Many Commonwealth countries are major or emerging producers of natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals.
These countries can suffer from the so-called ‘resource curse’, whereby the development of natural resources does not translate into sustained economic and social development. Systemic corruption is often a significant contributor to this phenomenon.
The Commonwealth Secretariat assists governments and national authorities to better manage and develop their natural resources, focussing in particular on the extractive industries.
For example, we have assisted Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Pakistan and Swaziland to establish national policies and legislation for the management of mineral resources. We have also assisted Jamaica, Guyana, Seychelles, Mauritius, Kiribati and the Cook Islands to establish laws and policies concerning offshore oil, gas and mineral resources.
We work closely with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and partner with Chatham House and the Natural Resources Governance Institute on the New Petroleum Producers Discussion Group.
“We deliver advice in support of the establishment of modern, transparent and effective policy and legal frameworks for the management of natural resources throughout the Commonwealth. These measures improve natural resource governance and can operate as powerful weapons against corruption in these sectors of the economy,” - Joshua Brien, Head of Oceans and Natural Resources at the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global coalition of governments, companies and civil society working together to improve openness and accountability of management of revenues from natural resources.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is assisting member countries to become EITI compliant by strengthening the rules concerning financial reporting around oil or other natural resource revenues in addition to other measures.
Oil exploration: Assisting the Seychelles
We are assisting Seychelles, among other member countries, to become EITI compliant.
The government of Seychelles has been working to foster transparency and accountability in the extractives sector and is now obliged to publish an annual report on revenue from oil or other underground resources. A Model Petroleum Agreement was drawn up by the government in 2013 and the Commonwealth Secretariat ensured that crucial clauses on transparency were included.
The country was admitted as an EITI candidate country in 2014 and is expected to become EITI compliant by 2017.
“Ultimately the end game is economic development,” says Eddie Belle, Chief Executive of Petro Seychelles, the national oil company. “We are exploring for oil and should exploit it for the benefit of the people of Seychelles.”
Our anti-corruption work also encompasses: