Adopting the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in September 2015 and its call for socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth has raised questions about the ways that the oil, gas and mining sectors can positively contribute to sustainable development.1 These resources play a vital role in the global economy and global energy systems (oil, gas and coal consumption constituted more than 85 per cent of primary energy consumption in 2015),2 and they are considered to provide potentially transformative opportunities for many developing and low-income countries.3 However, inappropriate management of these resources leads to significant adverse environmental effects, and can also have detrimental effects on the economic and political outcomes of resource-rich countries (resource curse).4 In response to this challenge, this book perfectly draws a complete picture of the actions required within the extractive industry (EI) value chain for the successful transformation of natural resource wealth into sustainable development, while placing a special emphasis on the importance of institutional structure and governance. The book comes in two versions, printed and electronic.5 The objective of the book is to combine the latest research with experiences in dealing with the EI’s biggest challenges to provide practical options, technical understanding, and good practice for established and new resource-rich developing countries (p 6). The authors are aware of the huge differences among resource-rich countries and instead of providing a guide for best practice, they provided a guide for good practice that should be adapted to different contexts in order to arrive at the best practice for each specific country. While policymakers and civil society groups are explicitly mentioned as the target audience (p 15), the book is also very useful for academic readers to fill current knowledge gaps and provide a comprehensive study of the value chain concept. This book is divided into three parts. Part One encompasses three chapters, which together provide: an excellent introduction and justification for the book; a general and clear picture of the interaction between EI and sustainable development; a brief literature review of the resource curse phenomenon; the potential opportunities and challenges of the extractive sector for the resource-rich host countries; and possible sector development initiatives. Part Three, the largest part of the book includes four chapters, each chapter delving into a stage of the EI value chain (four of five stages are covered in this section and the last stage is examined in Part Three). The stages are: Policy, Legal and Contractual Framework (Chapter 4); Sector Organization and Institutions (Chapter 5); Fiscal Design and Administration (Chapter 6) and Revenue Management and Distribution (Chapter 7). Part Two as a whole delineates ‘good practice’ in the EI value chain. Thus, the reader is given a chance to see and understand the related, but usually separately discussed stages beside each other. The authors of the book correctly emphasize that there is no one-size-fits-all model and that each country must consider many other context-led factors to arrive at the best model for its own situation. Part Three of the book, which is called ‘Toward Good Governance’, has three chapters. As the title suggests, it is about the vital role of good governance (Chapter 10), particularly the transparency and accountability aspects of good governance (Chapter 8), in EI sectors. It also covers the implementation of sustainable development, which is not typically included in discussions of governance and the mining sector. This is covered because, like transparency and accountability, it cuts across the entire EI value chain. In the EI value chain chart, which is presented on the first page of each chapter, sustainable development is shown as being the last stage of the EI value chain. It may be better to show it in a separate box cutting across all stages, as is done with transparency and accountability. This section also provides what must be considered the book’s conclusion (Chapter 10). The two most remarkable features of the book are its interdisciplinary perspective, which is applied throughout the whole book, and the use of the EI value chain concept to structure the book. Analysing the value chain requires knowledge from different disciplines, ranging from law to economics and resource management. The book adopts this interdisciplinary approach successfully, avoiding the adoption of a narrow economic perspective, something which is prevalent in many evaluations of the EI sector. The use of the value chain and the framing of all related subjects and arguments around it provide clarity and comprehensiveness to the book and distinguish it from many other books on the subject. Despite this, a consistent structure could have been applied throughout the book. For example, some chapters have introductions, conclusions and practical tool sections, while other chapters have (synonymous) knowledge cores, summaries and action tools. They are so named due to the different contents they contain, but the international nature of the book’s audience means that consistent titles may be better. Another limitation of the book is that it contains only a very brief conclusion (Chapter 10). It would be better if there was a separate concluding chapter. This book is particularly valuable for practitioners, policymakers and anybody who works in the oil, gas and mining sectors and aims to improve the sector’s governance. Additionally, the book is a valuable resource for students and researchers who are interested in the EI sectors and sustainable development, irrespective of their subjects of study, as they are given a clear, comprehensive and interdisciplinary understanding of the relationship between these sectors and sustainable development. It is a free online book and so readers can easily download it and it has had more than 9000 downloads in less than five months which is clear evidence of its growing popularity and potential impact. Footnotes 1 ‘Mapping the Oil and Gas Industry to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas’ (UNDP 2017) <http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/poverty-reduction/mapping-the-oil-and-gas-industry-to-the-sdgs–an-atlas.html> accessed 24 October 2017. 2 ‘World Energy Resources 2016’ (World Energy Council, October 2016)<https://www.worldenergy.org/publications/2016/world-energy-resources-2016/> accessed 24 October 2017. 3 P Collier and AJ Venables (eds) Plundered Nations? Success and Failures in Natural Resource Extraction (Palgrave Macmillan 2011) 1. 4 M Humphreys, JD Sachs and JE Stiglitz (eds) Escaping the Resource Curse (Columbia UP 2007) 3. 5 Please see the following for the online version <http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/222451496911224999/Oil-gas-and-mining-a-sourcebook-for-understanding-the-extractive-industries> accessed 24 October 2017. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the AIPN. All rights reserved.
Journal of World Energy Law and Business – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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