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A political ecology perspective on resource extraction and human security in Kenya, Bolivia and Peru

Schilling, Janpeter, Almut Schilling-Vacaflor, Riccarda Flemmer and Rebecca Froese. 2020. A political ecology perspective on resource extraction and human security in Kenya, Bolivia and Peru. The Extractive Industries and Society. In press.


This paper analyzes how the governance of non-renewable natural resources affects different dimensions of human security in local sites of extraction. We show how the analysis of human security can be embedded in a multi-scalar political ecology perspective to combine the strong suits of both approaches: a detailed, multi-dimensional assessment of impacts on the local scale with a critical transformative view on the interplay of power asymmetries mediating the distribution of costs and benefits across actors and scales. More specifically, we look at four of the most prominent ‘glocal’ governance instruments in extractive industries: participatory environmental licensing processes, indigenous prior consultation and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs and legal formalization initiatives. In theory, these governance initiatives should ensure local benefits and contribute to human security in three dimensions: (1) environmental security, (2) livelihood security and (3) safety and political security. However, our comparative analysis of ‘glocal’ governance institutions in oil and gas extraction in Bolivia and Kenya as well as in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Peru shows that these institutions are rather ineffective in protecting the human security of local communities.

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