Summary

This background paper argues for a comprehensive governance regime for minerals and carbon-based 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.

About the author
Volker Lehmann, Ph.D., is a Senior Policy Analyst with the FES New York office. He currently focuses on international peace and security issues, particularly with regards to the United Nations, and on the various aspects of reforming the UN. He previously worked as a consultant and journalist, and he was the editor of the journal “Biotechnology and Development Monitor” at the University of Amsterdam. He received a Master’s in Biology from the Free University of Berlin and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Contact: vlehmann@fesny.org

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