The Catholic social teaching principle of subsidiarity states that problems should be dealt with at the lowest level possible, but the highest level necessary. It attempts to create structures of social power that can best protect the dignity of individuals and families and promote their human flourishing. In the case of mining, subsidiarity would say that the communities impacted by mining need to be centered and empowered to the greatest extent possible, but that the national, regional, and/or global nature of the issues at stake, like climate change, violent conflict, or economic justice, mean that community goals and decisions need to be weighed against other common goods or translated into broader frameworks. Subsidiarity can be an effective tool for adjudicating the best ways to optimize these goods within different contexts. This essay examines the role of subsidiarity in three key sectors related to mining: international law and human rights, regulation, and sustainability and the environment. After showing how subsidiarity applies to these problems, four additional recommendations are given for how to exercise subsidiarity for justice and peace in mining: focus on vertical integration, create opportunities for horizontal subsidiarity, build capacity in local communities, and support alternatives to industrial mining. Two examples of a subsidiary response to mining are detailed: Oro Verde in Colombia and Chartered Mediation in Extractive Industries in Kenya.
Montevecchio, Caesar A.
"Subsidiarity: A Central Principle for Justice, Peace, and Sustainability in Mining,"
The Journal of Social Encounters:
Available at: https://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/social_encounters/vol7/iss1/8
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