08 July 2013

OPPORTUNITY: UNDP/Fiji

This memorandum is to notify you that the ABA-UNDP International Legal Resource Center (ILRC) has received a request from UNDP/Fiji for multiple experts to assist in providing a legal opinion on the  Fiji’s draft Mineral Act.  We hope to put together a diverse team of lawyers.  Lawyers with a background in Health and Safety issues, Land Tenure, Royalties, and Indigenous Populations are encouraged to apply.  The deadline for expressions of interest is Monday, July 15th, 2013.   Expressions of interest must include CVs and a short cover letter expressing related and relevant experience.  


Experts must be available for at least 3-6 weeks to work on this project.  This is a pro bono home based opportunity.  Experts will receive the documents to be reviewed via email and return comments and recommendations within the specified timeframe.  The ILRC will compile all the comments and recommendations into one comprehensive report for UNDP/Fiji and their stakeholders to review.   We expect to begin this project during the month of July.

[Please contact Jacqueline.Gichinga@americanbar.org for additional information and documentation. SPD]


BACKGROUND:

The extraction of oil, gas, minerals and other natural resources has led to a significant increase in revenue for a number of the Pacific Island countries.  While the revenue earned has fluctuated over the years, the increase in revenue has not led to any significant improvement in overall human development outcomes.  

The government owns the unextracted mineral resources in Fiji and the government controls the majority of Fiji land. Approximately 88% of the land is held by indigenous people as a communal tenure relationship under the control of the iTaukei Lands Trust Board, a statutory body that manages the native land, thus this land may only be leased.  The Fiji government owns approximately 4% of land.  Only 8% of the land is considered freehold private land. 

Fiji land is regulated by iTaukei Lands Trust Board, Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources, and other federal and local government authorities that deal with town planning and conservation.  The government established a "land bank" within the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources in 2011.  

The Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources controls and is responsible for programs that govern the state land administration, mineral sector and Fiji's groundwater resource.  Part of the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources's mission is to implement "policy initiatives on lands, minerals and groundwater resources", "develop a sense of societal and environmental responsibility, "improve revenue collection to assist with governments nation building efforts" and "embrace a corporate culture that is based on ethical and moral values".

The Mineral Resources Department of the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources provides policies on mining and facilitates the exploration and development of minerals and other natural resources. This department is comprised of the Mining Division, Geological Survey Division and Geological Services Division. (http://www.mrd.gov.fj/gfiji/).

Extractive industries intending to mine must receive a mining lease and a land lease in order to gain adequate title to the land. Since all of the unextracted minerals belong to the the government of Fiji, the government receives the mining royalty payments. Royalty payments for the right to extract the minerals are distinct from compensation payments for the landowners / leaseholders loss of tenure or damage to the land.  This compensation payment is calculated by the degree of impact from the mine or damage to the land and do not have any correlation to the value of the mineral. 

As public attention turns towards the expanded use of the Pacific’s resource endowment, including seabed mining, a key question that emerges is how natural resource extraction can better contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction in the Pacific region. 

UNDP aims to support programme countries to harness their extractive industries for a people-centred and sustainable development process.  The organizing framework for UNDP’s work structures the support to programme countries on extractive industries for: 1) enabling participatory legislation, policy and planning processes; 2) conducting people-centred exploration and extraction operations, that is gender-sensitive and addresses conflict risks and environmental and social sustainability; 3) prudently collecting and managing revenues to advance sustainable development for all; and 4) investing in human, social, physical and financial capital to advance sustainable human development, compensate for declining natural wealth and support economic diversification. Throughout, UNDP will take a human rights approach paying particular attention to indigenous peoples and local communities, and among these; women, girls and boys, migrants and artisanal miners and their families, and other vulnerable groups.

To that end, UNDP/Fiji is supporting Fiji and other island nations to:

o   Manage extractive industries to minimize negative impact on the community through adoption of policies and programmes that respect cultural heritage and diversity in the Pacific while ensuring environmental and social sustainability; respect human rights and gender equality
o   Manage extractive industries to maximize opportunities for employment and associated industrial development while avoiding disruption to local industry and employment opportunities
o   Manage extractive industries by ensuring that all national and international environmental regulations are adhered to and promote best practices by these industries
o   Manage extractive industries to ensure health and safety of the indigenous peoples who will be directly affected by the industries actions
o   Educate stakeholders and the community about the extraction processes in order to ensure that the Fijians understand the implication of these laws and actions
o Adopt policies to ensure that the benefits from the exploitation of extractive industries are distributed equitably, including providing adequate compensation for communities most affected by resource extraction. 
Please review this document to learn more about Fiji Sustainable Land Management: http://www.undp.org.fj/images/stories/2012/PD_Envt/fiji_slm_00042574.pdf 

SELECTION CRITERIA:

We are would like a diverse team of lawyers to work on this project. Lawyers must have an advance degree in Law, Public Administration, Environmental Law/Studies, or relevant degree and at least 6-10 years of demonstrated experience in legislative reform, drafting legislation, and policy development experience.  Lawyers with a background in Environmental Law, Health and Safety issues, Land Tenure, Royalties, and Indigenous Populations are encouraged to apply.  A diverse range of expertise is needed, including:

·     Knowledge of the management of extractive industries and offshore mining (seabed minerals exploration) is an asset, especially in the context of Pacific Islands
·     Knowledge regarding royalty and mineral law in Oceania
·     Knowledge of Fiji environmental laws, regulations and standards
·     Knowledge of promoting human development through sustainable natural resource extraction
·     Knowledge and understanding of the socio-economic and political context in Fiji and the Pacific Island Nations
·     Experience with land tenure issues and the rights of indigenous populations
·     Experience with stakeholder and civil society engagement on environmental issues
·     Excellent analytical and drafting skills with the ability to deal with a range of complex legal issues
·     Experience in  licensing and permit structure
·     Experience in Corporate Social Responsibility
·     Experience with UNDP or another UN agency and familiarity with UN/UNDP field operations is a plus
·     Fluency in written and oral English

*Junior lawyers with an environmental background are welcome to submit a CV and short cover letter for related legal research opportunities.

We would be most appreciative if you would review and determine whether you, anyone you know or any organization with which you are affiliated may have any knowledge of experts who might be good candidates. The deadline for expressions of interest is Monday, July 15th, 2013.   Expressions of interest must include CVs and a short cover letter expressing related and relevant experience.   As always, we appreciate your assistance and please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or if you have any questions.

Completed applications must be sent to Jacqueline.Gichinga@americanbar.org.     

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