Leveraging Transparency to Reduce Corruption in the Natural Resource Industries

Thanks to widespread corruption and abuse of public resources, revenues generated from natural resource extraction does not always translate into investments in sectors such as health, education or nutrition in low- and middle-income countries. R4D will provide knowledge brokerage, produce research and implement proof of concept for locally identified, evidence-informed interventions and multi-stakeholder strategies that combine transparency, accountability and participatory approaches that are adapted to context, responding to local challenges and addressing implementation gaps. All this so the efforts of local anti-corruption and governance champions can ensure that natural resources fuel human development outcomes.

The Challenge

Corruption and bribery are among the most profound challenges we face globally. These ills diminish public confidence in government and public institutions, weaken economies, threaten sustainable development and ultimately reduce quality of life for billions of people around the world. This is especially damaging when billions of dollars in revenue from natural resource industries (including oil, gas and mining) that have been promised to health, education and other development programs in low- and middle-income countries disappear due to entrenched corruption and mismanagement. Among the tools that have evolved to address corruption and bribery in recent decades are a vast variety of initiatives that strengthen transparency, accountability and citizen participation. As our foundational paper indicates, the evidence of their effectiveness is inconclusive at best. However, the evidence also indicates that the most promising strategies are those that:

  1. consider several of these approaches in complementarity to one other,
  2. actively learn from previous experiences and
  3. consider context from the design stage. 

The Opportunity

Leveraging Transparency to Reduce Corruption (LTRC) is a joint initiative of R4D’s Accountability and Citizen Engagement (ACE) practice and the Brookings Institution’s Governance program. LTRC exists to support the efforts of good governance and anti-corruption champions in the extractive sector around the world with research, knowledge brokerage and testing of new approaches to overcome existing challenges and implementation gaps in the fight against corruption. Our TAP-Plus approach is used to understand the root of existing challenges, and to co-design multi-pronged strategies that can overcome them.

Our Work

LTRC is helping stakeholders in the natural resource governance space set the global agenda for the coming years. Consistent with this, LTRC will

  1. Promote in each country where we work and at the global level new multistakeholder coalitions for change and support them with knowledge brokering services.
  2. Open opportunities for a closer collaboration between international and local actors.
  3. Explicitly tackle in our research and policy debates the centrality of politics, power dynamics and capture in overcoming corruption risks.
  4. Undertake and promote research that fill knowledge gaps in support of stronger governance systems, including protecting civic space, overcoming lack of trust between stakeholders, building technical capacity better, promoting better use of data, preventing abuse and conflict.
  5. Lead and partner in efforts to build knowledge around emerging issues that will mark the future of the field, such as the role of investors in improving NRG, and how to build better governance around the energy transition.

Our country work: responding to current priorities, with an eye on sustainability

In each country where we work, we first engage NRG stakeholders in a co-creation process that uses the TAP-Plus approach to reflect on the challenges in the field, their root causes, the possible solutions and key actors. This forms the basis of a multistakeholder strategy that considers the need for broad coalitions in the country.

We then undertake research that fills identified knowledge gaps or that builds a proof of concept for the solutions explored during the co-creation process. The information from that research is widely disseminated and discussed locally as well as in international fora, with a focus on influencing policy and promoting systemic change.

However, we understand that it cannot end there. Corrupt behavior can be pervasive and adaptable. To this end, we will plant the seeds for a regular dialogue between policymakers and the local research community. We want to spur the debate around preventing and reducing corruption in the extractives sector and to facilitate access to tools and knowledge that empower local champions in their efforts.

Our global level agenda: brokering knowledge, promoting dialogue and the use of evidence

LTRC will enter in partnerships with international organizations to define what is needed in terms of convenings and research for the field to dealing with challenges, including state capture and threats to civic space and to better respond to emerging issues such as energy transition and an the growing role of investors in NRG. To this end, LTRC is funding specific research projects aimed at providing global stakeholders with key tools and evidence to support their work.

LTRC will also organize and systematize the evidence and materials it has collected over the last couple of years along strategic themes, facilitating access to information for global and local stakeholders.

Location:

Colombia, Mongolia, Nigeria, Peru, Zimbabwe

Funders:

The BHP Billiton Foundation

Partners:

The Brooking Institution, Natural Resources Governance Institute

Status:

Open

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