28 Mar 2017 11:09:37 GMT
28 Mar 2017 11:00:01 GMT
24 Mar 2017 12:41:10 GMT
24 Mar 2017 12:34:44 GMT
Ratings and rankings have become a staple output of advocacy groups and think tanks worldwide. This document offers a quick ten-step guide on how to write and achieve maximum impact with ranking reports.
23 Mar 2017 10:58:34 GMT
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns are an increasingly important factor worldwide for banks when they invest in large projects. In the Southern African region with its rich mineral deposits, this trend has added importance. Mining companies extract minerals from the ground, and their activities routinely give rise to public concerns about the pollution of water sources, adequate land for agriculture, and fair community participation in mining projects. South African law accepts that the directors of corporations such as banks have fiduciary obligations to act in the best interests of shareholders.
Given the importance of mining activity to economies in Southern Africa an important question aligned to this fiduciary duty is this: Are banks when conducting business obliged to act in the best interests of stakeholders affected by the activities of the mining companies they fund? The trite response is that banks have recognised their obligations to communities through their commitment to SRI (socially responsible investment) practices and internal ESG processes that ensure that their funding decisions result in no harm to communities.
This paper sets out to critically consider the effectiveness of ESG principles implemented by South Africa’s banks when they fund mining projects in the SADC region. There are internal differences in ESG principles between banks, and a variety of funding methods to which the principles are applied. The study evaluates the ESG frameworks used by each bank and, given the significant market share, aggregates this information to present a picture of the effectiveness of these frameworks. The approach taken is a critical one, meaning that what is presented in bank annual reports and sustainability reports is not merely accepted, but (to the extent possible) internal ESG risk frameworks are interrogated for adequacy of application by banks when funding mining projects. The effectiveness of the implementation of internal ESG procedures by banks is then measured against available evidence. This evidence includes the effects of mine project funding decisions of banks on ESG categories as ascertained from public information.
After consideration of the evidence, observations and conclusions are provided on the analysis. In the closing section, recommendations are provided on areas for possible focus to improve the effectiveness of ESG principles used by banks in the SADC region.
23 Mar 2017 10:35:35 GMT
Southern Africa is endowed with lucrative mineral resources such as diamonds, gold, copper, coal, platinum, and uranium. This rich endowment can be a major asset in the quest for inclusive and sustainable development, yet mining in Southern Africa has often been criticised as an enclave sector that at best contributes little to economic development and at worst does substantial social and environmental harm. To avoid such pitfalls emerging international consensus emphasises the importance of good mineral governance. This involves the adoption and implementation of regulatory frameworks that promote deeper linkages between the mining sector and the broader economy, and that protect people and the environment from the potentially harmful consequences of mineral extraction.
This pilot study provides a barometer of mineral governance in ten Southern African countries: Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The barometer takes stock of mining regulations in place at the end of 2015, the extent to which they are implemented, and features of supporting institutions. It is based on the observation that while regulations impose obligations on mining companies, in doing so they directly impose obligations on the state to monitor and enforce compliance, and they also indirectly impose obligations for citizens and civil society to hold the state and mining companies accountable. The barometer includes indicators of mineral governance across four main issue-areas: national economic and fiscal linkages; community impact; labour, and the environment, with artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) treated as a special topic. The barometer also includes indicators of state capacity and state accountability with respect to mineral governance.
21 Feb 2017 04:30:44 GMT
17 Feb 2017 04:43:45 GMT
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29 Nov 2016 10:02:32 GMT
Social investing is the pursuit of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals through investment decisions. Public pension funds have been active in this arena since the 1970s, when many divested from apartheid South Africa. They have also aimed to achieve domestic goals, such as promoting union workers, economic development, and homeownership.
In the mid-2000s, the focus shifted to preventing terrorism and gun violence. This effort included “terror-free” investing in response to the Darfur genocide and to weapons proliferation in Iran. And, after mass shootings in Aurora, CO, and Newtown, CT, some public funds shed their holdings in gun manufacturers. Most recently, states have renewed the call to divest from Iran and have increasingly targeted fossil fuels to combat climate change.
This brief provides an update of social investing developments and assesses whether, in this changing environment, public funds should engage in this practice. This assessment addresses two questions:
The discussion proceeds as follows. The first section explores trends in social investing and the U.S. Department of Labor’s guidance on this activity. The second section examines recent state divestment efforts. The third section analyzes the economics of social investing. The fourth section outlines the economic, political, and legal complications. The final section concludes that although social investing may be worthwhile for private investors, lower returns and fiduciary concerns make public pension funds unsuited for advancing ESG goals.
