Good Governance of Natural Resources
The project focused on key principles for good management of natural resources. Missing legislation, corruption and clear violations of human rights are very often linked to the exploitation of natural resources. Based on Norwegian experiences with management of oil and gas reserves on Norway’s continental shelf, the Oslo Center provided tangible contributions to a better, more prudent and transparent management of mineral resources in relevant countries, primarily in Asia.
In 2016 the Oslo Center conducted three workshops (in Mongolia, Myanmar and Kyrgyz Republic) – in collaboration with the President and Foreign Ministry of Mongolia – highlighting different topics of good management of natural resources.
After the collapse of Soviet Union, many of the former republics lost necessary management control over oil wells, mineral mines and other natural resources. Still, the lack of relevant legislation and follow-up legislation is significantly visible in many of these countries. In the wake of this administrative and legal vacuum, corruption is still widespread, and many countries have a low score on Transparency International Index. Responsible leaders acknowledge the problems and are looking for support to improve the situation. Norway has a unique experience with management systems, accounting, legislation and sovereign funds linked to exploitation of oil and gas, which has attracted interests from many countries.
Based on a constructive and successful cooperation between position parties and the opposition to reach agreement on basic legislation, taxation and frameworks, several countries have succeeded in making the natural resources a blessing to its citizens by a healthy economic growth and an improved living standard. An important key to this success is the trust of the political system resulting from a responsible interparty dialogue to ensure basic national interests and democratic values. This is not only important for ensuring long-term investments for the industry. It also contributes to the respect among citizens for political craftsmanship when politicians are capable of seeing over political divisions when necessary.
The aim of the project was to support selected countries in their struggle to improve laws and regulations of natural resources and to eradicate corruption.
There are plenty of temptations and pitfalls along the way to develop a responsible and just extraction of natural resources. However, at the end of this road, a golden opportunity shows up: to transform mineral wealth into economic growth and improved standard of living covering the whole population leading to political trust and stability. The countries that have participated in the project, are very different with respect to both the system of government as well as the nature of deposits and composition of natural resources – the project was tailored thereafter.