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Summer Course on Natural Resources Management, Budapest, Jul-07 27 October 2010

A Special Report from Budapest;
Summer University

23Established in 1996, CEU’s Summer University program hosts high-level, research-oriented, interdisciplinary and innovative academic courses as well as workshops on policy issues for professional development in the social sciences and the humanities. Courses involve distinguished international faculty (including CEU professors), and excellent advanced doctoral students, junior or post-doctoral researchers, teachers and professionals as participants. While application from all over the world is encouraged, continued priority is given to applicants from Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and countries experiencing emerging democracies worldwide. Applicants from these countries, when admitted on merit, will be eligible for scholarship, while those from developed countries will usually be expected to pay fees.

Course offerings cater for the various needs of academic and professional development across a wide spectrum of disciplines. These include anthropology, cultural studies, environmental sciences, comparative religion, political science, public policy, sociology, international relations, legal studies, etc. The program encourages topics in newly emerging fields and Trans – disciplinary approaches.
In April 2007, we received an email from friends at the Revenue Watch Institute, which asked one of our staff if interested to apply for a scholarship for the Summer Course which would be held from 2-12 July, 2007. The course itself would be about the Integrity Reform and Strategy Corruption Control for Natural Resources Revenue Management. So we had consulted colleagues and asked for their opinion; we agreed to apply, so we decided to fill the application form, and then we sent it to the organizing committee. About three weeks later we received a response from the organizing committee informing us that we had been successful in get the scholarship to participate in the Summer Course at the Central European University. The sponsors of the course came from several institutions including: Tiri Organization as a main sponsor of the course, but also the Revenue Watch Institute and the Open Society as the Co-Founder of Central European University. This event has already been held four times. The course would be held in the main building of the Central European University, in Budapest – Hungary.

The program brings together groups of interested individuals to study together intensively for two or three weeks in Budapest, coming from an enormously varied geographical, cultural and academic background. Participants have been accepted into the program from 106 different countries ranging from East and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union to countries of Asia, Africa, North America and South America. The courses are taught by a team of teachers who also represent a wide range of countries in an effort to match the diversity of the student body. Professors have come from 89 different countries from the region as well as mostly from Western Europe and America.

More then 400 participants attended this Summer Course in 2007. Several topics were addressed, including courses on: Culture and Cognition, Culture and Democracy in the Global System, Media and Globalization and Post-Communist European Identities, Global Processes and Non Governmental Public Action, The European Union and the WTO: Disciplining Regional and Global Markets, Energy and the Environment – Bridging the Divide in Global Climate Policy: Strategies for Enhanced Participation and Integration, among many others The course that we attended was entitled Integrity Reform and Strategic Corruption Control, from 2 – 11 July, 2007. In our course there were 48 students from 26 countries. The participants at course came from different professional backgrounds including some from national and International NGOs, some Human Rights activists, some from government, and some from law practices and even some university lecturers. In our course we were divided into four different policy laps; The Policy Lap of Natural Resources Revenue Management, Policy Lap of Fiscal Transparency, Policy Lap of the Post War Construction, and the Policy Lap of Legal and Constitution. We were part of the Natural Resources Revenue Management Policy Lap, made up of about 13 students. Details of the lecturers are as follows:
Evelyn Dietsche, as the facilitator for our Policy Lap, she is also a lecturer at the University of Dundee, faculty of Centre for Energy in United Kingdom, and her background of study is Petroleum and Minerals Law and Policy. Apart from being the facilitator, she also gave a presentation on the topic of Institutions in Natural Resources Countries, where she presented her critical overview of the policy recommendation that natural resources countries improve their institutions to ensure that natural resources rents and revenue are used well. She is also emphasized that the relationship between natural resources, economic outcomes and institutional quality is far from straightforward. In her classes she drove us to discuss deeply about the impact of different types of institutions, and how these have come about, and under what conditions institutions may change.

