Research Strategy 

Resource windfall as an opportunity 

Windfalls from the extraction of oil, gas and minerals can be important economic drivers for resource-rich countries for boosting the economy and investment in basic services. 

However, many resource-dependent developing countries face difficulties in using these windfalls to boost sustainable development. Communities in extraction areas often suffer from negative social and environmental effects of large-scale extractive projects. 

Understanding the distribution of costs and benefits of resource extraction is often inadequate, and related expectations are difficult to manage. The lack of transparency and access to information can exacerbate tensions and even create conflict between citizens, government and companies.

An informed debate between companies, government bodies and the local population on the diverse effects of resource extraction can reduce information asymmetries and promote a more development-oriented and effective governance of the extractive sector.

Measuring the development effects of resource extraction in producer countries

This research project aims at developing a framework for data collection and analysis that allows comprehensive monitoring of the economic, social, environmental, and institutional effects of resource extraction. The framework builds on the concepts of weak sustainability and the capital approach that understands the overall wealth of a nation as a portfolio of physical, natural, human and social capital. For development to be sustainable, overall wealth should remain at least equal over time.

To measure development outcomes from resource extraction, we investigate:

  • the extent to which resource rents accruing from natural capital depletion are reinvested in physical, human or social capital;
  • how extractive operations and the company’s government and community arrangements affect social, economic, environmental and institutional development.

          Fig. 1: Capital accumulation in line with the concept of weak sustainability


Resource Impact Dashboard

The framework will translate into a web-based platform, the Resource Impact Dashboard (RID), to make the results easily accessible for stakeholders.

The RID is a publicly available and easy-to-use online tool that:

  • supports the collection and processing of primary and secondary data using mobile devices on a regular basis (e.g. yearly);
  • visualizes flow indicators of physical, natural, human and social capital stocks and discloses development trends in the region;
  • provides independent monitoring data to civil society, government and companies.

The platform will be made available under an open source software license so that the framework can be used to monitor the effects of resource extraction in other resource-rich countries as well.

Pilot Phase

The RID framework will be tested in 4 different extractive regions:

  • two extractive sites in Burkina Faso 
  • two extractive sites in Mozambique 


Expected Results

The intended results of the project at the local, national and international level are:

  • promoting an evidence-based debate among civil society, governments and companies on resource outcomes, the mitigation of negative externalities, and the distribution of benefits;
  • facilitating the negotiation and implementation of policy measures by providing insight into complex processes in and around extraction projects;
  • contributing to the international resource governance dialogue through field-based evidence about the effects of voluntary commitments of the industry and public policies. 

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