20 Sep 2016 10:56:15 GMT
Despite increasing calls to recognise the intrinsic value of biodiversity, the need to incentivise people to choose conservation as a competitive form of land use through a sustainable use (SU) approach remains the de facto and de jure reality across most of africa today. In a 'second-best' world of corruption and poor governance, consumptive use (CU) policies (eg, ivory trading, trophy hunting, culling) have produced mixed results for elephant and ecosystem conservation, and for human development. The partial ban on ivory trade globally has led to confusion among african policymakers, local and international law enforcement agencies, and ivory consumers. This is causing a perfect storm of increased poaching to meet the increased (speculative?) demand for raw ivory, without the potential solutions from implementing either a controlled legal trade or a permanent global ban. New realities are emerging, namely the closure of the main consumer ivory markets; the poor prospects for further international trade approvals under CITEs; concerns that the biologically constrained supply may not be able to meet uncertain demand under a legal trade scenario; and the questioning of the conservation and community benefits of trophy hunting. african policymakers need to adapt their application of SU policy by:
These adaptions increase the net costs of incentivising community beneficiaries and law enforcement, shifting the burden to african governments. Therefore, if the non-african governments and special interest groups imposing the ivory trade, culling and trophy-hunting restrictions do not support them, they will be complicit in the permanent loss of vast areas of elephant ecosystems. Ultimately, an efficient, global biodiversity tax is required to fund these adaptions, in order to maintain the ecosystem services and/or intrinsic value of African ecosystems for all of humanity.
18 Aug 2016 02:09:52 GMT
Disclosure and transparency are crucial elements in the improve ment of overall corporate governance. Disclosure is a very important mean of communicati on between management and outside investors. This study investigates how institutional blockholders impact levels of voluntary disclosure released in annual reports of some of the most active companies in the Egyptian Stock Exchange. The results generated by the study di d support a significant positive impact of institutional blockholders on voluntary disclosure an d transparency. It also found that this impact is due to two types of institutional blockholders' ownership: low institutional ownership defined as those owning from five to twenty percent and controlling institutions defined as those owning more than fifty percent of a company's shares. This indicates that concentrated ownership can be vi ewed as a monitoring mechanism in an emerging market like Egypt. According to the authors' knowledge, this study is the first to explore the impact of different categories of blockholders; categorized by the size o f their block; on levels of voluntary disclosure in Egypt.
12 Jul 2016 10:38:52 GMT
This report evaluates the disclosure practices of 100 major emerging market multinationals headquartered in 15 countries and active in 185 countries. The report is part of a series on corporate reporting published by Transparency International since 2008. Initially focused on
the world’s top multinationals, the series was expanded to include a first report on emerging market multinationals in 2013.
To enhance comparability, the company sample for this report is primarily based on the 2013 edition of the Transparency in Corporate Reporting: Assessing Emerging Market Multinationals report. This report assesses the public disclosure practices of emerging market multinationals based on three dimensions: first, the reporting of key elements of their anti-corruption programmes; second, the disclosure of their company structures and holdings; and, third, the disclosure of key financial information on a country-b-ycountry basis. This information was gathered from corporate websites and other publicly available sources by a team of Transparency International researchers.
Despite some scattered signs of improvement since 2013, the overall results of the assessed companies remain weak, a clear indication that emerging market multinationals still practise low standards of transparency.
The overall average score for the 100 companies assessed in this report is 3.4 out of 10, a slightly weaker performance than in 2013 but almost on a par with the 3.8 overall score obtained in our 2014 report assessing
the world’s 124 largest multinationals. It is disconcerting to observe that emerging market multinationals, with an average score of 48 per cent, have barely registered improvement in the disclosure of their anti-corruption programmes since 2013, when their average score was 46 per cent. Once again, they trail behind the top global publicly listed companies assessed in 2014.
Overall index result:
16 Jun 2016 01:23:07 GMT
27 May 2016 03:17:10 GMT
In the natural resources sector, laws are often formulated to regulate the relationship between men and the environment. Ideally, the law can play a vital role in regulating and protecting communities from adverse environmental and social impacts of mining, loss of land, biodiversity and natural wealth, as well as other human rights violations. Almost all countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have developed laws and institutions to regulate and monitor the extraction of mineral resources and their impact on the environment and people. However, the level of implementation and enforcement of those laws varies across the region and in some cases legal gaps exist.
In light of this, the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) commissioned research in three SADC countries – Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe – to assess the effectiveness of exiting legal and institutional frameworks governing land, social and environmental accountability in the extractive sector.
This policy brief analyses the findings of the three reports and identifies current legal and institutional frameworks in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana that seek to protect land, biodiversity and communities from the adverse impacts of mining. It highlights good practices while also capturing crosscutting weaknesses and gaps in the legal frameworks. The policy brief also analyses the institutional capacities of responsible government departments, whose legal mandate is to monitor and hold mining companies accountable, and looks at the domestication and application of regional and international instruments. More importantly, the efficacy of voluntary practices and standards adopted by mining companies and financial institutions to promote social and environmental accountability in the extractive sector is also assessed.
07 Apr 2016 03:19:31 GMT
China’s business engagement in developing countries has grown rapidly in the past decade through direct investment, contract projects and trade. China was the third-largest foreign investor in the world between 2012 and 2014, and approximately 80% of its investments flowed to developing countries in 2014. Chinese companies are also eagerly bidding for - and winning - contracts for infrastructure and service projects at an unprecedented rate, particularly in developing countries. For example, 80% of newly signed and completed projects undertaken by Chinese companies in 2014 were located in Asia and Africa.
This discussion paper research aims to understand the role that Chinese policies and guidelines play in governing Chinese companies overseas, through exploring the experiences and perceptions of representatives in those companies. The paper presents the key findings of fieldwork in Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda during August–September 2015, including a survey and interviews with fifty-eight Chinese personnel working for Chinese companies in these locations. Findings revealed a complex governance matrix influencing the environmental and social performance of Chinese companies in Africa, in which Chinese policies play only a relatively minor role.
