New Federally Funded Academic Institute a Tool to Support Mining Industry
(Ottawa) Despite public reassurances of independence during its recent launch, the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development (CIIEID) is a poorly conceived instrument of the Canadian government to support the mining sector abroad.
In a presentation to the Mining Association of Canada last year, former International Development Minister Julian Fantino promised industry representatives that the Institute “will be your biggest and best ambassador.”
And in a January submission to the Canadian government, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) proposed that the University of British Columbia-housed Institute could be a “key delivery device” for influencing natural resource management in resource-rich countries.
The CIIEID was established through a $24.6 million donation from the former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), now part of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD). It was formally launched on January 29, 2014 as a partnership between the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU), and Montreal’s École Polytechnique.
The Institute’s purported mission is to work with national, regional, and local governments so that resource extraction will contribute to sustainable growth and poverty reduction. A contribution agreement was signed between UBC and CIDA in May 2013 to establish it.
MiningWatch Canada has produced a brief analysis of the CIDA-UBC Contribution Agreement and a summary of past Canadian involvement in natural resource management in Latin America that underline why these public funds are misdirected and destined to privilege Canadian mining investment and profitability over poverty reduction and protection of communities, workers, and the environment.
“While mining-affected communities could make use of independent academic expertise, the CIIEID is not independent, nor is it likely to have much credibility given its close ties with the Canadian government and industry,” remarks Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada. “The Canadian government’s vested interest, its stated goal of promoting and protecting the interests of Canadian extractive companies operating overseas, and its poor track record in countries such as Honduras, Colombia, and Peru have already laid its path.”
For more information:
- Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 569-3439, jen(at)miningwatch.ca