10 June 2014

University of Queensland researchers are working with Colombian ethnic groups to help them influence government policy-making for the mining sector.

Social scientists from UQ’s Centre of Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) hope to improve inclusion and engagement opportunities for ethnic organisations as the resources industry develops.

Researcher Diana Arbelaez-Ruiz said the project would bring together the leaders of ethnic group organisations to discuss key issues surrounding mining.

“There are no precedents in Colombia of processes that promote the inclusion of ethnic perspectives in the early stages of policy formulation,” she said.

“Through this project, we want to promote early dialogue to inform policy-making in the mining sector.”

Ms Arbelaez-Ruiz said the result of these discussions would be a suite of tools to help organisations influence the policy-making and planning processes underway in Colombia.

“We are bringing our centre’s experience, together with Colombian experts, to contribute to national debates in Colombia,” she said.

CSRM Director Professor Saleem Ali said the work was supported by a $US254,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.

“Grants like these allow the centre to better serve the needs of people and communities in and affected by the resources sector around the world,” he said.

“CSRM researchers want to be seen as bridge builders and the only way to do that credibly is to conduct projects with neutral entities such as the Ford Foundation.”

Media: Sustainable Minerals Institute Communications Manager Andrew Dunne, 07 3346 4230, 0433 364 181, a.dunne@uq.edu.au.