07 Apr 2016 02:27:03 GMT
The discovery and extraction of oil and gas off the shores of Lebanon could ultimately translate into a boom in revenues for the government, which in light of current poor fiscal planning could lead to an uncontrolled expansionary budget policy and eventually a ‘resource curse’. If these revenues are spent with no oversight and proper planning, the country m ay well collect and allocate large streams of cash that make limited contributions to economic development. But the ‘resource curse’ could be avoided if appropriate policy adjustments are implemented in conjunction with the development of offshore hydrocarbon resources.
The successful experiences of a few resource-rich countries like Norway have been largely attributed to properly managing resource wealth and its associated risks. The optimal response that takes advantage of the boom while mitigating its potential negative implications includes a set of fiscal, monetary, exchange rate, and structural reform policies.
As Lebanon stands poised to establish its oil and gas sector and possibly profit from new resource wealth, it has become increasingly critical for this small economy to implement public policies that take advantage of the oil boom while mitigating its potential negative implications. This typically includes a set of fiscal, monetary, exchange rate, and structural reform policies which are required to avoid the resource curse.
Indeed, the government must resist pressures to enjoy all the windfall revenues in the short run and recklessly expand its budget expenditure. On the contrary, it must commit to saving part of the revenue proceeds every period in order to attain a permanent wealth increase. Ideally, the government must direct its spending toward the non-resource tradables sector through subsidizing outputs and/or inputs or investing in physical and human capital to enhance productivity in these sectors. In this case, a budget expansion would not necessarily lead to shrinkage of the productive sectors. It is clear, however, that proper public financial management is central to the above macroeconomic policy framework. Key to the above analysis and recommendations is the political economy and institutional setup, especially the role and proper functioning of fiscal institutions. Increasing accountability and transparency in public institutions is essential, and this ultimately requires political reforms that increase the commitment and engagement of citizens in the actions of their government, through proper electoral representation.
This document contains both the English and Arabic language versions.
31 Mar 2016 10:41:24 GMT
Iran’s game-changing nuclear deal with the West and imminent ending of the US-led sanctions open a window of opportunity for deeper Indo-Iranian relations. On the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Ufa in July 2015, Iran’s President asked Indian Prime Minister (PM) to invest in infrastructure projects worth US$ 8 billion, including developing the strategic port of Chabahar that is India’s gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia bypassing Pakistan. Reconfiguring a pipeline project to transport Iranian and Turki gas to India is also an idea whose time has perhaps come.
ndia’s big challenge is that its economic interest in the deep-sea pipeline may not necessarily be in convergence with the political and strategic objectives of Iran. 23 Does India have the same role as earlier when Iran sought it out as a strategic partner to counter the US pressure? India may explore for offers for investing in Iran. A post- sanctions Iran has several options for its oil and gas, including supplying gas to Europe through its pipeline to Turkey. India must move fast on the deep-sea pipeline project.
21 Mar 2016 03:26:36 GMT
The platinum industry was severely affected by prolonged strikes in 2012 and 2014 , which lasted for months. Near Marikana in the North West Province of South Africa on 16 August 2015, police fired on strikers, killing 34 miners in the worst massacre since the transition to democracy in 1994. In both strikes, the miners and their families endured real hardship as they went months without pay.
The strikes could not be attributed simply to unusually low wages by national standards, although South African miners earned far less than their equals in Australia, the US and other industrialised economies. Yet virtually no other industry saw workplace conflict of the bitterness experienced on the platinum mines. Moreover, the other major employers within mining, mostly in gold and coal, also did not experience similarly prolonged and rancorous strikes.
It follows that stresses other than pay alone must be explored to explain the intensity of workplace conflict on the platinum mines.
In engagements led by the Presidency in 2012 and 2014, both employer and union representatives used the concept of migrant labour to capture the interaction between living and working conditions that caused unusual stress for miners in South Africa .
Recommendations: In this context, a first step would be to agree on what would constitute a decent workplace. Key elements include not only more equitable payscales, but also recognition for seniority and access to promotions, improved accountability from supervisors and management toward workers, greater equity and security for con tracted workers, and equal workplace facilities and social interaction between supervisors and workers. Such an agreement should make it easier to identify the practical interventions to transform the work organisation and supervision systems inherited fro m apartheid. Finally, the experience of the platinum belt underscore d the need for a better understanding of how the artificial geography of apartheid wa s being gradually transformed. Even with realistic interventions to improve production and employment, the former “homeland” regions could not conceivably support their 2015 populations. By extension, migration to economic centres was set to continue for the foreseeable future. In this context, it was important both to develop a more specific and realistic assessment of where economic opportunities could be created in historic labour - sending regions, and to analyse how the out - migration would affect human settlements and job needs in the rest of the country.
19 Mar 2016 02:58:10 GMT
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGP or NREGP), functions as an income supplement for poor households by providing 100 days of work to a rural household, with 33 per cent of all workdays reserved for women workers. The stated objectives of the programme are to enhance livelihood security while producing durable assets, empowering women, reducing distress migration and promoting social equity.
