Natural Resources: Implementation Strategies

Strategic frameworks

Where natural resources are a factor in conflict, it is likely that security, governance and development interests must be considered in tandem in order for each to be addressed to any meaningful extent. For example, strategies linking short-term disarmament, demobilization, reinsertion and reintegration (DDR) objectives with longer-term peacebuilding goals are not sustainable if alternative livelihoods are not prioritized in resource-rich environments; former combatants and other citizens and even non-nationals will vie to exploit natural resources, at times illegally, if other avenues for livelihoods are not available. Revenue from natural resources may spur national economic recovery and support peacebuilding initiatives when local and national regulatory systems are in place to frustrate violent actors. This requires monitoring and enforcement, pedagogy, and the use of incentives to positively reinforce desired activities. A continual process of institutionalized law and order on the ground initiated early on and inclusive of local stakeholder rights and concerns, is necessary for natural resources to be legally and properly utilized for development and growth objectives.1

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Institutional initiatives

Certain strategies have enjoyed more success than others in measuring progress toward natural resource governance reform. Figuring among them are the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as well as certain certification schemes (in particular the Kimberley Process and Forest Stewardship Council) and the Resource Conflict Monitor, the Rainforest Action Network and the Marine Stewardship Council. Individually, each has made headway in their respective arenas, and jointly, they represent dynamic new approaches by the international community and civil society to offer tangible, measurable and results-oriented practical tools to solve these pervasive issues.

Institutional mechanisms for natural resource management are increasingly dealing with issues of governance. Movements such as EITI and PWYP have gained ground in pushing for broader accountability throughout resource value-chains reaching local and international participants. These initiatives cover transparency measures such as licensing concessions and contract bidding to fiscal management of revenues.2 This public involvement in normally private or closed transactions open the doors to dealings between extractive industries and states in a way that strongly encourages an invigorated commitment to fairness and responsible resource and financial management.3

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

Initiated by the British Government, the EITI began partly as an extension of the Publish What You Pay movement as "an emerging global reporting standard for revenue payments and receipts in resource rich countries."4 EITI is essentially a coalition of civil society organizations, corporations, investors, state governments and the international community, including the "major players" in the oil industry. It is based on the premise that transparency has morphed from a risky concept to one of public accountability as an obligation, a stance outlined by Tony Blair in Johannesburg at the September 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.5

The goals of the EITI center on fostering good governance in "resource-rich countries through the verification and full publication of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining."6 It relies on the engagement of this coalition as a diverse set of stakeholders, setting an example for some participating states to base national policies.

Revenue Watch cites Nigeria and Ghana as cases of EITI success. In the case of Nigeria, an EITI law was created with a corresponding program certifying contract licensing and bidding, two processes historically rife with corruption.7 Ghana launched a similar program to address resource revenue management, focusing on the sub-national distribution of funds within districts with the support of voluntary contributions of extractive companies.8

Kimberley Process (KP)

Born at a May 2000 meeting of Southern African diamond-producing states, the Kimberley Process (KP) is a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to halt the flow of so-called 'conflict diamonds' and ensure that profits from diamond purchase were not funding conflict.9 The KP has 48 members representing 74 countries. Additionally, the World Diamond Council, which represents the international diamond industry, and several civil society organizations, including Global Witness and Partnership-Africa Canada, participate in the Kimberley Process.10

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) imposes export, import, internal control, and transparency requirements on member states so as to certify shipments of rough diamonds as 'conflict-free' and bar conflict diamonds from the international market.11 The KPCS has arguably been successful in stemming the trade of conflict diamonds and holding governments and the private sector responsible for their role in diamond trade. Conflict diamonds now represent a less than one percent of the international trade in diamonds, down from 15% in the 1990s.12As a byproduct, the KP has perhaps stabilized fragile countries and promoted development13by ensuring that diamond profits are not concentrated in the hands of warlords.However, critics of the Kimberley Process suggest the mechanism suffers from a lack of transparency and that the voluntary nature of the KP means that many are opting out of participation. The World Diamond Council, established at the Kimberley Process to represent the diamond industry, has not assumed monitoring responsibilities, and governments have exhibited a lack of interest in monitoring diamond trade.14 Many argue that there is a need for improvement in the KP to adapt to new circumstances. First, KP's reactive role needs to be addressed together with its inability to conduct independent research. Secondly, KP needs to expand civil society participation.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

