New IBA Toolkit Offers Aboriginal Communities a Guide to Negotiating with Resource Companies
Monday March 15, Ottawa: Canada’s Aboriginal communities now have a powerful new resource to help them negotiate deals with mining and other companies on a more equal footing. Facing a lack of resources and negotiating capacity, First Nations and other Aboriginal communities are often at a loss to know how to even begin to negotiate Impact and Benefit Agreements, let alone to engage with the well-prepared companies that approach them, or to create lasting fair agreements.
But a new comprehensive 204-page step-by-step guide – IBA Community Toolkit: Negotiation and Implementation of Impact and Benefit Agreements – offers a free helping hand to steer them through every stage of the process. The IBA Community Toolkit was commissioned by the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation and co-authored by two of the leading experts in this field – Ginger Gibson and Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh – after extensive meetings and input from First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups and leaders.
“Negotiating agreements that respect and reflect that our rights and can withstand the test of time is in the best interests of our communities and of those companies who want to develop resources on our lands and traditional territories,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo.
“Lasting agreements must be based on informed participation and sustained by trust, and this can only be achieved if both sides can proceed on an equal footing, which is what this toolkit will help our communities to do,” said National Chief Atleo, who was the keynote speaker at a reception in Ottawa today to launch the IBA Community Toolkit.
Theresa Hollett, implementation officer with the Nunatsiavut Government, said: “The IBA Toolkit takes communities and Aboriginal groups right from beginning to end of developing and finalizing an Impact and Benefit Agreement. From a community and Aboriginal perspective, I think the Toolkit will be an enormous help.”
Toolkit co-author Dr. Gibson, said: “The capacity to negotiate and implement agreements with mining companies is critical to ensuring that resource extraction generates substantial benefits for Aboriginal communities, and that the negative impacts that can be associated with large-scale resource development are avoided or minimized.
“The IBA Toolkit is designed for communities engaged in negotiating these agreements with mining companies, though it also applies to other resource sectors. It is written for community negotiators, members of community negotiating teams, and consultants working with Aboriginal communities and organizations,” said Gibson. “It is not a blueprint, because every community will have their own goals, but it does walk through a process of planning, designing strategies, selecting tactics, and negotiating and implementing agreements.”
The IBA Toolkit grew out of a northern policy forum the Gordon Foundation convened in Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories in 2007 with over 40 key stakeholders and advisors, including former territorial premiers, mining industry representatives, and Aboriginal community leaders. James Stauch, Vice-President of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, said: “The Foundation saw this as an excellent opportunity to help fill a void. The key recommendation from the Fort Good Hope forum was to develop a resource for communities negotiating with resource companies. We hope the dedicated work of the exceptional authors and all the participants who made this possible will make a very real difference.”
To download the IBA Community Toolkit free of charge, visit: www.ibacommunitytoolkit.ca Aboriginal communities may also order a free hard copy. Media inquiries: Kalson Abdi. 416-604-4776. Extension 229. (On Mar. 15, Call Melody Morrison: 613-851-4281.)
About the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation
An independent, Canadian charitable foundation, the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation is dedicated to the development of sound and innovative public policies.
About the IBA Toolkit authors
Ginger Gibson works with indigenous governments and communities in Northern Canada and Latin America on negotiation, consultation and implementation of agreements with mining companies. For the past 15 years she has researched and worked in the fields of social and cultural impact assessment, resource policy and negotiation. She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia in Mining Engineering.
Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh is Professor of Politics and Public Policy at Griffith University, Brisbane. He has published numerous articles and books in the fields of public policy, resource economics and resources policy, negotiation, impact assessment, corporate social responsibility and indigenous studies. For nearly 20 years he has worked with indigenous organizations on negotiation of mining agreements, and has acted as an advisor and negotiator for many of Australia’s leading Aboriginal organizations. He is currently advising the Kimberley Land Council on negotiations in relation to natural gas development in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.