The Limits of Heritage: Corporate Interests and Cultural Rights on Resource Frontiers. Coombe and Baird

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The new emphasis upon cultural heritage as a development resource in policy bodies has been taken up by multilateral institutions, state law, NGOs, and local goverment bodies. Many scholars are critical of the new governmentalities that such
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  CHAPTER 1  A Companion to Heritage Studies  , First Edition. Edited by William Logan, Máiréad Nic Craith, and Ullrich Kockel. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2015 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The Limits of Heritage: Corporate Interests and Cultural Rights on Resource Frontiers Rosemary J. Coombe and Melissa F. Baird  I NTRODUCTION “Critical heritage studies” (Baird 2009, 2012) positions heritage within a wider field of global institutions, discourses, and power relations. For example, the new emphasis upon cultural heritage as a development resource by international institutions, states, NGOs, and local governing bodies is criticized by scholars who call attention to the new governmentalities that neoliberal heritage regimes engender (Coombe 2012), and their impacts on local “communities” reduced to mere “stakeholders” in reconfigured fields of power. In this vein, we draw upon ethnographic studies of Australia, Romania, and Madagascar to show how heritage claims emerge in new terrains of contestation involving local residents, resources, and extractive industries. International heritage institutions face new challenges as heritage becomes imbricated in industry strategies on “resource frontiers” (Tsing 2003, 2005), limiting social expectations for its governance. Rights‐oriented institutions and movements, however, also afford communities and indigenous peoples the means to insist upon new forms of participation and accountability, and assert territorialities that expose the limits of universalizing heritage discourses.   CHAPTER 24 0002526647.INDD 3375/6/2015 7:05:30 PM  338   ROSEMARY    J . COOMBE    AND   MELISSA    F . BAIRD C ONTENTIOUS  T ERRAIN : H ERITAGE , R  ESOURCES ,  AND  R  IGHTS Heritage is everywhere: Viking heritage is rebranded as a “Disney‐style amusement park,” urban trail systems promote a city’s “brewing heritage,” and national parks protect indigenous cultural heritage from industrial development. The exponential growth of heritage is part of a proliferation of culturalized claims to property and rights in an era of neoliberalism, informational capital, and indigenous politicization (Coombe 2009). Cultural heritage is positioned as a resource to alleviate poverty, provide sources of human dignity, sustain livelihoods, prevent rural to urban migration, reinforce social cohesion, and provide new forms of enterprise for “ communities,” culturally conceived.UNESCO and its advisory bodies, moreover, are increasingly preoccupied with negotiations around resources and the proliferation and impact of extractive industries. These institutions are now called upon to respond to global conflicts and to mediate issues of development and human rights, while negotiating boundaries between zones of permissible actors and permitted activities. They find themselves engaged with industry actors and private sector institutions to broker issues of natural resource extraction, environmental impact, and social benefit. Such involvements are especially intense on resource frontiers, a concept that delineates places of emergent agency at the intersection of industrial enterprise, transnational governmentalities, international norms, and local interests (Tsing 2003, 2005). Resource frontiers concentrate action: investment, extraction, negotiation, development, and resistance. These are zones in  which natural heritage and sustainable development initiatives uneasily coexist with extractive industry and peoples who have cultural attachments to lands. In such con-texts, the definition, rhetorical framing, and rights to lay claims to heritage are all matters of contention.Corporate discourses of responsibility may become reconfigured around expressions of heritage (Weiss 2014) in what we might cynically deem a new heritage industrial complex. Development priorities provoke international heritage bodies to legitimate new dispensations. The World Heritage Committee’s decision in 2012 to allow Tanzania to excise village lands in a wildlife corridor in the Selous Game Reserve for the Mkuju River Uranium Project, overturning their earlier decision that mining was incompatible with heritage status, illustrates these new pressures from state and industry interests. The uranium project was majority owned by a Russian corporation, and the decision was made when Russia was chairing the World Heritage Committee session, in clear violation of rules regarding conflicts of interest. International mining activists charge that Tanzania has not complied with the conditions set by the World Heritage Committee, and has no intention of so doing (Uranium Network 2013). The project has provoked unprecedented international opposition on health, environmental, economic, and human rights grounds that has spurred interfaith cooperation and support from civil society organizations and absrcinal peoples with extensive experience  with the industry (Kuhne 2013).The UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, made critical evaluation of extractive industries in and near indigenous territories an international priority in 2013. His earlier report to the UN Human Rights Council asserted that dominant models for advancing natural resource extraction were contrary to the international principle of indigenous self‐determination, and that most states and industry actors failed to understand the basic minimum standards of 