“We would like information about contracts and environmental impact studies”

Civil Society Representatives from the National Committee for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the Dominican Republic.

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Carlos Peterson and Maritza Ruiz, members of the MSG EITI in Dominican Republic.

  • Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR) shared its experiences regarding transparency in the extractive sector with members from the Dominican Republic’s EITI Commission and the National Space for Transparency in the Extractive Industry (ENTRE, in Spanish).
  • Areas affected by mining activities were visited. In addition, training took place as well as a contribution to the construction of a strategy for the civil society regarding transparency in the extractive industry.

 

Lima, Thursday October 20th, 2016.- Further information regarding contracts for extractive projects, environmental impact studies, as well as other socio-environmental information are the demands from the Dominican civil society and social movements towards the State. EITI could support this goal, through the presentation of the First National EITI Report of the Dominican Republic in 2017, as a requisite to be catalogued as a candidate to being a complying country in this initiative.

This was pointed out by Ms. Maritza Ruiz from the Public Policy Observatory (OPP) of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo and Mr. Carlos Peterson from the Guayacán Foundation for Energy and the Environment (GEMA, in Spanish), both civil society members of the Dominican Republic’s National EITI Commission. In February of this year, Dominican Republic became a candidate country for EITI, and is now in a phase of adaptation and preparation towards a qualification of “complying country”.

One of the main tasks for the Government of the Dominican Republic is to make the General Law for Free Access to Public Information effective, mainly regarding the extractive sector. Sharing lessons learned by other countries is rewarding for this purpose.

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DAR Workshop at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo.

Therefore, from October 3rd through 7th, a committee from DAR visited the Dominican Republic to hold training workshops to members from the National EITI Commission and the social movements which are part of the ENTRE collective. These took place in the cities of Santo Domingo and Bonao (Monseñor Nouel province).

Some of the approached topics were: what is EITI, which are the strategies in Latin America for an environmental standard in the initiative, what are sub-national EITIs (the experience in other countries was shared), and how transparency promotes vigilance of our extractive resources. Another topic was the linkage between indigenous organizations and citizenship in environmental monitoring actions.

During the visit, DAR’s experience in the development of transparency diagnosis and access to information in the mining-energy sector was also explained, as well as the lessons learned in different countries in the region which receive accompaniment from DAR and are strengthening their civil society networks.

DAR Workshop in the city of Bonao.

A strategic proposal was prepared for the civil society which forms ENTRE so as to improve transparency in their country. Fernando Peña, a member of OPP and ENTRE qualified as “vital” these meetings, as they allowed for social movements from other parts of the country to understand how the change processes are developed, the efforts and commitments required in the development of extractive activities.

Workshop for civil society strategy regarding transparency in extractive industries.

Thanks to an invitation from ENTRE, DAR was able to visit the community of La Piñita in the city of Cotuí, where its residents voiced their concern regarding the activity of the mining company Barrick Gold, whose tailing dam, according to declarations from the population, is polluting their rivers, affecting their health and agricultural activities. Neighbours request their relocation and compensation. Moreover, they as the Government for further transparency and access to the information from environmental and health studies carried out in the area.

 

Training activities developed by Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR) in the Dominican Republic were carried out in partnership with Open Society Foundations (OSF) and Oxfam.

Spanish versión here.