New book from Oxford University Press looks at how to make extractive industries sustainable and inclusive

Originally posted by Oxford Policy Management

The extractives sector, and the way it works, continues to change rapidly and its importance to many lower-income economies continues to increase. There is ever-more recognition of the need for development that is both inclusive and sustainable – releasing the benefits of resources in such a way as to benefit the greatest number of people. A new book edited by former OPM employee Alan Roe (now an OPM Associate), and featuring many chapters written by OPM staff and Associates, represents a significant contribution to the improved understanding of this vital sector. Extractive Industries: The management of resources as a driver of sustainable development has now been published by Oxford University Press.  It is edited by Alan Roe in collaboration with Tony Addison, chief economists at the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER). UNU-WIDER led the project of which this book is the main output, and the book itself explores the growing economic importance of the extractives industries to low- and middle-income countries.

Many of these countries have substantial endowments of extractive resources, with considerable potential to support inclusive and poverty-reducing development – but only if well-managed and regulated. The potential role of extractives in the development agenda is, the book argues, far more important than is commonly assumed. Yet there are also risks and challenges – not only in terms of fiscal pressures, but also in cohering with responsible climate policy and the challenges of achieving inclusive benefits.

This book examines the various ways in which the potential of extractives for the inclusive development agenda can be realised more effectively, exploring the building and strengthening of local institutions, the management of resources, and the development of appropriate, transparent policies. Arguing against some ‘received wisdom’ – such as the inevitability  of the ‘resource curse’ and the idea that taxes from the extractive sector are the only way to secure sustainable development – this book looks at many aspects of the practical possibilities for inclusive economic and social outcomes.

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, the chair of the International Crisis Group and former deputy secretary-general of the UN, reiterates that ‘natural resources have been part of development since the beginning […] Handled correctly they offer huge payoffs to the countries where these minerals are found […]. This book is a distillation of experience, good and bad, and an excellent handbook of good practice.” Similarly, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, the chairman of the Global Compact Foundation, describes Extractive Industries as ‘an excellent, comprehensive, yet accessible book on the many challenges of resource development and how to avoid the worst pitfalls’