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Community Development Agreements

Ana Elizabeth Bastida, Carlos Ciappa, Carmen Villaran Ascenzo, 2015 International Mining and Oil & Gas Law, Development, and Investment

Community Development Agreements (CDAs) aimed at shaping the relationship between resource companies and host communities are becoming common practice in the industry, and even a legislative requirement in a number of jurisdictions.3 They are broadly modelled in the practice of agreements entered with indigenous communities, which emerged in [11B-2] resource-rich and developed countries as Australia and Canada.4 A growing body of multi-disciplinary literature is advancing understanding on the drivers, process, contents and limitations of CDAs.

CDAs are but one of the vehicles to deliver development outcomes to local communities affected by resource projects (others include social investment programs implemented by companies; community development and impact mitigation plans approved by government; development forums; partnerships, trusts and development funds).5 Their defining features have been described in terms of process (the agreement as a result of fair negotiation and/or facilitation in which communities, or community representatives, are engaged) and of content (the purpose being to create mutual obligations between the parties, with provisions addressing broader developmental objectives rather than narrower financial compensation).6 The written document might take a legal form and obligations arising from it might be legally enforceable, although these are n