Centre for Natural Resource Governance

The Centre demands and promotes transparency, participation and accountability in the extractive sector. The conceptual basis of the centre is the Natural Resources Charter (NRC) of the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI). Peter Eigen, Head of the Centre, is a member of the NRGI Advisory Council. The centre therefore has a close strategic partnership with the NRGI.

The exploitation of natural resources can be a powerful driver for inclusive development and, if successfully implemented, can lead to enormous benefits for socio-economic development in resource-rich countries. Good governance in the extractive sector is crucial for success.

For many countries, further developments in the area of infrastructure, which are triggered by projects in the raw materials sector, are of great importance. This includes large infrastructure areas (such as railways, roads, harbours, 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 the operators of raw material sources. The focus is then on tax systems, payment of licence fees by investors to the respective state governments, dividends, bonuses, etc. These aspects are important in order to share the benefits and risks of the projects. However, they often neglect all other factors that are important for sound development and maximise the benefits for all citizens.

The informed consent of the local population is often fleeting, although it is essential. A balanced development of raw materials must take into account the protection and reconstruction of the environment, including the development of measures to close depleted mines. Cooperation between politics, business and civil society is crucial in order to develop and implement an enabling environment.

Economic governance and sector management must be adapted in order to maximise the impact. The Natural Resource Governance Centre therefore supports the networking of upstream and downstream linkages in the raw materials sector in the respective countries. The Centre is also committed to diversification ("horizontal linkages") in order to counteract the effects of strongly fluctuating commodity prices. Human resources development, job creation and capacity building must be supported and favoured by a solid political framework. The centre can help to counteract corruption and government failure ("Dutch disease") and strengthen sustainable justice.

Aim of the centre

The Centre demands and promotes transparency, participation and accountability in the extractive sector. Peter Eigen heads the centre. As a member of the NRGI Advisory Council, founder of Transparency International (TI) and as founding chairman of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)It facilitates a close strategic partnership with these organisations. The Centre seeks to improve governance for equitable and sustainable development of natural resources, in part through multi-stakeholder processes. The various factors that enable an enabling environment play an important role, including social impacts, environmental issues, infrastructure development, secondary linkages (processing, ancillary activities and diversification), taxation systems and international trade.

Target group of the centre

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

Activities of the centre

The centre promotes cooperation 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 centre contributes to better governance in the raw materials sector. The centre offers the following services, among others:

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

Negotiation Support Initiative

Many developing countries conduct complex contract negotiations for major projects, e.g. raw material extraction and infrastructure projects. It is in the interest of both governments and investors/contractors that these contracts are fair and transparent and can react to changing conditions. This increases the likelihood that they will remain stable in the long term and reduces the likelihood that they will lead to conflicts. Although the terms of these contracts are of critical importance, 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 to determine how expert support for these complex negotiations can be expanded globally in a beneficial way.

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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