Extractives and Water
While it may seem that countries rich in natural resources may be rich. That isn’t true.
The “resource curse” shows us that countries with great oil, gas and other extractive industries are often the poorest, with less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with far fewer resources. In fact, countries with rich natural deposits are often plagued by corruption, civil war, human rights abuses, authoritarian governments, land grabs and environmental degradation – because powerful sectors want to control the profits.
Few communities within these countries benefit from the gas we pump into our cars, the electricity that keeps our houses warm and the minerals that power our computers. In some cases, those communities were damaged by lax labor laws, poor environmental protections and violence, so that the poor became poorer.
Joining Hands supports efforts to make the extractive sector more transparent and to enhance development:
- In Bolivia, UMAVIDA is campaigning for better water quality, where water has been polluted, in part, by mining companies.
- In Cameroon, RELUFA has been advocating for more than 10 years for communities impacted by the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project; it is also part of a global campaign – known broadly as Publish What You Pay – that demands that governments publish revenue received from extractive companies so that civil society may have a voice in its use.
- In Peru, Uniendo Manos has documented the chemical poisoning of children in the Andean mountains by a multi-metal smelter run by the Renco Group and is a voice within Peru calling for the government to enforce its environmental law and for the company to comply with that law.
Seeking Justice in Peru
Jed Koball, a PC(USA) mission worker, serves in La Oroya, Peru, one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world. A study showed that 97 percent of the city’s children have lead poisoning, a condition that can reduce a child’s intelligence and stunt physical growth.