1.C. Partners and participating organizations

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1.C. Partners and participating organizations

There are three main stakeholders in this project:

  • The project is hosted by the LOTERR laboratory at the University of Lorraine
  • It is carried out in partnership with Madjulla Inc., a cultural NGO run by Nyikina people, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. This NGO is directed by Anne Poelina and Ian Perdrisat. Website:

http://www.majala.com.au/about.htm and also http://www.mardoowarra.com.au/

  • The project is also carried out in partnership with the International Water Centre, directed by Mark Pascoe, under the leadership of Brian McIntosh.

Website: http://www.watercentre.org/about/staff

The town of Charleville – Mézières has contributed to this study in the following way:

  • Grant of an Individual Right to Training for a period of 86 hours. Goal to acquire a better understanding of the English language
  • Grant of a 2-month training leave. Website: http://www.charleville-mezieres.fr/

My core competency is planning (geography and development). I am a member of the French Association of Territorial Engineers (AITF) and a member of the International Association of Planners (ISOCARP / ISOCARP – International Society of City and Regional Planners). I am also one of the representative of ISOCARP at UNESCO (UNESCO Liaison Committee).

The strong association that has developed through representation at UNESCO has influenced the inclusion of methods advocated by UNESCO as fundamental to this research.

These methods are founded on the approach of the Division of Hydrology and the International Hydrological Institute which was set up in 1957
(http://www.unesco-ihe.org/about-unesco-ihe ).

References will be made to the four following works:

(to be completed with
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/water/wwap/wwdr/2014-water-and-energy/ )

It quickly became apparent that the IWRM is, with its 5 main stages, an expression, in the field of water, of Whitehead’s organic drop of experience. There is scope for further exploring the unity between science, philosophy, and action-research in water and mining.

1.C.1.     The participating organizations:

These organizations are the following:

  1. Laboratory LOTERR (http://loterr.univ-lorraine.fr/)
  2. Madjulla Inc (http://www.majala.com.au/)
  3. International Water Centre (http://www.watercentre.org/ )
  4. City of Charleville-Mezieres (http://www.charleville-mezieres.fr/)
  5. ISOCARP (http://ISOCARP.org/)
  6. NGO Liaison Committee at UNESCO (http://www.ngo-unesco.net/en/)

Address: 23 Boulevard Albert 1er, BP 3397, 54 015 Nancy Cedex Tel: 03 54 50 51 27

The LOTERR Laboratory is a research centre of the University of Lorraine. It was created in 2013 from the merger of the Nancy and Metz laboratories of geography.

The LOTERR laboratory has two main research axes, which are as follows:


  • 1: Water and environments (geomorphologic, hydrological and climatological approach in relation to human impacts).
  • 2: Spatial and landscape analysis, planning, geopolitics (space, landscape and geopolitical analysis. The research focused on multi- scalar observations of territories, people and landscapes over time, in order to examine the processes affecting development and the evolution of the geographical objects under study).

This research is located on the second axis, using the works of specialists of the first axis, within an organic scientific approach.

The laboratory has prioritised research about mining resources and mining landscapes of the planet and their transformation over time and on different scales. This work owes a lot to the two following works (to which many articles and books have been added):

  • Deshaies Michel, Mining territories: exploitation and reconquest, Éditions Ellipses, Paris, 2007, 224 pages (this book is the edition of the Habilitation research (HDR) of Mr. Deshaies)
  • Deshaies Michel, Banda Guy, Natural resources and population, Edition Ellipses, Paris, 2013, 358 pages.

These works are part of significant literature produced around the theme of Eco-society, especially with the two following key works:

  • Dictionary: Environment and society, Ellipses Edition, Paris, 2011, 764 pages
  • Wackermann Gabriel (eds.), Eco-society. Toward a more responsible society?, Ellipses Edition, Paris, 2010, 623 p.

Madjulla Inc. PO Box 2747 Broome WA 6725 Tel: 0408 922 155 Email: Majala@wn.com.au

This work was started after I first met Nyikina people in August 2011. At the time, they were defending Walmadany-James Price Point from the creation of the largest multi-user LNG processing and export facility (gas hub) in the world.

During my stay, I became aware of the huge amount of preliminary work that had been carried out by Woodside on the 52 hectare site without official permits as the final approvals on the development had not yet been given. Thirty ISOCARP planners were made aware of this, as was the Australian delegation, including the Australian National Delegate of the time, who almost chastised me while claiming that of the preliminary work approvals were perfectly legal. However two months later, the Supreme Court of Australia invalidated the previous approvals. as the original approvals had only been granted for a 4 km2 area, whereas the works performed exceeded this size 12 times over. The tension between Aboriginal people and “white Australians” was palpable, it was a conflict between two cultures which had great difficulties in understanding each-other. One example can be given to illustrate this lack of understanding: the word “private property” does not exist in Aboriginal languages. For them, economic development does not have any meaning if it is not implemented with a strong connection to the Earth, to “country”. The spirit of connection is called ‘liyan’ by the Nyikina people (Poelina A. 2009, page 176-179). For Aboriginal people, the notion of territory (country) is much wider Western concepts experienced by “white Austalians” grounded in notions of real estate associated with private ownership.

This situation was presented at the UNESCO-NGO Committee on human rights on June 1, 2012, with a supporting film entitled “Mardoowarra Living Water”.

