25, May, 2012

Land Use Planning for Extractive Industries

Latin American countries have begun to use land use planning tools to manage competing claims to land in a context of high extractive industry activity. The progress of five Latin American countries – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru – can offer interesting lessons for other regions.

Because of the potential for negative environmental and social impacts, extractive industries are often viewed as posing a threat to more traditional livelihood activities, such as agriculture or raising livestock, and even to the development of more value-added or service-oriented economic sectors, like tourism. Competing views about the best use of land can also fuel social conflict.  This Brief presents land use planning as a tool to mitigate these risks. It describes the basic steps in land use planning, explains the extent to which five Latin American countries are using the methodology, and draws out lessons from the region’s experiences that may be useful for other countries.

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Key Lessons:

  • In Latin America, land use planning has not driven away FDI; on the contrary, it has probably reduced risk in the eyes of potential investors.
  • An adequate legal framework with strong political commitment and institutional capacity to integrate land use planning tools into national planning is crucial to enhance land use policy and achieve good results. Designating specific agencies for land use planning and assuring inter-institutional coordination have led to success in some countries.
  • Some countries have successfully assured multi-stakeholder participation in the planning process, often facilitated by a decentralised approach to land use planning.

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