Natural Resources, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and Global Governance
Background Paper for The Hague Institute for Global Justice by Volker Lehmann
This background paper argues for a comprehensive governance regime for minerals and carbonbased energy resources and addresses the interlocking challenges that their extraction and consumption create for environment, security, and justice. Recalling the academic debate about the resource curse that led to the establishment of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), EITI’s strengths and weaknesses are discussed and several implications for future policy making are outlined. Fragile states are especially challenged, since they in particular are short of the domestic institutions needed to harness benefits from natural resource abundance for sustained and sustainable development. Yet even in more favorable settings, EITI’s premise that transparency in revenue generation will foster broader societal transformations so far seems illusory. More needs to be done to increase responsiveness of participating companies to transparency demands, but also to prevent leakage of revenues through tax loopholes. Finally, the sustainable development agenda currently negotiated by all UN Member States, if implemented properly, could lead to a more sustainable extraction and deployment of natural resources within planetary boundaries.