Chamber Convenes Breakfast Conference to Discuss Social Impact Assessments and Rights of Way in Mexico.
On 30 August, 80 participants gathered for what was to become a dynamic panel-led discussion regarding social impact assessments (SIAs) and rights of way in Mexico, their impact on local communities, and, specifically, the hurdles to overcome for potential project developers within Mexico’s energy sector. The discussion began with brief presentations by each of the panelists invited, followed by an engaging Q&A session, culminating with an opportunity for attendees to network and discuss the morning’s theme.
The key point which all three discussions revolved around was social governance and the importance of executing and giving due diligence its rightful importance. Social Impact Assessments (SIA) are required by Mexican Law. However, many companies perform an SIA just for the sake of ticking off a box on a government checklist, hastily doing one just to get it done in order to obtain necessary permits and/or licenses. Without putting required effort into a thorough investigation, this could, potentially, lead to blind spots in risk analysis, culminating in costly delays, or even a complete halt to any given project. If a proper SIA is executed, with proper due diligence, social liabilities can be identified and plans to mitigate those risks put in place. In addition, local stakeholders are included in the decision making process.
Another key issue that was raised was the possibility of external agents engaging with local communities to create opposition of a given project, regardless of any potential liabilities, or lack thereof, with the purpose of furthering their own agendas. One speaker gave a specific example of this situation, where the company was forced into legal action, culminating in a prison sentence for the individual who was inciting unrest.
We want to thank our panelists: General Director from ATCO James Delano, Partner Leader Litigation and Dispute Resolution from Baker and McKenzie Salvador Fonseca, Project Director from rePlan (an ERM Company) Renato Urresta and Vice-president from the Green Power Group and Associate in Energy, Mining & Infrastructure from Baker &McKenzie, our moderator Marco Nieto-Vázquez in sharing their collective wisdom and experiences