Extractive Working Group of Open Government Partnership to be Expanded to Natural Resources Transparency

By Carole Excell (Posted: May 8, 2014)

ICEL recently held a session on “Models of Openness in Sustainable Natural Resources Management” during Open Government Partnership Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Bali, Indonesia.TAI Director, Lalanath de Silva, spoke for the session. The objective is to mainstream more environmental matters in the OGP, including more country commitment for innovations related to P10. You can see TAI’s previous blog regarding environmental issues in OGP http://www.wri.org/blog/open-government-partnership-it%E2%80... . Please find below the key takeways for the session. Starting from this year, the Extractive Working Group of OGP will be expanded to Natural Resources Transparency, and will include WRI and Indonesia in addition to RWI and Gov’t of Ghana. We are looking forward to see more TAI Partners in the following OGP events!

Models of Openness in Sustainable Natural Resources Management -Open Government Partnership Asia Pacific Regional Conference

Natural resources, including extractive industries are highly related to revenue issues, potential social conflicts, and environmental risks exposed to the local areas. This session aims to bring the discourse and lesson learned from the international, national and sub-national level on how transparency can contribute to sustainable natural resources management, as well as ensuring the revenues obtained from resource exploitation can benefit both local and national governments fairly.

Emanuel Bria opened the with emphasizing that good governance is a meeting point to balance the benefit and disadvantages of natural resources exploitations, particularly in extractive sectors. This session has been broaden the past discussions on extractive revenues management to sustainable natural resources context in Asia Pacific. Bria mentioned the Resource Governance Index where Asia Pacific countries have been benefited from extractive exploitation for an average of 25% of total exports and 34% of government income. However, FPIC and disclosures of extractives-related documents, including those related to environmental impacts, has not fully committed by all countries – including Indonesia. Following Bria’s elaboration on extractive revenue transparency, Lalanath de Silva emphasizes the inter-relation between information and ability of citizen engagement and accountability mechanism in environmental & natural resources related issues, including in extractive matters. He emphasizes how OGP has addressed many revenue issues; however, it is a challenge of OGP to also pay attention on those who disadvantaged with the development. “At this point of time, the OGP has decided to extend the work of OGP to cover natural resources issues. So, it is expected that this working group will be able to address the double curse of natural resources management – the revenue and those who are left behind,” Lalanath emphasize about the expanded ToR of the Working Group on Natural Resources of OGP. Starting from this year, the Working Group will be hosted by Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) and World Resource Institute (WRI), also government of Indonesia and Ghana. EITI perspectives from Philippines, as pointed by Elisea G. Gosun, has enrich the discussion with the fact that the EITI in Philippines was agreed by the business and local government in order to protect the environment and encourage the local engagement. “The community need to see what benefit them of the exploitation, not only benefit to the country”, she said. As Philippines has experienced, EITI has been one of the solution offered to firstly improve good governance in mining sectors, as well as protection to environment. The local experience of Bojonegoro has bring excitement to the participants as the Mayor, Suyoto, share the city’s experience in managing the natural resources revenues in local development through various channel. Bojonegoro consolidates in its regional planning, opening public space, enact local regulation on transparency on governance and ensure citizen participation in its natural-resources decision making. “The key is how we minimize the environmental and social impact; and how we use the revenues to bring positive impact in local context.” The rich question and answer sessions much address the local context and natural resources sustainability as it is expected. This session brings the discussion further through the extractive and natural resources working group.

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