Elisabeth Bastida is a lecturer at the Centre for Energy faculty, University of Dundee in UK, and her background area of study is Petroleum, Minerals Law and Policy. In her classes she introduced to us the basic principles and concepts of mining law and policy which underlie traditional patterns of legislation and contracts used in the mining industry. She reviewed contemporary trends and critical perspectives aimed at emphasizing the gaps and challenges in addressing the developmental contribution of the mining sector. My opinion on her sessions is that there are major differences between Mining and Petroleum contract documents. Also the process of mining exploration is very different compared to the petroleum sector. And the cost of mining projects is less then those for petroleum. There are also very few National Mining Companies in the world if we compare to National Oil Companies. The Mining industry is used to benefiting the rich people rather then poor people. The rich people like to use and wear mining products such as diamond and gold.

Andrew Roser, one of the lecturers from Australia, is based at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. At his opening session Andrew talked about the Resources Course, with his critical overview of the evidence that has been offered in support of the resource course hypothesis, and examined the various dimensions of the course. Our perspective on his point of view are; he gave a very general comment on the mistake of lack capacity of management by the several developing countries; he mentioned African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Congo and other third world countries -, they have to work very hard to repair the mistake that they have made in the past. We think that those countries are trying hard to rebuild the trust of the international community, and we think they will learn from their experience.

Vanessa Herringshaw is the Director of the Revenue Watch Institute London Office. In her class, she gave a presentation on Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). She presented the detailed explanation to the EITI and PWYP meetings, and she repeated it again at our classes. She did very well on her explanation, and she asked us to explain to her the Timor-Leste experience on the EITI.
Martin Sandbu is from the Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department, The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania. He is one of the lecturers that have been to Timor-Leste a few times already. In his presentation he talked about the stabilization fund, and he used Timor-Leste as a one of the examples for his thesis. He explained that there are very few oil-producing countries that have adopted this model of the fund. He stated that the Norway Model is one of the top models in the world; the second model is New Zealand and in third place is Timor-Leste!

Paul Collier is the Head of the Economics Department at Oxford University. In this presentation he talked about the asymmetric information that has been provided for making a public opinion. He emphasized that civil society has to be proactive in transferring information from the elites to the public consumer; sometimes the media takes the role as an opinion maker, whereas it should be the civil society making the opinions and bringing up issues with the public.

Willy Olsen is from INTSOK and Special Advisor for the Revenue Watch Institute and former Senior Advisor to the President and CEO of Statoil, Chatham House. In his presentation he summarized the global trends in the oil and gas industry and addressed the increase in resources nationalism, the growing role of national oil companies, and the consequences for the international oil companies. These issues put into context the demand for oil and gas and the growing energy security concerns, as well as the increased attention on climate change issues and the potential impact on the oil and gas industry. In his presentation he also discussed issues of good governance and civil society. Willy also emphasized that the bidding process for awarding projects are potentially not transparent. So he gave other alternatives for awarding contracts to the companies, such as new models like auctions, which have already been used by oil countries like Nigeria. For me, we still have a question about the ability of this new model to prevent lack of transparency. We think that it could work in the awarding of the first contract of exploration. The Auction model is also a way of preventing illegal lobbying and the illegal bonus signature. But how we can use the Auction model for signing the Production Sharing Contract (PSC)? We know the PSC contracts are very complex and are one of the detailed contracts that the Government has no choice but to look at in a very detailed and careful manner before signing.

As a part of the course agenda, we also had plenary sessions in the morning together. Four different Policy Laps joined in each following discussion led by Fredrik Galtung, Chief Executive of Tiri at the London Office. These were very interesting discussions with some fabulous presentations in each specific area. The discussion a broadly covered a range of differences, dynamics, and perspectives and touched every single model that has existed but has not completely solved any problem. In the plenary sessions we had a chance to present the Timor-Leste case study to all the participants of the course. We gave a little bit of background on Timor-Leste statistics, and some basic idea of livelihoods in Timor-Leste, followed by revenue projections from oil and gas, and some mapping of revenue and expenditure of state budget, the Petroleum Fund Mechanism, and wrapped up with a rundown of Luta Hamutuk monitoring activities in this sector.

The Summer Course very useful for me and for my organization, As a result of the course, three of us, one participant from Madagascar, one from Tanzania and including me from Timor-Leste were announced as the best participants of the course for the topic of Integrity Reform and Strategic Corruption Control. And we hope that in the future other Luta Hamutuk members will have the chance to join the course.