13 March 2013, Geneva, Switzerland - A course currently creating interest amongst the online participants this month is the course on the Governance of Extractive Industries. Not only is the organization of this course timely, but also the course topic is of paramount importance in the post economic and financial crisis.

Extractive industries are those that are related to mineral and hydrocarbon products such as gold, phosphates, diamonds, oil, gas, etc. which remain the economic bedrock for many developing countries, generating the main, if not the sole source of fiscal revenues, foreign exchange earnings and surpluses to finance much needed socio-economic development. Yet, studies and surveys indicate that these countries have been unable to effectively use the resources from extractive industries and therefore they have shown poor economic performance in comparison with countries with similar levels of income. The quality of governance has come to be viewed as a key factor influencing the ability of countries to use revenues from their extractive industries for development. In many cases, large extractive industries even appear to have slowed down economic and social development through a number of phenomena often referred to collectively as the "resource curse".

This online course discusses the basics of governance principles, and allows participants to apply these principles to the specific domain of natural resources in general and extractive industries in particular in the context of a practical exercise.

The intended audience includes 36 public and private sector officials in the extractive industries sector as well as academics and civil society including individuals interested in the sound management of revenues generated from the exploitation of natural resources in general. However, the course has attracted participants from a various countries including Japan, Ireland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Columbia, Germany, Egypt, Tanzania, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Norway, and Nigeria. The professional fields and organizations from which these participants emerge are just as diverse as their countries.

The different modules of the course offers an opportunity to explore important issues for the governance of extractive industries, such as public participation, initiatives for transparency and accountability, negotiation capabilities, etc. Through this course, participants are able to not only state a clear concept of governance and its guiding principles such as transparency; accountability, anti-corruption, environmental safeguards, corporate social responsibility, public participation, etc. but also are able to assess the quality of governance of revenues from their respective countries’ extractive industries. By the end of this course they will also be in a position to propose a more sound management of resources from extractive industries for the improvement of economic performance.

This course is currently running from 25 February to 29 March, 2013 and mentored by Dr. Aboubacar Fall, a renowned expert in the Governance of Extractive Industries and former Principal Legal Counsel of the African Development Bank (AfDB). The course will be conducted again from 21 October to 22 November, 2013.

To register for the next session in 2013: http://www.unitar.org/event/governance-extractive-industries-2013b

To know more about upcoming events from UNITAR’s Public Finance and Trade Programme: http://www.unitar.org/pft/events