The Forest Stewardship Council is a certification scheme for timber products based on sustainability principles for long-term forest vitality, environmental protection, and fair compensation and respect for indigenous communities. As a value-add to instill consumer confidence in sustainable forestry products, the Chain of Custody system traces the life cycle of the wood through the entire supply chain.15 The popularity of the scheme has lead to expansion in other sectors; the certification also covers non-timber commodities of latex and some foods.16

Resource Conflict Monitor (RCM)

A project of the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), "The Resource Conflict Monitor (RCM) monitors how resource-rich countries manage, administer and govern their natural resources and illustrates the impact of the quality of resource governance on the onset, intensity and duration of violent conflict."17 RCM is used as a mechanism intended to support sustainable natural resource governance, conflict mitigation and post-conflict recovery.18 It extrapolates and applies (secondary) data on resource governance, conflict, and natural resources from 90 resource-rich countries for the time period 1996-2006,19 In addition, BICC created the Resource Governance Index (RGI) measuring governance criteria (ex. regime type, political rights, civil liberties, media freedoms and labor rights) with "resource-specific governance indicators (nationally protected land as percentage of total land area, Resource Regime Compliance Index, wealth redistribution, and resource independence)."20

Rainforest Action Network (RAN)

Headquartered in San Francisco, RAN is a nonprofit organization advocating for "the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action."21 RAN employs strategies such as consumer education, direct-action campaigns, creating and strengthening alliances, holding conferences and running media campaigns. RAN's "corporate campaigns seek to push companies to balance profits with principles, to show that it is possible to do well by doing good...[Its] campaigns leverage public opinion and consumer pressure to turn the public stigma of environmental destruction into a business nightmare" for companies "that refuses to adopt responsible environmental policies."22

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

MSC focuses on promoting sustainable fishing practices. It's mission is "to use [its] ecolabel and fishery certification programme to contribute to the health of the world's oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practises, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood, and working with our partners to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis."23 MSC's work includes standard setting, fisheries outreach, commercial outreach, and consumer education. During a two-year period, MSC worked with global partners to establish "the standards and methodologies that form the basis of the MSC certification program for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability."24 Applying these standards, MSC works with both the supply and demand sides to raise awareness and promote best practices for sustainable fishing.

    1. Peacebuilding Commission, "From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and Environment," WGLL/2008/10 (New York: Peacebuilding Commission Working Group on Lessons Learned, May 8, 2008).
    2. Revenue Watch Institute (RWI),"Our Work/Issues: Revenue Transparency," Revenue Watch Institute.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Ibid.
    5. Jenik Radon, "Chapter 4: How to Negotiate an Oil Agreement?" in Escaping the Resource Curse, eds. Macartan Humphreys, Jeffrey D. Sachs and Joseph E. Stiglitz (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 97.
    6. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), "EITI Summary," EITI.
    7. RWI "Our Work/Issues: Revenue Transparency."
    8. Ibid.
    9. Kimberley Process, "Background," Kimberley Process.
    10. Ibid.
    11. Ibid.
    12. Ibid.
    13. Ibid.
    14. Global Policy Forum, "Kimberley Process," Global Policy Forum.
    15. Forest Stewardship Council, "FSC Home Page," FSC.
    16. Ibid.
    17. Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), "Resource Conflict Monitor: Governing the Dynamic Between Natural Resources and Violent Conflict," BICC.
    18. Ibid.
    19. Ibid.
    20. Ibid.
    21. Rainforest Action Network (RAN), "Our Mission & History,"RAN.
    22. RAN, "About RAN,"RAN.
    23. Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), "Vision and Mission," MSC.
    24. MSC, "MSC standards and methodologies,"MSC.

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