Community Participation

Most companies recognize the need to involve neighboring communities in their projects. Often, however, they may be unaware of how communities wish to participate or of the best ways to engage them. Terra Group partners have worked with communities around the world in almost every kind of environment, including civil war zones (Colombia, the Niger Delta) and post-conflict areas (Angola). We understand the need for effective involvement – even where corruption, criminal activity or other significant obstacles exist.

In recent years, major companies have also upgraded their efforts to address international standards for environmental and social performance. Typically, these standards are based on World Bank “Safeguard Policies,” or their close analogues in the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and four regional development banks. They include complex documentation and other procedures to ensure community participation in development projects. Where indigenous peoples are involved, they now require “free, prior and informed consent” for activities that affect traditional territories or resources.

For more than a decade, TG senior partners have assisted oil, gas and mining companies in understanding and meeting IFC or World Bank standards. Major assignments often include a “gap analysis” to determine where modifications in company management procedures should be directed.

More recently, Dr. Wasserstrom served as an expert advisor to IFC in revising Performance Standard 7 on Indigenous People. He has also helped IFC complete its performance review of specific projects in Latin America. With former IFC specialist Robert Gerrits, he has published an analysis of the revised social performance standards, (Robert Wasserstrom and Robert Gerrits, “Assessing the Potential Impact on Extractive Industries of IFC’s Revised Social Standards,” presented at the SPE Americas HSE Conference, Galveston, Texas, 18 March, 2013.)