0002526647.INDD 3385/6/2015 7:05:39 PM  THE   LIMITS   OF   HERITAGE   339their responsibilities (UNHRC 2011). Most global governance bodies, however, understand the negative consequences of resource extraction within or near indigenous territories, and a wide variety of NGOs seek to assist indigenous peoples and other local communities to control and limit extractive practices or to develop partnerships that assure community benefits.Global heritage institutions must at least nominally show adherence to a new body of international indigenous rights in which cultural heritage grounds new political claims (Wiessner 2011). As we explain below, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has become obligated to demonstrate its commit-ment to respect international indigenous rights. Indigenous rights, however, are only one category of rights in which the heritage significance of lands and resources grounds collective cultural rights that may be used to discipline states and the industrial developments they condone (FPP 2013). In its reporting procedures and a newly established complaints process, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) affirms that the right to participate in cultural life may be exercised by communities in the ways that they occupy lands and use resources, and the rights of minorities to conserve and develop their own culture includes protection of the cultural heritage of communities in economic development and environmental policies. This requires that States Parties obtain free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) when the preservation of a group’s cultural resources, especially those associated with their way of life, are at risk. Indigenous peoples, moreover, seek to embed compliance with customary law principles into the very definition of FPIC. Clearly rights‐based struggles on resource frontiers will increasingly engage issues of indigenous territoriality.The International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1969) that binds 175 nation‐states affirms the cultural rights of ethnic groups, and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) recently called for the government of Laos to “review its land regime  with a view to recognizing the cultural aspect of land as an integral part of the identity of some ethnic groups” in mountainous areas (UNCERD 2012: 4). UNCERD has extended the principle of FPIC as a requirement in all   resource‐based projects that affect the way of living, livelihood, and culture of ethnic groups. In early warning and urgent action procedures as well as its general recommenda-tions, it affirms the collective property rights of ethnically and racially identified peoples “in cases where their ways of life and culture are linked to the utilization of lands and resources” (UNCERD 2011: 2). New regional rights bodies have also extended recognition of culturally based land and resource rights. The tenure rights of non‐indigenous “forest peoples” governed by customary law, for instance, are increasingly articulated as human rights in the face of accelerated land grabs in Africa (De Schutter 2011). For communities whose ancestral lands and traditional livelihoods are significant aspects of their cultural identity, logging, industrial agriculture, aquaculture, and even large‐scale tourism may be considered extractive enterprises. Cultural heritage, in short, grounds an increasing number of human rights laws, principles, and norms. Nonetheless, representatives of States Parties to UNESCO’s international heritage conventions and heritage professionals often seem to be either ignorant of these rights and/or actively hostile to their exercise as the recent treatment of the World Heritage Indigenous Peoples Council of Experts illustrates (Logan 2013; Meskell 2013). 0002526647.INDD 3395/6/2015 7:05:39 PM  340   ROSEMARY    J . COOMBE    AND   MELISSA    F . BAIRD I NDUSTRY   E NGAGEMENT    WITH  H ERITAGE If social scientists now trace the discursive logic and material apparatus through  which private actors deploy international heritage languages in new forms of heritage governance (Golub and Rhee 2013; Patterson and Telesetsky 2012, Starr 2013), heritage scholars must now attend to the ways in which cultural heritage responsi-bilities are taken up in highly publicized statements by corporate bodies (e.g. Baird 2013; Weiss 2014). What work does such discourse accomplish, and how does it align with or legitimate industry practices? We need to study global flows of discourse, imagery, capital, normative principles, and the frictions between these (Tsing 2005, 2009). Such investigations need to follow specific discourses, political agendas, and forms of expertise (ethnographically, archivally, and through zones of publicity and personal experience) as these are framed by heritage concepts. Does corporate publication of finely crafted heritage policy statements serve as a way to develop community capacities, or does it make an extractivist agenda more acceptable to a wider group of interlocutors? With these questions in mind, Baird visited two sites in Western Australia and Northern Territory presented in an oft‐cited publication by the mining company Rio Tinto (Bradshaw and Rio Tinto 2011), and found that the company was working closely with Absrcinal communities and developing best practices of some benefit to them (Baird 2013). At the same time, it is clear that publications such as Why Cultural Heritage Matters   (Bradshaw and Rio Tinto 2011) reframe contentious debates in a celebratory language of partnership that ignores power relations and obscures environmental impacts. Corporate discourse contains, manages, and packages heritage in nostalgic, ahistorical, and apolitical ways, and presents a view of good governance that ignores issues of coercion, levels of political recognition, and struggles