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In 2017, mining accounted for 59% of Peru’s exports; Peru’s resource sector is a major contributor to the country’s national economic growth. However, the contribution of mining to socioeconomic development and livelihoods, particularly in the mineral-rich yet economically poor Andean highland regions, remains unrealized. These regions continue to be beset by poverty and high levels of mining-related conflict. Some of the underlying causes are the historic exclusion of various groups (Indigenous peoples, women, youth); limited capacity and presence of government as an actor at subnational levels; lack of public participation in environmental assessment processes and planning of resource extraction; lack of integration across sectors; uncoordinated projects and narrow CSR approaches among corporate actors. These factors underscore the systemic challenge for effective resource governance in Peru.
The unique aspect of the Co-Laboratorio approach was in its multi-dimensional and interactive nature, focused on bringing stakeholders from different socio-economic backgrounds and sectors together as co-creators in the design, planning, and implementation of the program. The program, grounded in human-centered design thinking, was developed to foster partnership and innovation. All CoLab work was preceded and supported by a deep understanding of the existing state of knowledge and stakeholders’ needs. Along with the other beneficiaries in the system, the interventions were then shaped and tested, with knowledge being provided for further input in a continuous iterative learning cycle. Over half of these stakeholders were women from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds; they played an integral role in every aspect of the program. The Indigenous communities were also represented in the program’s design and implementation.
The CoLab Peru program’s mission was defined as the generation of lasting and inclusive benefits for women, men, and children in Peru from the sustainable development of its natural resources. The program supported this mission by advancing cross-sector and inter-agency learning and practices, working innovatively and collaboratively with diverse stakeholders to promote mutual learning and systems-level perspectives, embedding activities in local universities to ensure sustainability, and involving students as change agents, and promote university engagement.
The Co-Lab Peru project focused on these three themes:
54% of the 864 program participants were women. Gender was an integral theme throughout the duration of the project, including making women’s concerns on matters such as gender-based violence, women’s economic rights, and women’s participation in decision-making more visible. Gender perspectives on mining impacts and priorities have also been integrated into all Co-Lab research projects. This included evaluation of the policies and institutional frameworks, governance structures, and participatory practices in order to identify gaps and leading practices for improving gender equality and access to benefits in mining regions and related activities.
Improving the governance and implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) framework was a key focus of CIRDI’s CoLab Peru program. The project team was working with SENACE, the newly constituted public agency, part of the Peruvian Ministry of Environment, responsible for the revision and approval of EIAs for all nationwide public, private and mixed investment projects, including mining.
Over 300 of the CoLab Peru stakeholders were representing the government, NGO, academic community, or industry sectors. All program activities incorporated five interrelated governance principles:
Through extensive research and over 150 one-on-one interviews with industry leaders, government officials, mining workers, and community members, this applied research project focused on contributing to a better understanding of the practices, evaluation systems, governance processes, and effectiveness of social investments in order to provide recommendations to governments and sector stakeholders on how to enhance the impact of these initiatives. This research also evaluated the policies and institutional frameworks, governance structures, as well as social and economic initiatives by governments, civil society, and mining companies in order to identify gaps and leading practices for improving gender equity in the mining sector.
Based on the CoLab systems-centered design methodologies, charrettes, and interviews, the focus of this program stream was to make women’s concerns and perspectives visible to multiple actors at multiple scales, to develop women’s capacities to lead and plan strategically, and to enhance access to knowledge and information for and with women. The program included numerous leadership circles and innovative working sessions focused on making gender policies cross-cutting (national/regional/local levels), incorporating gender approaches into management instruments across agencies and ministries, formulating regional policies and strategic planning, and strengthening women’s capacities.
In a designated community in Peru that has been impacted by the mining activities, an innovative pilot program named “Alo SENACE” tested the use of new mobile technologies and anonymous texting to overcome cultural and systemic barriers to women’s participation, and to foster inclusive community – member participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes.
The CoLab AQP university program was co-developed and implemented as an innovation lab to build the knowledge and capacity of students as future leaders and change agents. Students from UCSP and cross-sector collaborators worked together on creative solutions to real-life sustainable development challenges facing women, youth, and indigenous groups in the Arequipa region.
Based on stakeholder feedback, the Leadership AQP – Governance and Leadership Certificate Program was co-designed to promote integration and collaboration and to support the management of cross-cutting systemic issues related to mining, inclusive growth, and sustainability. The cohort was 54% women, age range 23 to 60, with representatives from government, civil society, the private sector, and NGOs (representing sustainability, economic development, and health).