The Asia Pacific Regional Hub Takes Off!

Country: Asia-Pacific
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In 2012, Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) entered into partnership with the Department of Politics and Government (JPP), Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to establish a regional extractive knowledge hub.  The objectives of the hub, in line with the vision of RWIs hub program is to:

  • To increase the number of accountability actors pushing for better management of extractive resources for the ultimate benefit of citizens in resource rich countries
  • To equip members of this growing movement with the requisite knowledge and skills to make a positive contribution in the governance of the extractive sector in their countries

UGM is the oldest state university in Indonesia with a student population of over 56,000 and 70 academic departments.  It has nearly 60 years’ experience in politics and government studies and the Research Centre for Politics and Government (PolGov) which manages all research, publication, and advocacy activities.  This unit has four thematic clusters, one of which is the Study on Governance Reform and Integrity System.  The Asia Pacific Hub is cradled within this unit cluster.

The Hub is now fully staffed and operational and is currently delivering its inaugural course which commenced on Monday, September 2, 2013, and will run until Friday, September 13. The course,  Improving the Governance of Extractive Industries, has 22 civil society actors from Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. These are middle to senior level CSO staff who have been involved in the extractive sector in their countries for two years or more.  In future, participants will (in addition to the above mentioned countries) also come from Malaysia, Solomon Islands, and Vietnam.

Course instructors are a mix of RWI, UGM, and regional experts with backgrounds in natural resource accounting, economics, law, and fiscal policy.  The course is divided into five parts:

  1. Assessing Social and Environmental Impacts on EI Operations (including risks, drivers for and against extraction, enabling effective EIA/FPIC, natural resource accounting and cost-benefit analysis)
  2. Tax, Royalty and Contract Terms (introduction to fiscal systems, legal hierarchy/contract forms and terms, pitfalls and loopholes, monitoring of fiscal and tax obligations, and modeling of financial benefits)
  3. Revenue Management (overview and challenges to managing resource revenues, macroeconomic frameworks, policy options, revenue sharing and sub national revenue management, transparency and oversight mechanisms, public  financial management and budget process, local content, linking revenue management with sustainable development)
  4. Coalition for Reform (policy advocacy strategy, stakeholder mapping & developing key messages, getting public legitimation, developing supporting evidence or data, action planning)
  5. EITI (introduction to basic principles and overview of 2013 standard, new rules opportunities and challenges)
     

As part of the course, participants will travel to an oil producing area in East Java, Bojonegoro, to see first-hand the impact of oil extraction on local economies.  RWI has worked in Bojonegoro for the last five years, and there are many lessons that its partners have learned in responding to the challenges faced by the region that they will share with this cohort of students.

Interestingly, the Rector of the Universitas Gadjah Mada, Professor Dr. Pratikno, comes from a poor village in Bojonegoro and on Monday night shared his personal story of the Bojonegoro people and how poverty levels have risen proportionate to the rise in oil production.  Professor Pratikno shared these reflections at the welcome reception held in honor of the regional guests and partners.  The story was poignant and drove home the fact that this course is not simply discussing faceless statistics, but someone’s father, mother, brother, or sister; in this case the family of the leader of one of the biggest institutions in Indonesia.

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