to control lands and identities. Ongoing contested claims are presented as resolved and indigenous communities are unilaterally represented as partners in development projects in which they have had little if any choice.Corporate heritage discourse produces corporate literary forms that deploy a standardized array of rhetorical techniques to frame local heritage so that it serves as evidentiary legitimation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles and company respect for international legal norms for community protection (Kirsch 2010). Rio Tinto’s communities and social performance indices, for example, clearly draw upon earlier iterations of social impact assessment and redefine these around business priorities (Rio Tinto 2011). Key documents delineate corporate attention to communities, gender relations, and rights principles in a way that fulfills the company’s ultimate responsibilities to shareholders and investors. Who assesses their veracity? While the protection of heritage may be offered up by corporate interests as a bargaining chip to negotiate enhanced access to land and resources, our critical inquiries need to go further. In any given context we need to ask whether heritage is a shared point of reference in overall negotiations, a consideration required by national or regional legislation, an attempt to align development with human rights norms, an effort to appease NGOs, a way to ensure eligibility for “ethical” investment, or an endeavor to limit and sequester the agency of indigenous and local communities. In addition to corporate intent,  we need to consider global pressures, national contexts, and local effects and consequences. 0002526647.INDD 3405/6/2015 7:05:39 PM  THE   LIMITS   OF   HERITAGE   341Indigenous peoples, moreover, are now linked with powerful international networks as a consequence of the global recognition of indigenous rights and the support of transnational environmental organizations. Regional associations of indigenous peoples have become increasingly proactive in naming, blaming, and shaming states, development banks, and industry actors whose activities fail to accord with recognized indigenous and collective rights. They have circulated their own statements of best practices in attempts to educate communities about the kinds of pressure they can assert on funding bodies, industry groups, and particular companies. For example, the  Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact recently published a community guide for indigenous peoples designed to educate communities about their rights pursuant to the Asian Development Bank’s safeguard policy statement (AIPP 2013). This financial institution funds projects in regions where 70 percent of the world’s indigenous peoples live; it is the third largest donor to developing countries in Asia and the Pacific.Over 20 years, indigenous peoples have pressured the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to develop safeguard policies and procedures to hold member states accountable. These remain poorly known, making widespread violations of these safeguards inevitable unless and until indigenous peoples and their supporters find effective ways of using grievance, redress, and accountability mechanisms to pressure member states. Heritage scholars could play an important role in this education process. Significantly, safeguards are to be initiated if a project directly or indirectly affects the human rights, livelihood, and culture of indigenous peoples or their natural and cultural resources. 1  In the absence of regional human rights instruments, this is an important lever for indigenous peoples seeking recognition, participation, and the sharing of benefits. The ADB will neither finance projects that have not complied with safeguards, nor support those in which a member state has failed to comply with international legal obligations. As we have seen, such obligations include many rights that are premised upon collectively held cultural heritage. What role might critical heritage scholars play in identifying potential violations of rights in the face of development proposals and publicizing impending harms?The Australian context might be used as an example of how the specificities of national legislation limit and shape the political expectations we might have for heritage governance. The value of Australian mineral exports exceeded AUS$107 billion in 2012, and the development of extractive industries in Western Australia is unprecedented (Scambary 2013). Yet, despite 60 percent of mineral operations occurring in or near indigenous communities (Taylor 2012), most Australian Absrcinal peoples have seen little benefit (Langton and Longbottom 2012). Unlike most settler colonies, there is no treaty in Australia that formally recognizes indigenous peoples’ prior occupancy of lands and waters. Heritage legislation in Northern Territory and South Australia provided the baseline for securing Australian Absrcinal peoples’ rights and restricting activities on areas or sites of significance. Indeed, the limits of heritage governance regimes focused on sites, places, and objects (Teehan and Godden 2012) spurred movements to recognize Absrcinal legal title, culminating in the High Court’s recognition of native title in the case of Mabo v. Queensland (No. 2)  (1992) and the Native Title Act (1993), which ensured legal and political recognition, and rights to negotiate and claim benefits, transforming the way that mining companies and industrial actors more generally conducted their operations. Disparities in power and benefit have fundamentally shifted. In 2001, Rio Tinto announced an agreement with Absrcinal owners in the Pilbara region of Western Australia to provide AUS$2 billion over 40 0002526647.INDD 3415/6/2015 7:05:39 PM
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