Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adverse effects of mining industry provoke hard questions for medical humanitarian organizations

Date:
August 28, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Increasingly humanitarian organizations will find themselves responding to health emergencies provoked by the adverse effects of mining and other extractive industries, setting up a potential clash to do with the core principles and values at the heart of humanitarian medicine, according to an expert.

Increasingly humanitarian organizations will find themselves responding to health emergencies provoked by the adverse effects of mining and other extractive industries, setting up a potential clash to do with the core principles and values at the heart of humanitarian medicine, writes Philippe Calain from the humanitarian medical organization, Mιdecins Sans Frontiθres (MSF), in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Related Articles


"A pragmatic approach of engagement with the corporate sector for the delivery of aid, or an implicit support to mainstream development agendas could compromise the legitimacy of humanitarian medicine," argues Calain. He continues, "A principled understanding of humanitarian medicine entails selfless moral commitments that are incompatible with the for-profit objectives of corporate industries."

Drawing on MSF's experience responding to the "worst lead poisoning epidemic in modern history" resulting from artisanal gold mining in Nigeria's Zamfara state, Calain explores the pitfalls, difficult alliances, and challenges medical humanitarian organizations must navigate in confronting the dire health consequences resulting from extractive industries, whether informal, illegal, or sanctioned.

He argues that, in developing countries, extractive industries (including ore mineral mining and oil extraction) have far reaching consequences on health through environmental pollution, communicable diseases, violence, destitution, and compromised food security. While humanitarian organisations might be called to intervene in areas occupied by the extractive sector, Calain argues that oil and mineral exploitation reveals a fundamental clash of values between humanitarianism, the for-profit sector, and privatised global philanthropy.

Operating in this relatively new terrain for medical humanitarian organizations -- outside the traditional humanitarian response to armed conflict, epidemics, and natural disasters -- requires a deeper examination of which types of compromises and alliances are acceptable. Responding to these kinds of emergencies, warns Calain, cannot be reduced to the development of medical and technical expertise alone.

"While advocacy and expansion of their operational expertise are obvious paths for non-governmental organizations, a more complex and ideologically loaded question to solve is about what type of relationships humanitarian organisations should entertain with the corporate sector," writes Calain. "Specific medical humanitarian organisations can respond to these challenges in different ways, based on their position between pragmatic or principled approaches, and their willingness to develop new technical capacities."

According to Calain, many mainstream medical humanitarian organisations would rather opt for no engagement with the natural resource extraction sector due to questions of values and conflicts of interest.

He concludes: "the Zamfara outbreak has called attention to a novel agenda for medical humanitarian organisations, including technical preparedness for environmental disasters, dialogue with international environmental organisations, and a better understanding of the exact role of resources extraction in perpetuating humanitarian crises."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Philippe Calain. What Is the Relationship of Medical Humanitarian Organisations with Mining and Other Extractive Industries? PLoS Medicine, 2012; 9 (8): e1001302 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001302

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Adverse effects of mining industry provoke hard questions for medical humanitarian organizations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120828171740.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, August 28). Adverse effects of mining industry provoke hard questions for medical humanitarian organizations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120828171740.htm
Public Library of Science. "Adverse effects of mining industry provoke hard questions for medical humanitarian organizations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120828171740.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Police Swoop on 80 Airports in Global Ticket Fraud Crackdown

Police Swoop on 80 Airports in Global Ticket Fraud Crackdown

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — Police have arrested 118 people in an unprecedented globally-coordinated swoop on plane ticket credit card fraud, a billion-dollar organised crime industry, officials said Friday. Duration: 01:03 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Privacy regulators recommend Google expand its requested removals to apply to all its web domains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) — With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins