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Decision-makers Develop Resource Governance Skills at Annual Oxford Course

Thirty-one natural resource policy experts and decision-makers from 12 countries gathered in September for an immersive one-week course at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government, where they discussed the most pressing issues in extractives management.
With a focus on policy choices along the Natural Resource Charter extractive decision chain, Executive Course on Oil, Gas and Mining Governance participants analyzed the challenges and opportunities of implementing best practices.
Oil and Mining Conference
 “The course opened up my mind,” Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy Petroleum Commissioner Magdaleena Shino said.
At the course, Blavatnik economics and public policy professor Sir Paul Collier, a thought leader on resource governance (and member of the NRGI board of directors), outlined the contrast between Botswana and Sierra Leone to illustrate the wide variance of human development of countries in the same region with similar geologies. In Botswana, consultative leadership and effective governance has led to prosperity. In Sierra Leone, mismanaged extraction and lack of transparency has led to civil war, weak laws and lost revenues. Lagging human development indicators in Sierra Leone make it a textbook case of the resource curse.
Trainings, such as this executive course, are a way to help influential officials within a country make the choices that lead it down a path toward development.
“Over the years of this training, we’ve seen participants go on to be key policy influencers in the quest for better resource governance,” NRGI capacity development director Rebecca Iwerks said. “Being able to bring together officials from a number of countries enables them to learn from each other and bring excitement and motivation to their work going forward.”
The topics of discussion weaved together political and economic challenges ranging from the fiscal rules for a savings fund to how to communicate with constituents. Participants left the course understanding more about how these issues intersect and relate to the broader goal of good resource governance:
“I had a fragmented knowledge and expertise on mining and oil and gas industries and this course brilliantly helped me to frame everything into a single system,” said Oleksiy Ryabchyn, a member of parliament from Ukraine.
Oil and Mining Conference
Natural resource governance remains a complex issue, but following the course, participants said they are better prepared to face its complexities. 
“We failed previously to build a positive relationship with communities, but I am going to learn from other countries’ experiences,” said Priscila Rodríguez, senior hydrocarbon policy advisor to the secretary of energy in Mexico. (Read her perspective on governance challenges in Mexico here.)
The Natural Resource Governance Institute offers a variety of global, executive, regional and online courses. Learn more about our training courses here.
Sidra Khalid is a capacity development program assistant at the Natural Resource Governance Institute.

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