Other films on You Tube present the Kimberley and the work of Madjulla Inc.:

The key site to understand the action of Madjulla Inc. is as follows:

http://mardoowarra.com.au/ Some excerpts are dedicated to the exploration/mining in the Kimberley

The files available for mining purposes are as follows:

Coal mining (Coal mining) with an analysis of the risks of 2011: http://www.mardoowarra.com.au/tmp/Report.pdf

  • Uranium exploitation of (uranium mining)
  • Shale gas exploitation (fracking)
  • Duchess Paradise mine project (coal)
  • Delayed Gas hub project at Walmadany – James Price Point

Madjulla Inc. is a cultural NGO, which created a Wilderness Centre at Balginjirr Aboriginal Community, Lower Liveringa south of Derby. The buildings are almost finished, but they are located in a zone earmarked for coal and shale gas exploration. Future extraction projects could be counterproductive to Indigenous eco-friendly development opportunities in wild harvest and sustainable agriculture, eco-tourism; and research, education and training.

There are cultural reasons and risk to future economic opportunities that has generated a great deal of interest in the quality of the scientific studies on the impacts of the mining projects in their region. As Native Title owners of country Indigenous leaders need to be very clear about the real potential impacts on their country, in order to give genuine free, prior and informed consent for resource development.

International Water Centre: Level 16, 333 Ann Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000 PO Box 10907, Adelaide St, Brisbane, QLD 4000

Tel 61 7 3014 0200 Fax + 61 7 3103 4574 e-mail: e-mail: admin@watercentre.org

The International Water Centre (IWC) is dedicated to providing education, training, action research, and advanced expertise, by developing skills through training and promoting different methodological approaches to the study of the water cycle, it seeks to enable an integrated management of this resource throughout the world.

During my first stay, IWC kindly provided me with an office at its headquarters on 333 Anne Street from September 23th to October 30th, for almost 40 days. The office was located between the IWC and the International Centre of Energy. This position allowed me to interact with Tim McLennan, the person in charge of international training in the field of energy.

My mentor was Brian McIntosh, the training manager I also worked closely with Dana Kelly, who was in charge of the course: Participatory Processes Related to Water.

Within its training courses, the IWC includes robust discussion and conflict resolutionin order to build trust through open dialogue with Aboriginal people. I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by a local Aboriginal man about water. His presentation featured a role play, the purpose of which was to make the audience aware of how Western colonizers eroded the links Aboriginal people had had with their countries, and their water, over the last 40 to 60,000 years. Those colonizing processes included killings, forcible removals with a prohibition to prevent people from returning to their homes and families, indentured labour and use of work cards, traditional lands granted to other peoples with Traditional Owner prohibited from returning back home, etc… Nevertheless, thanks to the songlines, dreamtime stories, and celebrations (corroboree), they have managed to maintain their culture in a number of places.

Even though the IWC is very aware and inclusive of this cultural dimension, the Centre must also be very careful when working with Aboriginal people, because Indigenous connection to country is specific to their culture and their spirituality, which often conflicts with mining development projects. You are not allowed to speak and write as freely in Australia as you can in Europe: the European critical spirit is virtually absent or prohibited (new recent laws forbid public servants to criticize their administrations, both in their personal and professional lives, and people are encouraged to report them to authorities if they do so).

My methodological approach focused on two Guidelines both linked to water: one Guideline on participation and the other one on economy.

The town of Charleville-Mézières has strongly supported the project by providing me with the availability to make two trips to Australia and to attend a series of conferences over a period of one month in France with our Australian partners.

The town’s interest is both cultural and urban.

This cultural interest is clearly demonstrated by the fact that it was Dr Black, an Aboriginal academic from Griffith University, who drew our attention to the Meuse, said to be “one of the oldest River in the world” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rivers_by_age ). For Dr Black, this fact explains the responsibility the local community can exercise through its International Institute of Puppetry (sign of the invisible in the visible), and through its local stories, including that of the “Four Sons of Aymon.” This story is told every hour in one of Charleville-Mezière’s downtown squares and is also symbolized by four rocks above the Meuse River at Bogny, a relatively unknown fact to geographers and local residents.

This story was the main theme of a Conference on May 23rd, 2014, in the presence of representatives of Madjulla Inc, and local specialists in cultural matters (archaeology, local lore, history and literature).

Given people in the Kimberley are trying to save the quantity and the quality of their waters and people in the Ardennes region are trying to restore the quality of their water; there is an opportunity to share information and collaborate on the development and evaluation of effective methodologies to protect, preserve and restore the worlds ancient rivers.

ISOCARP is located in The Hague. It was created in 1965, 50 years ago this year. I have been a member since 1984, first as a grantee in their 2-year “young professionals’ research program” sponsored by UNESCO, then as a full member, since 1986. As a “young professional”, I worked on the methodology of a Guide whose aim was to compare different planning systems worldwide.

ISOCARP is an international association of civic planning professionals. The association currently has about 500 members from 84 different countries. It deals with all aspects of urbanism and urban planning through the expertise of its members (teachers, researchers, public and private practitioners…).

The 49th ISOCARP Congress was held in Brisbane, Queensland, in Australia. Its main theme was the revival of urban planning. This gave me the opportunity to begin my postdoctoral research through a collaboration with Australian Aboriginal partners, Madjulla Inc., and to network with Australian professionals. (see below the ISOCARP contribution)

The Liaison Committee (LC) brings together some 350 NGOs which have the status of partners working with UNESCO, or as consultative associations. The LC President is elected for 2 years and organizes 4 international forums. In 2014, I attended the 2nd forum “Access to water for all held in Yamoussoukro, . It gave me the opportunity to present a participatory methodology which integrates cultural issues as discussed with my Australian collaborators during my post-doctoral research trip. (see below the paper that was presented).

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