Workshop: TAKING THE FIGHT TO THE GROUND: ADDRESSING POVERTY, CORRUPTION AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN RESOURCE-RICH COUNTRIES AT THE SUB-NATIONAL LEVEL
Workshop Coordinator: Ian Gary, Senior Policy Manager, Oxfam America, Washington, DC
Over 1.5 billion people live in poverty in countries rich in oil, gas and mineral resources. Too often, these countries are marked by extreme inequality, with a small elite group reaping the benefits of these resources while the poor are left on the margins. At the same time, many communities directly affected by extractive industry (EI) projects are often worse off than they were before the arrival of these projects due to the loss of land and environmental and social impacts. A combination of lack of benefits from government revenue and negative impacts from EI operations has, at times, led to local grievances, protests and conflicts.
While there has been significant international focus and efforts on improving management of EI revenues at the national level, much less attention has been paid to the issues at the sub-national government level. These sub-national governments (SNGs), such as regional governments, district assemblies and municipalities, are sometimes recipients of large inflows of revenues but are often not able to deal with sudden increases in budget resources. (In some cases, SNGs in EI producing regions receive earmarked revenues by law.) Many issues faced by national governments – such as volatility of budget resources based on commodity prices, corruption and leakages of government revenues – are then passed on to SNGs. Combating corruption at the national level in resource-rich countries is important but may also have the effect of pushing these issues to the sub-national government level. While commercial developments of EI projects can happen relatively quickly, capacity building for SNGs and for citizen oversight efforts often lags far behind creating a two-speed scenario reduces the likelihood that EI projects will contribute to poverty reduction. Since these governments are often at the front-lines of the fight against poverty – including providing social services – it is important that they are able to manage increased EI revenues; disclose information on revenues and spending for accountability purposes; and, in the context of political decentralization in some countries, help regulate and manage impacts from these industries.
This workshop will examine these issues through the presentation of concrete and well-researched experiences in four countries: Peru, Ghana, Nigeria and Cambodia. Panelists from these countries will present tools and strategies that have been used to increase transparency and reduce corruption related to the management of EI revenues at the SNG level, including application of EITI at the SNG level. The workshop will invite participants to share their own country experiences and propose actions that could be supported by international donors, international NGOs, companies, local citizens groups and national and sub-national governments to address – and get in front of – the issues raised.
Moderator: Ian Gary, Senior Policy Manager, Oxfam America, Washington, DC
Rapporteur: Zoe Reiter-Komossa, Senior Programs Coordinator, Americas Department, Transparency International, Berlin
Isabel Munilla, Director, Publish What You Pay – US, Washington
Epifanio Baca, Grupo Propuesta Ciudadana, Peru
Mam Sambath, Executive Director, Development Partners in Action / Chair, Cambodians for Resource Revenue Transparency, Cambodia
Solinn Lim, Regional Program Coordinator, Extractive Industries, Oxfam America, Cambodia,
Uche Igwe, Visiting Scholar (Nigeria), Africa Program, Johns Hopkins University, Washington
Steve Manteaw, Campaigns Coordinator, Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Ghana