The focus of this paper is to investigate women’s participation in the NREGP and analyse the potential impact of the programme in the medium term on women’s access to wage work and wages of women workers in rural India, using available national and state level data. In relation to the findings, the paper provides a range of insights into how the NREGP can potentially be beneficial for women workers by increasing their participation in wage work, by increasing their actual wages, and by enhancing their voice. In addition, the report explores the evidence on poverty and concludes with some observations on gender inequality and labour market institutions.
Adapted from authors’ summary.
19 Mar 2016 02:51:44 GMT
This report addresses the role of employment in efforts to reduce poverty in the context of increased globalisation and its impacts on labour markets. Worldwide, countries are experiencing a decline of jobs with secure and lasting contracts and work-related social benefits. As a consequence, for many, employment fails to provide the opportunity to escape poverty and even contributes to vulnerability. While the importance of employment for poverty reduction is gaining recognition in development agencies, less attention has been given to occupationally related injury and illness as a major source of worker vulnerability. This study investigates the impact of occupational injury and illness on poverty and uses three case studies to explore possible interventions to reduce these work-related risks in capacity constrained environments.
The report considers conceptual and measurement issues in establishing the relationship between work-related health risks and poverty and reviews the mainstream regulatory mechanisms for occupational health and safety (OHS). The report identifies these mechanisms’ failure to adapt to the changing nature of work and worker vulnerability as a major limitation, and presents case studies of interventions to improve OHS for informal workers. This leads to a range of lessons and recommendations and a call for improving quantitative and qualitative data about OHS and the informal economy.
Adapted from authors' summary.
19 Mar 2016 02:42:09 GMT
This is a policy resource guide developed to build the capacities of ILO constituents in approaches that facilitate transitions to formality. Previous work has shown that the move out of informality requires approaches that are targeted, comprehensive and inter-disciplinary. Country experience shows that policies that are ad-hoc, piece-meal and in isolation from each other rarely have a sustained impact. The objective of this tool is thus to bring together a range of technical fields in order to enable an integrated policy approach.
The Guide brings together selected examples both from within the ILO and from external sources; it highlights conceptual issues and practical experience in a range of technical fields, including ‘organisation, representation and dialogue’, ‘promoting equality and addressing discrimination’ and ‘entrepreneurship, skills development and finance’. The brief also provides a review of good practices and innovative approaches from different regions, and assesses lessons learned. Additionally, there is a section that provides a list of resources, which can be used to shape more effective strategies.
Adapted from available summary.
18 Mar 2016 02:43:46 GMT
With the continuing and seemingly unabated increase in the prices of oil and oil products, the clamor for government to do something to alleviate the situation has escalated. Amidst this clamor, the proposal to create a National Oil Exchange has sprung forward.
The authors argues that it seems to have been forgotten that the market has not always been regulated. For many years before martial law and the first oil crisis in the 1970s, the industry was a relatively free one with as much as four refiners and six marketing companies. The country apparently got along well with such a set-up. Ironically, the years of regulation and control since then have left us with the highly concentrated oligopolistic market structure for the industry, i.e., few players with large market shares. It is very difficult to deconstruct that and return to a more competitive market overnight. We need to be realistic and patient and give the oil deregulation law enough time to take effect.
18 Mar 2016 02:01:19 GMT
Notwithstanding its being economically important, however, small-scale gold mining has been the subject of strong opposition in recent years due to its adverse environmental and social side effects. Foremost is the mercury pollution brought about by the practice of amalgamation in gold processing.
Small-scale mining is a refuge of last resort to an increasing number of people because of economic necessity. Despite mercury pollution, therefore, it is here to stay. While it is a real menace, mercury pollution in smallscale mining is not irreversible. The government can do a lot to make it more health- and environment-friendly. Some of the needed actions are presented here but just like in many other aspects of governance, strong political will and moral leadership are needed to transform them into reality.
18 Mar 2016 01:37:39 GMT
Using a computable general equilibrium model of the Philippine economy, it is observed that the impact of an oil price change is negative. It is negative not only in terms of economic growth, but also in terms of income inequality and welfare.
Can the effect be lessened? The paper argues that there may still be one way of lessening its negative effect. Using the criteria of growth, welfare and government budget, tariff rate on imported oil may be reduced to lessen, but not totally eliminate, the adverse effect. Simulations results using the model indicate that the government realizes some “windfall profit” out of the increase in the world price of oil and the depreciation of the exchange. One policy option that may be open is for the government to use this so as lessen the burden of the oil price increase. There is one caveat, though, which may be n oted. This is a policy implication derived from simulation exercise using PCGEM with all other things held constant, except for the variables analysed. There may be other equally important concerns like the increase in foreign debt servicing as a result of the depreciation of the exchange which may also be put into consideration.
17 Mar 2016 11:10:52 GMT
This paper shows that consultations do not only appease conflicts, but also exacerbate them as these procedures are used to negotiate broader grievances. The author further argues that narrow consultations (like those carried out in Bolivia) – rather than comprehensive ones – repress conflicts in the short term by limiting opportunities to mobilize against extractive projects. It also reveals that the degree of conflict and prevention potential of consultations varied according to the affected groups and highlights the ambiguous effects of the entanglement of consultations and compensations.
