- What is law? "It doesn’t do any good to comply with the law if at the end of the day you can’t move ahead on projects," he said.
- What is development? "If the objective is to create sustainable development around mining operations, we have to define what is development."
- What are the alternatives to how business has traditionally been carried out.
His thesis contains three parts. First, natural resource development brings accelerated change to regions with traditional cultures, subsistence livelihoods, and natural ecosystems. Second, these are often areas with weak local governments and institutions. And third, there is often a lack of capacity to manage this change to achieve a positive form of development.
Revenues are needed, he said, to compensate for impacts on livelihoods. They are needed to provide basic services such as public health, security, education, potable water, and electrification. Above all, revenues are needed to strengthen the institutions that manage this process of change.
The "essential elements" of any sustainable development effort must be:
- Ability to plan and manage the development process.
- Ability to resolve disputes and conflicts.
- Ability to respond to community sentiment.
- Accountability for success or failure; the people who make decisions are held accountable by the community.
Distilling all of his observations, Mr. Danielson pointed to three challenges:
- Impacts begin long before there are revenues.
- The “off again, on again” flow of revenues associated with developed projects.
- Impacts continue after the revenues end; a huge social need remains after revenues end.
"These are very difficult challenges and in many places local government is not able to manage them effectively," he said.