COLOMBIA - The second bilateral dialogue with the Columbian business community and Canadian government ahead of the new free trade deal was held recently. It was organized by the Canadian Embassy in Colombia to take a look at the corporate social responsibility challenges faced by extractive industries in Colombia. Three panels were held: communities, private sector and government.
For the first time, an aboriginal leader, Chief Glenn Nolan, was invited to address the assembly. He spoke to the communities panel about the importance of on-going communications with local communities. He suggested that talks start prior to exploration and continue through permanent closing. He urged transparency and respect for local history and culture as a means of improving CSR. Philanthropy is not enough. Industry must build partnerships with communities. He also recommended looking for long term solutions such as joint business ventures between industry and the local communities.
Later in an interview with NTN24 (Latin America's TV news channel) Chief Nolan was asked what is the best way for mining companies in Latin America when dealing with Aboriginal groups. He again highlighted the importance of respect for the local traditions and history and transparency to avoid unrealistic expectations.