Developing Best Practices

The project Global Actors and Community-level Security is to study corporate social responsibility practices within the mining industry.  Initially funded in 2014, CIDP Director and International security expert Professor Stéfanie von Hlatky received a 3 year $199,944 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), one of only three professors to ever receive funding from the Partnership Development Grant in the program's four-year history.

The project’s aim is to improve standards of corporate social responsibility in the extractive industry by incorporating tools for security prevention, management, and resolution, to transform the way international businesses engage with local communities abroad. The research model proposed runs on the assumption that best practices should be developed in reference to the experiences and expertise of actors from different sectors (research, government, private, and not-for-profit). These different “communities” of stakeholders have intersecting interests and can now overcome structural impediments to cooperation because of new opportunities to connect digitally.

Our core goal is to develop a framework that considers economic prosperity and social justice as goals that are not mutually exclusive. It is an approach that is compatible with Canada’s international image, but that has not been consistently applied in the mining sector. This project will deliver original research to develop international best practices in the extractive industry, which take into account security risks. The project’s findings have the potential to drastically improve business strategy choices in Canada and internationally.


Toolkits / Frameworks


Conflict Prevention Tool: Developing Multi-Stakeholder Strategies

The Conflict Prevention Tool is the culmination of a team project, which was designed as an incubator of new ideas to generate practical tools in support of conflict prevention and resolution efforts. It was developed by Dr. Stéfanie von Hlatky, Claude Voillat, Alan Bryden, Almero Retief, and Brian Gonsalves, with research assistance from Morgan Fox.

How does the tool work?

This tool involves data collection through desk-based research and field-based stakeholder consultations. It is comprised of the following sections: an overview of the tool’s purpose, the five steps to assess conflict, companion questionnaires, and practical tips on how to map stakeholders, handle exceptional circumstances, and conduct additional research.

The tool is designed to be practical, non-prescriptive, and user-friendly, to facilitate smooth integration into existing business processes and to improve corporate risk assessments. The tool is particularly relevant for companies with operations in fragile and conflict affected contexts, but the time required for the conflict analysis will vary based on each company’s unique conflict analysis requirements and the number of stakeholders included in consultations.


Getting to Net Positive: A New Approach to Extractive Development

For local communities to see sustained positive outcomes from mining and oil and gas projects, stakeholders must collectively adapt the approach to extractive development. Based on more than 150 dialogue-based interviews with communities, companies, governments and civil society organizations, we have developed a framework that outlines the five elements this approach should consider.

Expand for more about NetPositive and their framework

Throughout 2016 and 2017 we conducted an extensive collaborative research project to develop an evidence-based understanding of how mining and oil and gas development can support sustained positive outcomes for local communities. The project included 150 dialogue-based interviews with representatives from communities, extractive companies, various levels of government, civil society, academics, and service providers around the world. Participants in this research project highlighted two major findings:

  1. Over the past several decades there has been an increased effort to improve the social impacts of extractive development. However, the current approach to extractive development still does not consistently lead to sustained positive outcomes for local communities.
  2. For local communities to see long-lasting benefit and positive social change from extractive development, a new approach is needed. This approach must focus on 5 core elements, which are outlined the Framework
  •     Treat communities as legitimate, equal partners in extractive development
  •     Build strong partnerships among communities, companies, and governments
  •     Create a clear vision and define outcomes
  •     Make decisions in a systematic manner
  •     Manage tensions between worldviews

In the coming months, NetPositive is launching several research projects which focus on how to put these five elements into practice. We believe there is a great opportunity to learn from and share experiences across stakeholder groups and geographies. Our collaborative research projects bring people together to build capacity, improve accountability, and allows multiple perspectives to be heard and understood.

