International Conference on Extractive Industries Contracts

Conference Report

Oxfam America and six other international organizations concerned with reform of the oil, gas, and mining industries (Oxfam Novib – Netherlands, Revenue Watch Institute, International Institute for Environment and Development, Global Witness, Bank Information Center, and Publish What You Pay – USA) hosted an international conference in Washington on September 23 to discuss contracts between corporations and governments. This report summarizes the presentations and discussion.

These contracts determine how much governments will receive from the development of their resources and have important implications for communities, human rights, and the environment. While much international attention has been given to transparency and management of government revenues from these industries, less attention has been paid to the underlying agreements between companies and host governments.

The conference discussed the political and legal context of extractive industry contracts; licensing and negotiation; confidentiality and transparency of contracts; citizen and parliamentary participation in negotiation; approval and monitoring of contracts; the financial "take" of the government contracts; and contract renegotiation experiences. Specific experiences in Liberia, Ghana, Peru and Azerbaijan were also examined from a variety of perspectives. Conference participants discussed key areas for a reform agenda as a contribution towards addressing the “resource curse”.

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