Submitted by adriana.romero on Thu, 06/09/2022 - 19:05

E-Newsletter June 2022

Update on housing and educational programs in resettled communities

Since adopting IFC standards in 2004, Cerrejón has promoted the resettlement of 5 communities under the requirements of the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standard 5 (PS5) and has worked closely with the families to ensure the wellbeing at the new locations, as established in this international standard.

The first community to participate in the resettlement process was Roche (2003), followed in 2007 by Patilla, Chancleta and Tamaquito and finally by Las Casitas in 2009. These resettlement processes were done in a participatory manner and compensation agreements were reached with each of the families. The compensation received included: replenishing land owned or in possession of each family and improvements done to them,  provision of a home with access to public services, delivery of community infrastructure, one hectare of land to develop agricultural projects, seed capital and technical accompaniment for income generation projects and programs such as educational strengthening for children and adolescents and access to technical and university education with monthly support, and  providing help with delivery of monthly food/hygiene parcels for older adults.

In accordance with the objective defined by IFC standards for resettlements, these processes are understood as a mechanism of last resort and if a resettlement process is done, it should minimize its impact on those displaced through mitigation measures such as fair compensation and improvements to living conditions.

Key elements on the status of resettled families are as follows.

In regard to housing, each of the communities participated and designed on the location, layout and type of housing they preferred at their new locations, based on their views and desires as a community. After completing construction, some of the homes require maintenance and repairs (link to a newsletter article on housing in the resettlements). To date, maintenance has been done on 94 of the 170 houses identified from Roche, Patilla, Chancleta and Tamaquito.  As agreed with Las Casitas, maintenance and repair of the 30 houses will be done in 2023 and 2024.

Thanks to efforts to empower the communities, 100% of the houses in Tamaquito have been repaired and agreements with Roche and Chancleta will allow repairs to 13 houses from Roche and 27 from Chancleta. The works will be done by their own community organizations that have the technical skills required. Regarding Patilla, Cerrejón hopes to be able to reach an agreement soon with the community to allow the repair of the 6 houses remaining.

As for education, this is one of the programs preferred by the resettled communities. In addition to the educational strengthening program for children and adolescents, members of resettled communities have also had the opportunity to access university and technical education programs thanks to the payment made by Cerrejón of tuition fees and a monthly stipend for living expenses. To date, 629 people from the resettlements have started studies and received aid, which has resulted in 223 people with university degrees, 14 with graduate studies, 8 with specialization courses, 13 technicians and 371 occupational skills programs.

Cerrejón is very aware that resettlement processes generate significant impacts on people's lives, therefore several efforts have been done in order to improve the living conditions of the families while respecting their values, traditions and how they see the future, and recognizes that ensuring sustainability for the total of resettled families remains a challenge, that will be overcome through dialogue amongst the parties.

Resettled families from Chancleta Afro-descendant community begin agricultural productive project

In 2021, as result of the collaborative work between the resettled community of Chancleta, Cerrejón, the Barrancas Mayor’s Office and the Colombian National Learning Service Institute (SENA), 14 families from this afro descendent community? group? initiated a new income generation project to plant, process, and store maize to be sold to farmers in the La Guajira region during the summer seasons.

Chancleta, one of the five resettlements carried out by Cerrejón, following international IFC standards, began a resettlement process in 2012 that resulted in 38 families deciding for collective relocation to a new site built by Cerrejón and 18 that opted to be relocated individually. The compensation package agreed upon with the resettled communities included: i) new housing with access to water, ii) electricity and gas, which they didn’t have at their original sites, iii) seed capital for their income generation projects, iv) one hectare of land to each resettled family close to their new residence, to ensure the continuity of their connection with the land and to carry out ancestral activities, such as agriculture, v) economic support to elders, and vi) educational strengthening programs, among others.

As part of Cerrejón’s commitment to support their process of becoming sustainable and autonomous communities, 14 families from the Chancleta Association of Black Afro-descendants (ASNAC), Cerrejón and the Barrancas Mayor’s Office, worked together in several roundtables to design this new project. In these meetings, participants agreed on the stages of the process, community participation and the capacity building that was required. With the support from SENA, families received training courses on silage techniques. The maize grown by the community for silage was constantly monitored by a professional from this organization and by the consultant appointed by Cerrejón.

Additionally, Cerrejón’s contribution involved providing supplies, materials and services such as seeds, agrochemicals, and hours of machinery to prepare and fertilise the land. The technical and financial viability of the project was analysed by the Cerrejón team, who supported the development of a business model that adapted to local market opportunities.

 “We want this to become a reality as we, as an ASNAC association, are ready to work toward reconstruction of our territory. That is what we want as an ASNAC association, as a group of families from the Chancleta community. We are working in the interest of our families, our children, to leave them a livelihood, a future that is not too distant”, said Tulia Ester Pereira Daza, President of ASNAC.

The project will allow the community of Chancleta to explore businesses that are self-sustaining over time and that will strengthen the capacities of the families in the Association and all those who wish to join the process. In order to strengthen this strategy to create income for the communities, Cerrejón will provide technical, administrative and commercial support for the joint projects arising from the resettled communities. Cerrejón will continue to provide advice and accompaniment so that the community’s collective initiatives can be linked to calls for bids and to receive resources from public entities.

Tamaquito II the only indigenous reserve with a gas connection thanks to the management of Cerrejón

Cerrejón managed the connection, installation and prior review of the natural gas service for the Indigenous Reservation of Tamaquito II, the only community located in a rural area in La Guajira that has achieved this benefit. More than 31 families are part of this natural gas massification project, which seeks to improve their quality of life by expanding the coverage and quality of public services.

Cerrejón wins Human Rights Due Diligence category in mining and energy sector

In December 2021 Cerrejón was the winner in the Human Rights Due Diligence category within the Significant Experiences in Environmental and Social Management Prize awarded by the Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy, the National Mining Agency, and the National Hydrocarbons Agency, that seeks to highlight performances that generate positive impacts and promote sustainable development in the territories where mining and oil and gas companies operate.

The new Human Rights category sought to recognize company’s commitment and actions dedicated to respecting the human rights of their employees and neighbouring communities through implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Cerrejón submitted for the jury’s consideration its more than 10 years of experience implementing a human rights due diligence process, aligned with international standards, which aims to promote respect for human rights and to ensure that its operations are done in a way that is harmonious and respectful of both its stakeholders and the environment. To do this, Cerrejón explained its processes to identify risks and impacts on human rights; the definition of management measures; the open and ongoing communication with stakeholders on these issues; the integration of measures within the operation’s systems, handling of complaints, and the implementation of mechanisms for verification and continual improvement.

This due diligence process is framed within the corporate Human Rights Policy, adopted in 2005 and adapted to the United Nations Guiding Principles in 2011, which is based on respect for Colombian legislation, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, basic conventions from the International Labour Organization (ILO), and recognised international standards adopted.

Cerrejón will continue to be committed to implementation of initiatives and policies that contribute to the respect and promotion of human rights in its operation and surroundings, in addition to continuing to contribute to the development of local and national programs that help support the protection of social leaders and the application of the highest standards.

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E-Newsletter june 2022
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Since adopting IFC standards in 2004, Cerrejón has promoted the resettlement of 5 communities under the requirements of the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standard 5 (PS5) and has worked closely with the families to ensure the wellbeing at the new locations, as established in this international standard.

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E-Newsletter june 2022