Benefit Sharing | Centre for Science and Environment

Benefit Sharing


Green rupee in a mess

The rupee has crashed, growth is down and there is panic that the India story may be over or, at least, seriously dented. For most commentators, the underlying reason for the decline is green regulations. They think environmentalists are squarely to blame.

20 years to…where?

Next year, in June, world leaders will get together in the joyful city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to mark 20 years of UNCED—the Earth Summit (see Down to Earth, May 15, 1992).

Mining bill gets it right

Sustainable mining is an oxymoron. Environmentalists will tell you this. Mining—coal to limestone—takes away forests, devastates mountains and leaves the land pockmarked. It also destroys livelihoods of people and displaces them. Worse, modern, mechanised mining takes away livelihood based on land but does not replace it with local employment—all estimates show that direct employment in the mining sector has fallen sharply. It provides wealth, but not for local development.

From forestry to productive forestry

My position on the need to re-position forests in development (see ‘Rethink growth with forest capital’, Down To Earth, May 16-31) has brought me a huge response. On the one hand are those who argue that functions of forests already include conservation vital to life; they need to be valued and protected. The unsaid (and often stressed) corollary is that any discussion on the need to improve productivity of forests through the involvement of people needs to be shunned. The stretched and simplistic positioning of this view is that forests and people cannot go together.

Sharing the wealth of minerals: Policies, practices and implications

It is now well recognised across the world that wealth generated by the mining sector comes at a substantial development cost, along with environmental damages and economic exclusion of the marginalised. This has also been exhaustively documented in India. In fact, the major mining districts of India are among its poorest and most polluted. Considering the negative externalities of the mining sector, new policies and practices are being explored and implemented across the world to ensure that mineral wealth can be converted into sustainable development benefits for local communities.

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The big idea for change: bamboo as grass

“Stroke of the pen” reform is critical as in many cases policy is dastardly and change is laggardly. The essential element is to find that big-ticket item that can have impact on a scale and at a pace that is needed. I believe Union environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh’s letter addressed to all chief ministers clarifying that bamboo is indeed a grass and not timber, is such an item.

Sharing the wealth of minerals: Policies and practices across the world

Note by the Centre for Science and Environment, based on extensive research published in its book, Rich Lands, Poor People: is ‘sustainable mining possible?
August 2010

Is bamboo a tree or a grass?

The definition is contested as the answer has immense economic implications. If bamboo is a tree or timber, it belongs to the forest department and can be auctioned to the paper and pulp industry, often at throwaway rates. If it is a grass, then it would be classified as a minor forest produce and people would have the right to cut bamboo for sale or for value addition by making furniture or baskets.

Vedanta and lessons in conservation

The Forest Rights Act of 2006—also known as the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act—came after considerable and bitter opposition from conservation groups.

CSE welcomes the government’s proposal to provide 26 per cent of mining profits to local communities

Critiques industry’s reported reticence in sharing its profits with project-affected people.

• New Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says the provision of benefit-sharing envisioned in the proposed Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 2010 is the “first step towards repairing and repaying the damages done to poor communities living on mineral-rich lands”

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August 21, 2010
Critiques industry’s reported reticence in sharing its profits with project-affected people.

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