Norwegian Intervention at the UNCTAD Global Commodities Forum the 23rd of March 2010 held by Ambassador Ms. Bente Angell-Hansen
Thank you moderator and panelists for very interesting and pertinent presentations. And thank you to the panelists for their positive references to Norway. The point is not to copy Norway’s policies, but how we can mitigate risk. I will focus my remarks on the importance of transparency. The Norwegian Government has participated in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) since 2003 and was the first OECD country to launch an EITI report in January this year. We remain deeply committed to this work.
Why is this so? We are convinced that with good governance oil and gas can increasingly become a vital resource for economic and social development. However, as has been pointed out by previous speakers, we have seen many cases where it has proven difficult to translate petroleum resources into improved welfare for the citizens. Hence, many developing countries that are rich in natural resources still score low on development indicators. Policies must be put in place ensuring that these important resources benefit a country and its citizen at large.
Forty years of petroleum production has given Norway valuable expertise in how to manage petroleum resources in a sustainable way. This expertise can be useful for developing countries that have petroleum resources or countries as well as those that are in the exploration phase. Upon request from countries, The Norwegian Oil for Development Program aims at assisting developing countries in facilitating the effective management of petroleum resources and to make it a vehicle for reaching the Millennium Development Goals.
Specific program activities of the Oil for Development program may include: assistance in establishing legal frameworks, assistance in setting up petroleum funds, assistance with environmental impact assessments, training in data management and much more.
Still, what has been accomplished in Norway does not necessarily generate success elsewhere. The policies chosen in a given country always has to be tailored to the particular challenges this country is facing.
Today the Oil for Development initiative has nine core cooperating countries : Angola, Bolivia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Timor-Leste and Uganda.
In addition to a wide range of governmental institutions, both national and international NGOs are involved in the Oil for Development initiative. Moreover Oil for Development cooperates closely with the EITI-secretariat, and partner country engagement with EITI is seen as a clear advantage. The Oil for Development also works with the World Bank, the IMF, the African Development Bank and the UNDP. Norwegian petroleum companies may also be drawn upon when it comes to transferring expertise.
Closing, I would like to add that the Chair’s proposal to bring transparency to the attention of the G20 is indeed an interesting one.