Lessons and Strategies from ‘Follow the Money’

Impressive new online “resource hub” emerging from the experience of Inclusive Development International in its “Follow the Money” investigations work mapping out the byzantine financial arrangements behind the oil & gas, mining, hydropower, and other projects. A ton of tools, straightforward explanations, links to resources, descriptions of strategies, and, always my favorite, interesting case studies. Here, for example, IDI shows the specific steps and tools it used to dig into the financing of a gold mine in Guinea, that revealed an intermediary lender that had received a loan from the IFC that IDI was able to link to mine financing. This opened up the possibility for the affected communities to file a complaint with the IFC’s accountability mechanism, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, which was found admissible. In this case study, IDI goes through the specific steps and tools it used to track which consumer brands were sourcing palm oil from a certain Indonesia provider. Fascinating work that a lot of folks could learn from.

ICAR’s new suite of ‘Storytelling’ videos on human rights abuses and accountability strategies

I am always down to highlight creative new human rights advocacy approaches and corporate accountability strategies, and ICAR’s new ‘storytelling’ campaign/portal seems to fit the bill. These are a series of well-produced short (and not-so-short, ~9 mins) videos from each of three country contexts (Mexico, Uganda, Bangladesh), highlighting the voices of victims and impacted communities. The relative ease of creating materials like this due to new levels of technology, accessibility, and the skill set of younger generations of human rights advocates, it’s stunning and has immense implications — not just for advocacy strategies but for participation. Tools like this are not quite yet in the hands of local communities, but that’s where we are headed and it could (and should) have huge effects on how decisions are made.

New (beyond) FPIC guide from CI: Indigenous Negotiations Resource Guide

A growing number of Free Prior & Informed Consent manuals and guides out there (which is a good thing) — but this one from CI takes a fresh approach and starts moving beyond the “consent” framing of IPLCs as passive participants or gatekeepers (even when the hold a veto power), embedding them more accurately as central deal-makers and operational players in any conservation strategy.

Just as interesting, CI has put this out along with a fascinating set of five case studies, looking at the Crocodile Jaws Dam in Kenya, the Kalahari San in Botswana, and more. The case studies do not appear to be elaborations of work by CI using Negotiations Guide, but rather difficult historical situations that readers might chew on in light of strategies in the Negotiations Guide. Like other tools (ahem, TNC’s elaborate Wenland hypothetical attached to its Human Rights Guide) it helps folks working on how to operationalize FPIC move from a world of endless idealized “shoulds” to the real world of complications, missing information, and good faith dilemmas at every turn. We need both rooted thinking and creative solutions, and it is the real world that demands it, not another how-to manual.