PRESIDENT AQUINO: CROCODILE’S SMOKESCREEN

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Noynoy Aquino, flagbearer of the Liberal Party for the presidency, has been in power for almost a year now. He continues to exude incorruptibility. True that may be, but as I declared in an article of mine writ during the campaign period, he is a mere smokescreen for crocodiles.

Aquino’s first year will be completed by June yet, and we already have reports of anomalous dealings by officials he appointed. Not only are many of his appointed cabinet members down to assistant secretaries highly incompetent, many of them have already shown their true colors as dirty corrupt officials. Let us wait for another eight (8) months or so, and see how the ‘short list’ of grafters will mutate to a ‘long list’.

Let’s reflect back on the article I wrote more than a year ago yet about the ‘crocodile syndrome’ among the people surrounding him then. As we reflect and discuss, insurgencies of the Maoists and Muslim secessionists continue, insurgencies that are part caused by ‘bureaucrat capitalism’ of graft & corruption.

[Philippines, 10 April 2011]

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NOYNOY: CROCODILES’ SMOKESCREEN

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza
07 January 2010

Noynoy Aquino, presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, has been projecting an image of an anti-graft crusader for some couples of years now. To recall, he was cajoled by his Mama, the late president Corazon Aquino, to join the anti-GMA movement precisely on the issue of good governance.

After his Mama’s death, public sentiment blew the winds of electoral fortune for Noynoy to take on the Aquino’s unblemished mantle and run as president of the republic. Seeing this groundswell of public sympathy arising from his Mama’s departure, vested interests of every shade found a window of opportunity to reap future rewards as largesse of a would-be victorious campaign of Cory Aquino’s son.

Indeed, as shown by preliminary information that reached my ears late last year, Noynoy is surrounded by diverse vested interest groups that (a) couldn’t see each other eye-to-eye and (b) are in active search for a smokescreen for their largesse pursuits. Some of the leading elements were former Ramos- and Erap-era bureaucrats, while others served GMA during her early heydays. Some others represent ideological blocs that are known for their classic opportunism, obstructionism, factionalism, and ‘termite behavior’.

Anyone who is interested to do serious empirical studies on graft and rent-seeking is advised to start with the Noynoy camp. There are couples of circles surrounding Noynoy, all of which the bachelor has no control over.

• Friends and kins comprise a ring of influence-peddlers. This ‘circle’ alone comprises a diversity of “we-bulong” factions that somehow show a semblance of goodwill though on a superficial level. A Noynoy presidency would serve as bread-winning opportunity for the crocodiles within them, in case Noynoy wins.

• Experts comprise another ring of potential state carpetbaggers. While the first ring shows semblance of mutual goodwill, the experts’ ring hardly shows such goodwill at all. During the crafting of Noynoy’s platform, the factions couldn’t even see each other eye-to-eye to iron out the agenda. No wonder that the final platform turned out as a hodge-podge of mother statements that was haphazardly finished to meet the deadline of the Comelec for registration. All of these factions are crocodile nests.

• Civil society groups comprise yet another ring. The Black & White Movement, largely a social democratic-controlled coalition, seems to have the strongest “bulong power” which renders the other social democratic or ‘soc-dem’ factions ‘outside the kulambo’. The unconsolidated state of these diverse groups make it so tough for volunteers to join the Noynoy camp, as they are pressed to identify first of all which faction could be most friendly to them. The top crocodile here is led by a former GMA cabinet member whose coalition received funds from treasuries when her sibling was finance secretary.

• The Liberal Party comprises the final inner ring. Final, because this serves as Noynoy’s homebase group being a party-mate. Fr. Intengan’s ‘soc-dem’ cadres are well entrenched in the directorate and think-tank of the party (even as another Intengan ‘soc-dem’, Norbie Gonzales, is in the GMA camp). The same ‘soc-dems’ possess a lifeline in Europe—the Eurosocialists and Jesuits—who can use them for Europe’s own Bonapartist agenda. Meanwhile, other kibitzer liberals, who are simply eager to waft in the energy of the Noynoy upsurge to gain respective electoral mileage, are just that: kibitzers whose fragmentary opinions wouldn’t weigh as much as the Intengan Euro-bonding puppets and the stalwart oldies.

I was almost lured into the Noynoy trap right after the burial of the Tita Cory. But after receiving information about the inner rings and realizing the power of the Primal-Corruptitious among the crocodile leaders, I decided against this pro-Noynoy option.

Maybe Noynoy should present clear credentials of a true-and-honest saintliness that may make his words worth the salt of the earth. He is hardly any perfected human who merits my attention, which makes it all clear that the country needs a leader—a true leader who’s most experienced, prepared, and has made enormous sacrifices as prelude to his preparation for a feat with Destiny—other than Noynoy.
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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs & website anytime!
Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

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BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

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ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

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PHILIPPINE BANKS HEALTHY FOR THE BIG CHALLENGES AHEAD

March 25, 2011

PHILIPPINE BANKS HEALTHY FOR THE BIG CHALLENGES AHEAD

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to you fellow global citizens!

