Upcoming symposium looks at the damage caused by extractive industries

Extractive industries such as mining and oil can exact a toll on the host country environmentally and socially. The upcoming Colloquium on the Global South symposium, titled "The Social and Environmental Implications of Extractive Industries in the Global South" on Wednesday, March 19, will examine ways to minimize the impact.

The symposium takes place from 2:30 to 4:30pm in Room 390 York Lanes, Keele campus.

Many aspects of people’s daily lives rely heavily on resources obtained from countries in the south, but extractive industries can cause severe social and environmental degradation.

Right: Kernaghan Webb

Kernaghan Webb, who teaches in Ryerson University’s Faculty of Business; David Szablowski, a professor in York’s Law & Society, Faculty of Arts; and Uwafiokun Idemudia, a professor of African studies at York, will address possible changes in the structure and governance of the mining and oil industries as a way to lessen environmental and social damage.

They will look at mining as development model, governance of MNE extractive activities in developing countries and partnership initiatives that address the links between oil extraction and poverty in Niger Delta, Nigeria.

Webb is a special adviser in the UN Global Compact’s International Organization for Standardization and has been the chief of research and senior legal policy adviser in the Office of Consumer Affairs, Industry Canada, since 1992. He has experience in regulatory and compliance matters and voluntary codes, and has written on citizen roles in enforcement, legal regimes for NGOs and standards. He also teaches in the School of Policy Studies at Queens University and at the School of Public Policy & Administration and Department of Law at Carleton University.

Szablowski (LLB ’96, LLM ’01, PhD ’04) is the author of the recently-published book Transnational Law and Local Struggles: Mining Communities and the World Bank (Hart Publishing, 2007) and is a Fellow at CERLAC (The Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean). He is also a member of the Peruvian Section of the Latin American Network of Legal Anthropology. His interests include law and globalization, sustainable development, natural resource management, public participation along with legal and democratic theory.

Left: Uwafiokun Idemudia

Idemudia’s research interests includes corporate social responsibility and the extractive industry; the relationship between natural resources, sustainable development and conflict in the global south; and political ecology and environmental security. He has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals and specialized reports, including Review of African Political Economy, Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental Management Journal, Business and Society Review, Journal of Corporate Citizenship and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development program paper.

The symposium, co-sponsored by York’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS), is chaired by Szablowski and organized by York MES student Dominika Czerwinska (BSc ’07), a graduate assistant working at IRIS.

The Colloquium on the Global South is an open space for debate and critical inquiry for students, faculty members, NGOs, social activists and policy makers. It is presented by the University Consortium on the Global South (UCGS) at York. Everyone is welcome. Pre-registration is not required.

For more information or to register for updates, contact Tim Clark at tdclark@yorku.ca.