Managing risk and maintaining license to operate: participatory planning and monitoring in the extractive industries

Managing risk and maintaining license to operate: participatory planning and monitoring in the extractive industries

How can communities and companies engage in co-planning and monitoring to ensure sustainable local development ?

This study explores how communities and companies can engage in co-planning and monitoring to ensure sustainable local development benefits from the extraction of resources. Key points are highlighted in six sections, which include: (1) the extractive industries context; (2) the business case and the community case for engagement using participatory planning and monitoring tools; (3) participatory tools within the different stages of extractive project development; (4) potential areas for co-planning and monitoring; (5) key challenges; and (6) conclusions.

A sample of participatory monitoring and evaluation tools and mechanisms include:

  • Participatory planning: Members of local communities contribute to plans for company activities potentially relating to business and to local development
  • Good Neighbor Agreements are co-produced commitments constructed and agreed between companies and communities
  • Community forums: Single or multi-stakeholder community groups gathering voluntarily for discussion on a previously agreed upon topic, to provide information and receive feedback, or for other relationship-building activities that are made explicit. Effective communication strategies are required to ensure balanced participation
  • Community suggestion boxes: Suggestion box placed in an easily accessible public location. Members of a community may submit anonymous complaints, suggestions or questions. Box is opened publicly at pre-determined times (such as weekly) and a response is provided to each suggestion
  • Participatory budgeting: Processes by which citizen-delegates decide on or contribute to decisions regarding the allocation and monitoring of expenditures of all or a portion of public resources. Also applicable to company resources allocated for community development
  • Citizen report cards: Short surveys with questions developed through participatory discussion and used to measure perceptions of adequacy and quality of public services. They are also potentially applicable to the extractive industry context. Survey responses are supplemented with a qualitative understanding
  • Community scorecards: Focus groups identify indicators of success for a given project or service. Target beneficiaries and service providers rate the effectiveness of service based on the agreed upon indicators
Underlying each of these tools are supporting processes of training and capacity building, access to information, and mutually agreed-upon metrics for monitoring.
(Adapted from the Authors)