The world reels anarchic over the geological ramblings in Japan-New Zealand-China and the tumult of the Arab peoples. These events cast veils on the clarity of the economic boom now going on in Asia, and so let me be among those who will project the boom side every now and then. Among such good news is the readiness of Asian banks for the bigger economic battles ahead, a trend that includes the Philippines’ banks.

Do recall that the Asian financial meltdown came in ’97, triggering recessions, mass lay-offs, manufacturing slumps, and heightened poverty. The policy environment then was one of free trade in the movements of finance and money across borders, which enticed portfolio capital to swamp Asia. Regulators were therefore caught off guard by the currency attacks fomented by the Anglo-European oligarchs fronted by the Quantum Group of George Soros.

Asia’s banks, monetary authorities, and financial stakeholders all learned precious lessons from that economic catastrophe. Short of establishing capital and monetary controls (such as what Mahathir did for Malaysia), Asian banks did institute quasi-regulatory reforms such as to raise banks’ reserve requirements, mop up excess liquidities when situation demands so, and finally fix caps on the asset requirements for banks.

The reforms instituted across the last fourteen (14) years since the meltdown paid off very handsomely for the commercial and universal banks in particular, as well as for strengthening central banks. It is important to ensure stabilization mechanisms in the said banks first of all, a pattern that will snowball in the thrift banks and rural banks.

As far as the Philippine republic is concerned, the latest situational reports do indicate very clearly the compass of a healthy banking overall. Total aggregate assets of commercial & universal banks exceeded P6 Trillions, deposits breached the P2.5 Trillions, and trust funds skyrocketed to past the P4 Trillion mark. Needless to say, our banks here are prepared for the big challenges, inclusive of financing big ticket Private-Public Partnership or PPP projects.

The same banks are very much prepared too for the latest regulatory requirements imposed by the BIS or Bank for International Settlements. The BIS adjustments are actually coming late in the day, as the said bank has been too Euro-centric for a long time. Were it not for the fiasco of the USA and European banks from 2007 through 2010, the BIS couldn’t have acted appropriately.

Western banks ought to admit it that they are learning the new adjustments from their Asian counterparts. And the lessons being shared by the Asian banks are the ones being considered strongly today by the BIS itself, which as one can see has been commending Asia’s central bank bosses for jobs well done in their respective backyards.

There are more reforms that must be instituted however, which means that the earlier reforms should only be the start of a series of long-term changes in the banking and monetary systems. I subscribe to a global effort to ban banks from participating in portfolio investments so as not to repeat the catastrophe that hit certain big US banks that disappeared overnight during the height of the recent Great Recession there.

The more efficacious management of bankruptcies should also be put into order. We are right now witnessing a bank run in the Bangko Filipino, which seems to repeat old patterns. More stringent regulations ought to be put into place, as it is getting tiresome now to see bank runs every now and then.

Essential corporate governance reforms are among those that need to be accelerated in the banking and monetary systems. Bank mismanagements and hostile take-over of smaller banks by bigger ones are spooky phenomena within the banking community, which pose as challenges to regulators.

Let the banks and regulators keep tab of the gaps in the system and address them accordingly. Meantime, with a healthy banking situation now in place, banks can clearly become stakeholders in creating the boom situation in the Philippines, ASEAN, and the whole of Asia.

[Philippines, 17 March 2011]

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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs anytime!

Social Blogs:
IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:
COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:
ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com
ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

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DEVELOPMENT KITS: INNOVATION & DEVELOPMENT

August 15, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good day!

As I’ve been stressing in various articles and lectures of mine, development efforts can only take substance in any community in the presence of innovation interventions. No effort can be regarded as ‘development’ without intervention.

Development theory had already clarified the central import of innovation in any change undertaking. Without which, any such effort to help people move in life would be ‘social work’ or ‘humanitarian work’ rather than development.

Here is a report from the United Nations that deals with the subject, with case studies done in Africa.

[09 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to eldis.org database news.]

Innovation for sustainable development: local case studies from Africa

Authors: United Nations Publications
Produced by: Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations (2008)

This report aims to shed light on the way innovative solutions have arisen to address local sustainable development challenges, examining the determinants of success and the scope for replication. The report focuses on the African experience, and contributes to the documentation for the 16th and 17th sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

The volume is composed of ten case studies, selected for their truly innovative nature, effective implementation, significant outputs and generation of real social welfare improvements. Examples include sustainable community-based beekeeping, community water supply initiatives and innovative water governance. They are grouped under five headings: enhancement of agriculture and fisheries, protection of ecosystems, water management, health improvement and sustainable tourism.

Practical conclusions drawn from the case studies include:

  1.  
    • sustainable projects need to link environmental goals to income generation, draw upon local knowledge and ideas, ensure effective buy-in from stakeholders through local community involvement in project design and implementation, and employ financially self-sustaining business models
    • external forces which impact on a project and affect conditions for success include international markets and national legislation. In some cases though, local success can provide arguments for more accommodating national policies to facilitate replication and scaling up
    • simplicity in project design, committed seed capital and integration of local traditions and cultural heritage appear to be important success factors for innovative local initiatives

Available online at: http://www.eldis.org/cf/rdr/?doc=38653&em=310708&sub=enviro