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Re-politicizing participation or reframing environmental governance? Beyond indigenous’ prior consultation and citizen participation

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  • Merino, Roger

Abstract

Recent studies explore how participatory mechanisms such as prior consultation/consent processes and participation in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) might reinforce the mediating role of the state between social groups and companies at the same time that creates political opportunities for promoting social demands. This article problematizes these ideas by deepening the understanding of participatory mechanisms within broader environmental governance structures. The focus of the article is Peru, the first Latin American country that has passed a General Law of prior consultation for indigenous peoples, and currently is struggling to articulate this mechanism to participatory stages in EIAs. From an engagement with the literature on political ecology and development studies, this article explores the limitations of indigenous participation within an environmental governance that prioritize the promotion of investments in extractive industries. In particular, by exploring the challenges and limitations of indigenous decision-making power in new institutions for consultation and EIA participation, the article holds that participatory mechanisms themselves are unable to provide more power of decision to indigenous peoples if policy-makers translate claims for institutional transformation (related to indigenous self-determination and ecological zoning) into merely participatory provisions of specific projects. The result is a paradoxical multiplication of weak participatory channels, making the voices of local communities and indigenous peoples auditable, however, without a real compromise to translate these concerns into public policies beyond participatory processes. This study is a qualitative investigation whose data collection methods included semi-structured interviews, observation and documentary analysis. The author undertook 38 semi-structured interviews in 2016–2017 with key relevant actors (from state offices, indigenous organizations, and civil society organizations) involved in consultation processes and participation in EIAs, and documentary analysis of EIAs, reports, legal regulations and policy instruments.

Suggested Citation

  • Merino, Roger, 2018. "Re-politicizing participation or reframing environmental governance? Beyond indigenous’ prior consultation and citizen participation," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 75-83.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:111:y:2018:i:c:p:75-83
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.06.025
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Almut Schilling-Vacaflor, 2017. "Who controls the territory and the resources? Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) as a contested human rights practice in Bolivia," Third World Quarterly, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 1058-1074, May.
    2. repec:idb:brikps:19818 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Riccarda Flemmer & Almut Schilling‐Vacaflor, 2016. "Unfulfilled promises of the consultation approach: the limits to effective indigenous participation in Bolivia’s and Peru’s extractive industries," Third World Quarterly, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(1), pages 172-188, January.
    4. Fontana, Lorenza B. & Grugel, Jean, 2016. "The Politics of Indigenous Participation Through “Free Prior Informed Consent”: Reflections from the Bolivian Case," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 249-261.
    5. Esben Leifsen & Luis Sánchez-Vázquez & Maleny Gabriela Reyes, 2017. "Claiming prior consultation, monitoring environmental impact: counterwork by the use of formal instruments of participatory governance in Ecuador’s emerging mining sector," Third World Quarterly, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 1092-1109, May.
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    7. Jaskoski, Maiah, 2014. "Environmental Licensing and Conflict in Peru's Mining Sector: A Path-Dependent Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 873-883.
    8. Marilyn Machado & David López Matta & María Mercedes Campo & Arturo Escobar & Viviane Weitzner, 2017. "Weaving hope in ancestral black territories in Colombia: the reach and limitations of free, prior, and informed consultation and consent," Third World Quarterly, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 1075-1091, May.
    9. Maria-Therese Gustafsson, 2017. "The struggles surrounding ecological and economic zoning in Peru," Third World Quarterly, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 1146-1163, May.
    10. Viviane Weitzner, 2017. "‘Nosotros Somos Estado’: contested legalities in decision-making about extractives affecting ancestral territories in Colombia," Third World Quarterly, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 1198-1214, May.
    11. Esben Leifsen & Maria-Therese Gustafsson & Maria A. Guzmán-Gallegos & Almut Schilling-Vacaflor, 2017. "New mechanisms of participation in extractive governance: between technologies of governance and resistance work," Third World Quarterly, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 1043-1057, May.
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