CRITICAL ISSUE 7:
Within the research on BAs, the challenge of community unity within and across First Nations is suggested, but rarely well-understood by researchers and observers external to these communities.9 Conflicts across Indigenous communities may be related to internal legitimacy, shared or overlapping territorial issues, as well as the quality of community engagement and information-sharing.
A notable exception to available guidance and literature on this topic is the 2015 toolkit authored by Gibson and O’Faircheallaigh, who shed light on the impacts of this challenge on the BA negotiation process. They note that community negotiators must be mindful of the potential impact of political disagreements on negotiations with developers and governments, as well as be aware of broader goals being pursued by a community in order to ensure that a BA contributes to these goals, rather than undermining them (Gibson and O’Faircheallaigh, 2015, 54).
Guidance from Gibson and O’Faircheallaigh (2015) proposes that BA negotiators can refer to community planning exercises or consultations undertaken for other needs or processes, such as land claims, in order to identify key priorities, and in turn to use these prior consultative documents to identify the issues that could be prioritized in BA negotiations. If a community has not had an opportunity to establish and articulate its goals, a community consultation and planning exercise as part of the preparation for negotiations could prove useful. When these broader goals are poorly understood, it can result in content provisions that may not be valued by the community and may ultimately contribute to unnecessary social tensions (Gibson and O’Faircheallaigh, 2015, 54).
Furthermore, a lack of community cohesion can detract from the quality of the overall terms negotiated, and weaken the level of commitment all parties bring to implementing the terms. Gibson and O’Faircheallaigh (2015) note that while varying priorities are to be expected across a community, communities need to be supported to express healthy and holistic ways of navigating these diverse priorities in order to arrive at consensus on what will be emphasised collectively, and to recognize that a united front on the importance of accommodating diverse preferences is more likely to result in an agreement that accommodates all preferences, rather than viewing them in a zero-sum fashion. They note that it is best to arrive at this position prior to commencing BA negotiations with a company.
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AEM – Agnico Eagle Mines Limited
ASDF – Ahafo Sustainable Development Forum
AWBEN – Aboriginal Women’s Business Entrepreneurship Network
BA – Benefit Agreement BC British Columbia
BCFNDGI – BC First Nations Data Governance Initiative
BMZ German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
BNL – Barrick Niugini Limited
BSA – Benefit Sharing Agreement
CBA – Community Benefit Agreement
CDA – Community Development Agreement
CIRNAC – Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
DIO – Designated Inuit Organizations
EIA – Environmental Impact Assessment
EMB – Environmental Management Board
EWB-MSV – Engineers Without Borders Canada - Mining Shared Value Initiative
FNFTA – First Nations Financial Transparency Act
FNLNGA – First Nations Liquefied Natural Gas Alliance
FNNBOA – First Nations National Building Officer’s Association
FPIC – Free, Prior and Informed Consent
GIZ – German Development Agency
HIA – Health Impact Assessment
IA – Impact Assessment
IBA – Impact Benefit Agreement
ICMM – International Council on Mining and Metals
IFC – International Finance Corporation
IFI – International Financial Institution
IIBA – Innuit Impact Benefit Agreement
INAC – Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
IOL – Inuit-Owned Lands
ISC – Indigenous Services Canada
KitIA – Kitikmeot Inuit Association
KivIA – Kivalliq Inuit Association
KLC – Kimberley Land Council
LIA – Labrador Innuit Association
LLG – Local Level Government
LNG – Liquefied Natural Gas
M&E – Monitoring and Evaluation
NADeF – Newmont Ahafo Development Foundation
NLC – Northern Land Council
NLCA – Nunavut Land Claims Agreement
NTI – Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
OSR – Own-Source Revenue
PJV – Porgera Joint Venture
PSAB – Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business
QIA – Qikiqtani Inuit Association
SEMC – Socio-Economic Monitoring Committee
SML – Special Mining Lease
TCS – Tax Credit Scheme
UNDRIP – United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
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