17 Mar 2016 10:49:38 GMT
The participatory rights of indigenous peoples have been at the center of conflicts over resource extraction, which have recently increased in number and intensity across Latin America. Using comprehensive empirical data about the Guaraníes’ participation in Bolivia’s gas sector, this study finds that competing claims regarding territory, property, participation, and decision making provide important explanations for contestations over consultation practices and legal norms in the country.
It argues that the main conflicts can be explained by:
17 Mar 2016 10:36:29 GMT
Greater investment in agriculture is needed to reduce rural poverty and improve food security; but how investment is made, its context and conditions, is at least as important as how much is invested.
Case studies of large-scale agricultural investment in Paraguay, Guatemala and Colombia show how monoculture expansion is displacing communities, undermining smallholder livelihoods and worsening local food security. Even when companies say they operate responsibly, their business model determines who bears the risks, who has access to capital and where market power lies. Responsibility should mean benefits and costs are fairly distributed and all rights upheld, including land rights. Private agricultural investment is needed, but it should complement rather than undermine smallholders, who are the main investors in agriculture.
16 Mar 2016 02:43:05 GMT
Extractive industry investment in Latin America has increased considerably since the early 1990s, especially in the last decade. Expansion of extractive activities into new territory has led to new rounds of conflict and contestation in the region, including over resource use and control, territorial occupation, relationships between existing rural livelihoods, and extractive investment and conservation versus extraction. The publications presented below represent some of the key resources dealing with a variety of issues related to extractive industries and conflict management in Latin America.
In particular, they focus on: Consultation and Free, Prior and Informed Consent; Rent Distribution; Gender; Indigenous Issues; and Social Movements; Country Case Studiesaddressing these themes in a cross-cutting way, as well as Practical Implementation Guides are also included.
16 Mar 2016 02:39:29 GMT
Questions about land use are inextricably related to decisions about where and how to engage in extractive industry activities. Latin American countries have dealt with a range of land-related challenges, from land use planning and consent for securing access to land, to special considerations for indigenous peoples and environmental conservation, all of which have important implications for governments and local communities. This selection highlights some of the key publications dealing with issues of extractive industries and land use in Latin America
16 Mar 2016 02:35:59 GMT
Many Latin American countries are rich with natural resources like oil, gas and minerals, and they have a wealth of experience to share in terms of the investment policies they have pursued to develop their extractive industries.
This selection of publications highlights key resources documenting and analysing the following aspects of the Latin American investment policy experience: Gas Sector, Oil Sector, Mining Sector, Choice of Policy Model, and Rents, Taxes and Royalties.
16 Mar 2016 02:14:16 GMT
The publications presented in this Spotlight represent some of the key resources dealing with issues related to labour market policies in Latin America. The selected publications focus on the following topics: Gender and Labour; Impact Evaluations; Labour Intermediation Services; Active and Passive Labour Market Policies and Programmes; and Labour Market Regulations and Development.
14 Mar 2016 10:53:53 GMT
With rising globalisation and advances in technology, the interrelationship between trade and the environment has increasingly become a pressing issue across the globe. This paper seeks to contribute to the discussion, mainly by looking at some theoretical underpinnings, learning from some findings in the literature and offering additional empirical evidence in relation to what is happening in the globalized world. For example, is there evidence that international trade encourages a "race to the bottom" in environmental regulations? Are developing countries more likely to export polluting products? On the other hand, are calls for environmental protection no more than disguised protectionism? What is the state of the global/multilateral regime dealing with trade and environment?
Accordingly, the paper looks at some theoretical underpinnings and findings on trade and environment linkage. This is followed by a discussion on the current trade structure of products by pollution-intensity classification between developed and developing countries. The paper also contains two sections dealing respectively with some observations on environmental regulations and the treatment of environment in the multilateral agenda. Finally, the paper concludes by highlighting the need to pursue trade and environment policies in tandem.
10 Mar 2016 10:41:27 GMT
Mexico’s oil and mining sectors are highly significant sources of economic development for the country with profound impact on the daily lives of the nation’s people. It is therefore crucial to have timely, comprehensive information that allows citizens to hold the government and companies accountable.
Mexico’s extractive industry plays a significant role both domestically and internationally. The oil and mining sectors have accounted for an average of about 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) over the past decade. Oil revenue represents a third of public sector income, and 25 percent of the country is currently being exploited or explored by private mining companies. Mexico contributes approximately 2.4 percent of total world mining production. Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the country’s major state-owned oil company, ranks fourth globally in oil production.
During the past 10 years, Mexico has undertaken several reforms that have allowed it to increase transparency and accountability in the extractive industries. However, there is room for improvement, especially in the mining sector, which is being developed by private companies.
Comprehensive, timely and detailed information about the country’s oil and mining industries is a fundamental factor in holding companies and the government accountable. This document proposes several strategies to strengthen and create transparency and accountability mechanisms in oil and mining, and it identifies specific opportunities and possible champions to promote them.
The first is to advocate for the inclusion of transparency in the mining sector and the adoption of the Extraction Industries Transparency Intiative (EITI) into the Mexican government’s commitments to the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The second is to advocate broadening the spectrum of the discussion about transparency in extractive industries during the G20 meeting.
