Dispute Resolution Of Environmental Conflicts : Panacea Or Placebo? Essay

Dispute Resolution Of Environmental Conflicts : Panacea Or Placebo? Essay

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It can be easy to understand what environmentalists and what Indigenous stakeholders potentially have to gain from mediation but what about the corporations? In, “Dispute Resolution in Environmental Conflicts: Panacea or Placebo?” Jennifer Gerard, explains, “Environmental issues have several distinct characteristics which require high financial and resource commitments. The disputes themselves are becoming increasingly complex, as more scientific knowledge is available, leaving more questions asked and unanswered. Resource disputes affect the public interest, so decisions must be made carefully.” Where there is a potential to diminish profitability of an investment why would corporations choose to negotiate? There are two components that I have been able to distinguish that may be of value to corporations –time and public perception. Proponents of environmental mediation believe that it to be less costly and less time consuming than litigation. Similarly, they propose that mediated agreements are impartial and just. Furthermore the agreements made through environmental mediation are perceived as mutually beneficial to the parties.” Moreover in situations involving business and human rights, legal remedies often involve monetary compensation or injunctions to halt harmful activity but real remedies for communities impacted by business and for corporations who want to avoid lengthy delays due to injunctions, often only happen through open dialogue and negotiation. Scholar Caroline Reeds, articulates, “it is generally only through negotiation and mediation that there are substantial chances to explore more creative forms of remedy, including options such as… agreeing safe ways to access culturally-significant areas…” But environmen...


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... and would submerge burial grounds and other crucial cultural and historical sites.” Moreover, where BC Hydro has gone ahead with development despite The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations going to court to protect their traditional lands. Approaching the duty to consult in earnest and actually providing communities with the opportunity to air their concerns and grievances to corporations and to the state could avoid, destruction of culturally important landscapes and the erosion of the relationship between First Nations tribes and the Canadian state. While Canada continues to give lip service to consultation, redress and reconciliation when it comes to treaty and aboriginal rights, the reality as enacted through environmental planning seems to articulate something quite different. Approaching the duty to consult like a negotiation could be a remedy here.

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