Center for Natural Resource Governance

The Center demands and promotes transparency, participation and accountability in the natural resources sector. The conceptual basis of the Center is the Natural Resources Charter (NRC) of the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI). Peter Eigen, director of the Center, is a member of the Advisory Council of the NRGI. The Center thus has a close strategic partnership with the NRGI.

Natural resource development can be a powerful driver of inclusive development and, if successfully implemented, can lead to enormous benefits for socioeconomic development in resource-rich countries. Good governance in the extractive sector is crucial to its success.

For many countries, the further developments in the field of infrastructure, which are triggered by projects in the raw materials sector, are of very great importance. This includes major infrastructure sectors (such as railways, roads, ports, pipelines, power generation), their integration into the overall economy as well as social infrastructure (such as schools, hospitals and social facilities).

However, these developments are often aligned with the interests of resource operators. The focus is then on taxation systems, payment of royalties by investors to the respective state governments, dividends, bonuses, etc. These aspects are important to share the benefits and risks of the projects. However, they often neglect all other factors that are important for sound development and maximize benefits to all citizens.

The informed consent of local people is often fleeting, although it is essential. Balanced resource development must consider environmental protection and rehabilitation, including the development of measures to close depleted mines. Cooperation between politics, business and civil society is crucial to develop and implement an enabling environment.

Economic governance and sector management must be adapted to ensure optimal impact. The Natural Resource Governance Center therefore supports the networking of upstream and downstream linkages in the natural resource sector in the respective countries. The Center also advocates diversification ("horizontal linkages") to counter the effects of highly volatile commodity prices. Human resource development, job creation and capacity building need to be supported and facilitated by sound policy frameworks. The Center can help counter corruption and governance failures ("Dutch disease") and strengthen sustainable justice.

Aim of the center

The Center demands and promotes transparency, participation and accountability in the extractive sector. Peter Eigen leads the Center. As a member of NRGI's Advisory Council, a founder of Transparency International (TI), and the founding chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), he facilitates a close strategic partnership with these organizations. The Center seeks, in part through multi-stakeholder processes, to improve governance for equitable and sustainable natural resource development. The various factors that enable an enabling environment play an important role: social impacts, environmental issues, infrastructure developments, secondary linkages (processing, ancillary activities, and diversification), tax systems, and international trade, among others.

Target group of the center

The Center supports resource-rich countries and their governments and societies in the sustainable management of their resources. The focus is on economic growth, promoting the welfare of the civilian population and environmental sustainability.

Center activities

The Center promotes collaboration between the public sector, business and civil society to solve global and local challenges.

Through the establishment of permanent multi-stakeholder groups, advisory services, research and training, the Center contributes to better governance in the extractive sector. The Center offers the following services, among others:

  • Planning of development strategies in the raw materials sector
  • Political and legal framework: Design, implementation and monitoring
  • Transparency and accountability strategies
  • Capacity building for civil society organizations
  • Multi-stakeholder dialogue platforms
  • Support during contract negotiations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Analysis of integrity systems (national, regional, local, sectoral)
  • Sustainability reports

Negotiation Support Initiative

Many developing countries engage in complex contract negotiations for major projects, such as resource extraction and infrastructure projects. It is in the interest of both governments and investors/contracting companies that these contracts are fair, transparent, and responsive to changing conditions. This increases the likelihood that they will remain stable over the long term and decreases the likelihood that they will lead to conflict. Although the terms of these contracts are critically important, countries often lack the necessary negotiating capacity to achieve the best possible terms for both sides.
Against this backdrop, the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform* (Berlin, Germany) and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (New York, USA) have initiated a process with the goal of determining how expert support for these complex negotiations can be beneficially expanded globally.

The initiative was launched by the former HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance. The Berlin Governance Platform will continue the work of this initiative.


Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen


Natural Resources Institute


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