An opportunity exists to promote a transparency agenda among civil society organizations (CSOs). Due to the complexity of Mexico’s extractive sectors, collaboration between CSOs interested in reform will be critical. One important way to improve their effectiveness would be to create a coalition of CSOs with diverse agendas, structured in such a way as to encourage collaboration and contributions from each according to their expertise.
10 Mar 2016 03:30:21 GMT
This case study shows how the activities of a large foreign-invested mining company on land held by the Awajun community in the northern forests of Peru have led to a characteristic cycle of state permissiveness in granting mining concessions, thus leading to social conflict.
It describes encounters between the company and the indigenous community who, though lacking land title, have protected their rights by demanding that their territory be declared a national park. It analyses Peru’s legal and institutional frameworks, and shows how successive governments have deemed the Amazon an "empty" territory to be exploited in order to bring "progress". It documents the emergence of this particular conflict, which has gradually escalated in severity, and argues that the temporary equilibrium that currently exists can only be sustained if all the actors involved recognise the common ownership of the lands in question.
10 Mar 2016 03:00:09 GMT
Venezuela is the textbook case of a resource-rich country. Between 1950 and 2008, oil generated over $1 trillion of income for the state. The country’s proven reserves, at 7 million barrels per Venezuelan, are the largest in the world and will last 270 years at current production rates.
Such natural wealth, though, may not be a good thing. Countries with rich natural resources, especially oil, often suffer from high poverty, frequent conflict, bad governance, and endemic corruption. Governments that can rely on natural resources do not need to tax their citizens. In turn, citizens do not expect or demand public services, clean government, or even basic accountability.
This paper asks whether the direct and automatic distribution of oil rents to citizens is a viable option in Venezuela. Government accountability there has weakened as oil revenues have been diverted more and more to toward discretionary spending channels. Would direct distribution improve accountability? What do citizens think about the approach? The authors confront these questions, focusing on the fiscal contract between citizens and their government.
10 Mar 2016 02:24:12 GMTBrazil’s consolidation as an emerging economy is not easily attributed to any political or economic miracle. Brazil has consciously adapted a large part of its commercial and financial strategy to changes in the global arena. As worldwide demand has grown for raw materials—especially for single-crop agriculture, oil and minerals—Brazil’s growing economy has become increasingly dependent on the export of commodities. Mining and oil activities in Brazil are growing fast. Brazil is currently a major global player in the extractive industries, especially through Vale in mining and Petrobras in oil and gas. Rapid changes at the national level have not been accompanied by equally rapid policy developments to ensure access to public information, which would permit greater control over common resources and goods by the active global citizenry. New legislation for the mining and oil industries is being passed with little or no debate by Brazilian society. As major companies such as Vale and Petrobras have strengthened Brazil’s position as one of the world’s leading oil and mineral exporters, there has been no forum for debate on the implications of this trend for health, environment, marine flora and fauna, employment, or impacts on life in affected communities. A debate on transparency and accountability is urgently needed in Brazil, together with the ability to imagine a different society, one that avoids the exclusion, marginalization and destruction of communities and nature. Fortunately, there is an enormous network of social and political actors working on the issue: universities, NGOs, social movements and even agencies and institutes of government ministries. There is also a clear geographic focus for advocacy work: because Rio de Janeiro State and certain Amazonian states (Pará) have the largest volumes of oil and gas extraction, together they form a strategic area for work on extractive industries in Brazil. A strategy to increase transparency and accountability in Brazil’s extractive sector could begin with Petrobras and an international consortium of NGOs implementing the ISO 26000 international standard for social responsibility. This standard, together with the Social Balance Sheet developed by the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analyses, could serve as the foundation for a binding law for the entire extractive industry. Brazil would benefit from the creation of a multi-stakeholder group that included civil society and corporations that could produce national reports on the extractive industries and social responsibility. Civil society initiatives should be strengthened, especially by forming common networks that can contribute to the creation of an overall strategic vision, both within Brazil and internationally—especially in connection with Africa and Latin America. It would be useful to promote a political entity through which the Brazilian government could formulate transparency and accountability policies, creating mandatory reports on all overseas payme[...]
09 Mar 2016 10:55:16 GMT
The limited nature of mineral resources and demands of the extractive sector require policymakers to find mechanisms to maximise the sector’s benefits. One potential mechanism to achieve this is so-called ‘local content’ which refers to the actions a country can adopt to increase benefits from the extractive sector through the promotion of local employment, skills development, and national industry participation.
The promotion of local content has become a matter of increasing interest and debate in Africa and Latin America. Despite this, local content experiences from both regions are scattered and outcomes are undocumented. In order to inform the debate and provide policymakers with evidence to decide whether local content is the best policy option, this study seeks to map local content frameworks in Latin America and Africa and analyse possible outcomes.
09 Mar 2016 01:21:59 GMT
The relationship between the abundance of natural resources and socio-economic performance has been a main object of study in the economic development field since Adam Smith. Dominated by the verification of the so called curse of natural resource, the mainstream literature on the topic has been mostly on the study of cross sectional data at the national level, with limited empirical use of exogenous differences in the abundance of natural resources at the subnational level.
