Without full information on the
quantity, quality and location
of a country’s natural resources,
citizens will not be able to make informed
decisions over whether and how resources
should be extracted and whether
they are getting a fair deal for these.
Whether through consultation or
advocacy, civil society should –
where possible – seek to influence
these legal frameworks (Petroleum Bills,
Mining codes etc) to ensure that
transparency and accountability
is integrated into the natural resource
management process from the start.
CSOs can help ensure that communities
are fully informed as to the consequences,
effects and benefits of an extractive
project. Impact assessments should
be carried out in a transparent and
independent manner and made
accessible to the local communities
and compensation should be planned
for any anticipated detrimental effects.
Licences and contracts – which will determine
whether a deal is fair– must be awarded
in a transparent manner. To ensure that contracts
are awarded in the interests of
the whole citizenry, bidding should be competitive
and public and contracts should be published.
Civil society has a crucial role here in providing
oversight and acting as a watchdog. Projects
need to be monitored by government and industry
but also through independent mechanisms and
civil society, to ensure that any change in
circumstance or contractual breaches can be rectified,
whether through legal recourse for human rights abuses
or via extra compensation or other means.
We need to advocate for companies to publish
what they pay, so that citizens can find out
how much their country is receiving for their
natural resources and hold their government to account.
The divulgation of company payments will also
help ensure that companies do not avoid
certain payments through accounting sleights of hand.
To ensure that money is not siphoned off or “lost”,
governments need to be transparent and report
their natural resource revenues (whatever level
of government these were destined to). Civil society
should be able to track payments and revenues
for each project and ensure the amounts companies
and governments have given match.
Civil society has a role to play in pushing for
budget transparency – and advocate on
budget prioritisation and allocation – to ensure
that money is allocated transparently and equitable.
Once revenue has been allocated, civil society
can monitor whether the money reached its
agreed destination and advocate for rectification
if the money goes missing en route.
There should be an independent impact assessment
made to evaluate whether the money generated was
correctly spent and contributed to development and
the improvement of the lives of citizens.
There should be regular assessments
by all parties including civil society to ensure
that longer-term frameworks are correct and
still relevant. Civil society can play a valuable role
by publicly raising concerns where frameworks
and agreements are evidently no longer fit
for purpose.
Although it is far down the line, it is important
to consider how an extractive project – and
the economy that sprang around it – is effectively
dismantled and decommissioned to create
the least damage to the local community.

Photo credits: Jeff Bamenjo , Peter Chirico, Harrison Mitchell, Loi Manalansan and Keith Slack
What are our natural resources?
What is the natural resource legal framework?
To extract or not to extract?
How to ensure the best possible deal?
How to monitor
the project?
What payments are companies making?
Did the money reach the state coffers?
Where should the money go?
Did the money get there?
Was it worth it?
Always Assess
When the dust settles