Social Conflict in the Extractive Sector: Developing Good Security Practices

Maison de la paix, Geneva, Switzerland - 27 November 2017

sponsor logos


  • * Achim Wennemann, Centre on Conflict, Development & Peacebuilding (Moderator)
  • * Isabelle Brissette, Rio Tinto
  • * Stefanie von Hlatky, Queen’s University
  • * Claude Voillat, Economic Advisor – ICRC
  • * Alan Bryden, DCAF


Companies working in complex environments face many security challenges around their areas of operations. These challenges can undermine the safety and security of their operations while also putting at risk their staff. The rights and protection of local communities is also a concern. The panel will examine conflict in the extractive sector and how good security practices are developed by extractive companies in response to perceived risks. The event will reflect on security and human rights challenges and corresponding solutions that can help extractive operations better manage conflict. It will outline different methods to engage local communities and government actors in the security process, and to build formal and informal relationships that can help mitigate conflict and protect human rights in a wide range of complex environments. This panel will feature short presentations representing different stakeholder perspectives, stemming from a 4-year joint project. The purpose of this will be to provide background information on the real-life security and human rights challenges faced by extractive companies operating in complex environments. The material that will be presented is based on extensive field experience and research into the workings of companies operating in challenging environments. This event will coincide with the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, also held in Geneva during that week.


Methods Workshop: Global Actors and Community-Level Security in the Extractive Sector

16 September 2016
Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotel, 1 Johnson St, Kingston ON

Download the Agenda [PDF 93 kb]


CEPSI logo

  • Policy Note - Garcia v Tahoe [PDF 72kb]
  • Briefing Note - Cyber Security and the Extractive Sector  [PDF 111kb]
  • Briefing Note - Examples of Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives [PDF 107kb]
  • Briefing Note - Illegal Sapphire Mining in Madagascar [PDF 99kb]
  • Briefing Note - Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Management Initiatives [PDF 112kb]
  • Briefing Note - Anti-Chinese Sentiment in Mongolia [PDF 101kb]
  • Briefing Note - The River Movements in Mongolia [PDF 104kb]
  • Briefing Note - Mozambique Community Development Policy [PDF 98kb]
  • Briefing Note - Peru's Shining Path Extremist Group [PDF 97kb]
  • Case Study - DRC: Public/Private Partnerships as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiative [PDF 102kb]
  • Country Profile - Guinea [PDF 165kb]
  • Country Profile - Madagascar [PDF 212kb]
  • Country Profile - Mongolia [PDF 201kb]
  • Country Profile - Mozambique [PDF 206kb]
  • Country Profile - Peru [PDF 186kb]
  • Country Profile - South Africa [PDF 186kb]
  • Country Profile - Uganda [PDF 212kb]
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Communities [PDF 108kb]
  • Briefing Note - Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the events at the Marikana Mine [PDF 201kb]
  • Security Practices - Oil v Mining [PDF 259kb]
  • Defining CSR [PDF 181kb]
  • CSR Implementation Examples [PDF 178kb]
  • South Africa - Mining Issue [PDF 136kb]
  • Conflict Prevention and Responses [PDF 130kb]
  • Mine Policing [PDF 120kb]

Funding year



Year 1 (2014-15)

Knowledge exchanges and training

Partnership meetings and training seminars

Year 2 (2015-16)

Create a framework to integrate security dimension to CSR activities

Fieldwork in Guinea, Peru, Colombia and Mongolia

Year 3 (2016-17)

Disseminate findings

Publish final report and scholarly articles, start briefing stakeholders

Project Director:

Professor Stéfanie von Hlatky, Queen’s University
Department of Political Studies
Tel: 613-533-6242


Kim Nossal, Queen’s University
Department of Political Studies
Tel: 613-533-6000 x 78971

Andrew Grant, Queen’s University
Department of Political Studies
Tel: 613-533-3120

Jane Boulden, Royal Military College of Canada
Department of Politics and Economics
Tel: 613-541-6000 ex. 6742

Frédric Mérand, Université de Montréal
Department of Political Studies
Tel: 514-343-7176

Samuel Tanner, Université de Montréal
School of Criminology
Tel: 514-343-6111 ex. 40567

Massimiliano Mulone, Université de Montréal
School of Criminology
Tel: 514-343-611 ex. 3646