The autours of this paper explore the case of Peru, a mining-rich middle income country where – exploiting a unique data set constructed for this purpose – they are able to assess systematic differences in district-level welfare outcomes between mining and non-mining districts. They find evidence that the condition of being mining-abundant district has a significant impact on the pace of reduction of poverty rates and inequality levels. They also estimate a heterogeneous response to the mining-abundant condition, finding stronger responses in lower-poverty, higher-inequality districts. Finally, they find a trend suggesting incremental positive marginal effects of the level of exposure to mining transfer, as proxy for the degree of abundance of mining activities, on the reduction of poverty and inequality.
08 Mar 2016 02:28:01 GMT
In January of 1962, the Government abolished the Act of Treasures, Ancient Sites, Scenic sites, and Natural Monuments of Joseon, which they had retained due to financial difficulty since the colonial period, and then it established and proclaimed the Cultural Properties Protection Law. This was the first step of the safeguarding system for cultural heritage by the Koreans themselves.
The safeguarding system for cultural heritage has been developed through several complex events such as rapid social change, westernization, colonization, war, and economic development. This is why the system contains a larger experience than that of any other country. The strong resilience of the safeguarding system for cultural heritage shows that it is a very useful system. Many countries around the world have had experience with war and colonial periods after the 1890s, with the invasion of imperialism and conflicts between nations. Especially in the eastern societies, after the introduction of western modernized culture, they had a tendency to disdain their own culture, which led to the damage and destruction of their glorious cultural heritage. When these countries create legal systems or growth strategies for safeguarding their cultural heritage, the Korean system of safeguarding of cultural heritage can be used as a positive reference.
07 Mar 2016 12:39:14 GMT
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is an emerging West African country with its solid vision for growth, and, with the national strategic document of “Vision 2020” and under the administrative guidance of the National Agency 2020, implements widespread economic and social investment.
Since the visit of the President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo to Korea in 2010, the Knowledge Sharing Program or KSP project started for transmitting development experiences of Korea to this country. In 2012, after discussions between both parties, four sectors were selected as fields of consultation: agriculture, fisheries, tourism and financial services.
04 Mar 2016 05:18:39 GMTThe Africa Progress Report is the annual flagship publication of the Africa Progress Panel (APP). The report draws on the best research and analysis, and makes policy recommendations for African political leaders and civil society who collectively have the primary responsibility for spurring Africa’s progress. Additionally, the reports also highlight critical steps that must be taken by leaders in the international public and private sectors. With the 2015 report having recently been published, the APP have published this retrospective, which compiles detailed and comprehensive summaries of their most recent annual reports. The publication is split into four sections, representing the last four years of the APP African Progress Reports (2012 - 2015). Each section contains a foreword by Kofi Annan, and describes the findings of the thematic research supported by regular, clear infographics. Each concludes with comprehensive and detailed recommendations for relevant stakeholders, including African governments, the international community, and private investors and multinational companies. The first section discusses the 2015 report called Power, People, Planet, which concerned Africa’s energy and climate related opportunities. This report sought to explore how Africa could help to avoid catastrophic climate change in a way that could sustain growth, create jobs, and lift millions of people out of poverty. The message of the report is that while present energy systems in Africa are often highly centralised, inefficient, and highly unequal in terms of access at high cost to the poor, new advances in low-carbon energy could allow much of Africa to leapfrog into a new era of power generation. International cooperation needs to be strengthened to tackle Africa’s interlocking climate and energy problems, not least because the window of opportunity to mitigate climate change is rapidly closing. The plundering of Africa’s natural resources, including fish stocks and forests, is the subject of the 2014 report Grain, Fish, Money. This summary highlights the vast potential of African agricultural production, and the gulf between the potential and a reality in which dependence on food imports is increasing. Two-thirds of Africans rely on agriculture and fishing for livelihoods, so closing that gulf represents a huge opportunity to reduce poverty, generate more jobs, and improve Africa’s food security. Also highlighted in this section is the extensive and costly issue of illegal and unregulated plundering of fish stocks, which is conservatively estimated to cost West Africa $£1.3billion annually, and forests, which in total costs an estimated $17billion per year. Equity in Extractives is the title of the 2013 report discussed in section three. Here, the authors show how revenues from oil, gas, and mining have widened wealth inequalities. This [...]
03 Mar 2016 11:31:23 GMT
Striking a balance between trade facilitation and preventing trade deflection is the single most difficult challenge with regard to the issue of rules of origin (ROO). ASEAN ROO is already considered as among the simplest in the world and still, in practice, results fall short of expectations. ASEAN is fully cognizant that in order to achieve its goal of a single market and production base, progress in eliminating tariffs within ASEAN is not enough. It needs to be accompanied by an enabling ROO regime. Indeed, the AEC Blueprint explicitly provides for instituting reforms in ASEAN ROOs toward the direction of less restriction and simplification. In the medium term, ASEAN member countries can push for an East Asia Free Trade Area that will consolidate the various bilateral and subregional FTAs and therefore overcome the noodle bowl syndrome. This would be a direct result of harmonizing the various ROOs. It goes without saying that the ultimate or long-term objective would be an equitable and efficient multilateral trading system anchored on lower MFN rates under the auspices of the WTO.
03 Mar 2016 02:27:31 GMT
This note shows that unit labor costs, the most widely used measure of competitiveness, are equivalent to the labor share in output multiplied by a price-adjustment factor.
This has three main implications. First, unit labor costs are not just a technical concept. They embody the social relations and institutional arrangements that influence the distribution of income between the social classes.
Secondly, lower unit labor costs should not necessarily be interpreted as implying that an economy is more competitive, i.e., that it will grow faster, and vice-versa. An increase in the wage share can accelerate growth through a number of channels. Hence, it is possible to find that countries with fast-growing unit labor costs also show faster growth in exports or in gross domestic product (GDP).
Third, one can define the concept of unit capital cost as a measure of competitiveness and shift the burden of lack of growth or loss of market share to capital. In this paper, unit labor and unit capital costs for the Philippines are calculated.
It is shown that the decrease in competitiveness (i.e., increase in unit labor costs) in the Philippines is exclusively the result of increases in prices as the labor share has decreased.
02 Mar 2016 02:22:48 GMT
Rules of origin (ROO) set the criteria in determining the nationality of a product and where a product was made. The importance of ROO has increased in the past years as more countries engage in free trade agreements (FTAs) and begun treating goods differently according to where the product was made, along with trade-specific preferences or restrictions to the imported good once its origin is determined.
This study is done to cull the lessons from ASEAN’s experience in determining and implementing the rules of origin. It draws the important lessons and makes recommendations for best practice that would contribute to the cooperation and integration efforts in the region. The paper examines the various design and implementation practice in ROO regimes, focusing on RTAs where the ASEAN is involved. The paper presents findings from recent studies on the cost of ROO compliance and the FTA utilization rates. It concludes with recommendations on simplification of ROO and some reforms on administrative procedures, bringing in the development country dimension, and some general guidelines to follow to improve ROOs.
01 Mar 2016 10:30:27 GMT
This toolkit is a step-by-step simple guide on how a company can tackle an issue that impacts health, wellbeing, absence and turn over in the workplace.
Companies can address 16 Days in myriad of ways, by either hosting a huge campaign or right down to simply sending a tweet.
The toolkit is a brief for companies to tackle domestic violence within these 16 Days. Companies that are interested in eliminating the impact of domestic violence in the workplace should join The Corporate Alliance and move towards a future where domestic violence is quickly and efficiently addressed.
01 Mar 2016 02:17:27 GMT
Among the most daunting constraints mining has been facing is that it is a
generally extractive activity the way it has been traditionally practiced. This makes the country a mere exporter of raw materials to industrialized countries and unable to benefit from value-addition. To help address this problem, the national government has recently pronounced a long-term strategy of national industrialization in the mining sector. Among others, this strategy is intended to enable the sector to expand into processing3 and other downstream activities and transform lowvalue outputs of raw materials into processed products with higher value-added.
The paper reviewed national industrialization as a long-term strategy of mining development in the Philippines. The end purpose was to suggest immediate actions that can be undertaken for the promotion of national industrialization. The paper used secondary data and information from institutional sources and available relevant literature as well as primary data and information from institutional key informants.
The paper found that the knowledge base of the country required to pursue the national industrialization strategy is poor. The following studies therefore were suggested
In addition to the aforementioned research activities, the paper supports the institutional improvements that have been suggested by previous works. These include the strengthening of the organizational, legal, monitoring and enforcement other aspects of governance performed by government mining agencies.
23 Feb 2016 04:29:58 GMT
The paper provides a broad overview of the mandate of the Philippine Constitution in relation to commitments made under free trade agreements and compares this to the EU mandate as a means of assessing the underlying development goals of each party and, in particular, the strengths and weaknesses of the Philippines’ trade-related policies and institutional structures. The objective is to highlight not only potential areas of strengths and weaknesses, but areas that will need further study, analysis and review. Further study will be needed to identify the necessary preparatory work needed for Philippine negotiators and policy makers for the impending negotiations, and policy adjustments moving forward.
Using the Philippine Constitution, and EU interests as a guidepost to analyze Philippine interests, the paper examines some special areas of trade that are not usually covered in the more basic aspects of trade in goods and services. It should be noted that with trade liberalization under the multilateral trade regime market access across countries significantly increased over the past more than six decades. Such opening up gave rise to so-called “second generation” issues and unfair trade practices affecting market access.
23 Feb 2016 02:50:35 GMT
Tourism has been identified as one cross-cutting priority topic, straddling the objectives of employment generation (inclusivity) and sustainability in the Philippines.
This paper briefly reviews the literature on the emerging concept of eco-adventure and cultural tourism, dubbed "green and gold tourism," respectively. It provides the rationale for conducting such a study in the Philippines (why the concern for inclusivity and environmental sustainability in tourism). It then establishes the feasible scope of such study and lists illustrative activities of inclusive and sustainable green and gold tourism. It also identifies concerns and issues about green and gold tourism in APEC countries and in the Philippines. Finally, it classifies emerging good practices in this area, including volunteer travel, promotion of home stays, community-organized and -owned tourism activities, establishing nonmainstream tourist routes and destinations, and tourists' involvement in cultural preservation and eco-rehabilitation.