On June 15, 2017, the CONNEX Multi-Stakeholder Negotiation Support Forum (NSF) took place in Paris as part of the 8th OECD Policy Dialogue on Natural Resource-based Development. More than 40 participants from government, private sector, civil society, academia and development organizations used the opportunity for cross-sectoral and open dialogue on key issues in the context of resource contracts.
Mr. Nooke and Mr. Touré, representing Minister Magassouba from Guinea, opened the NSF. Both of them thanked the OECD for hosting the NSF and all the participants for coming. They reminded on the substantial work the forum has done in the past and expressed the hope the debate will continue in the future.
First on the agenda was the further work on the Draft CONNEX Guiding Principles for Durable Extractive Contracts, which aims at supporting contracts which can withstand the test of time. This document has been in development for several months now and shall serve as a common reference to build mutual trust during contract negotiations, and structure extractive contracts for the long term. The exchange was very fruitful and despite some further need for clarification, good progress could be made. It is hoped that the principles can be soon be concluded. Participants appreciated the process facilitated by the OECD and pointed out the strong need for a guidance note which is sustainable and long-lasting.
The second session focused on the role of model contract in complex extractive contract negotiations. The facilitator Mr. Chamot, former Minister of Mining in Peru, had invited officials from Liberia, Mozambique and Tanzania to share their experience. The following discussion reaffirmed that model contracts can help to speed up negotiation and support governments to sustain their priorities, but that it is also very important that the model contract fits the context and has to be implemented afterwards.
The Negotiation Support Forum was concluded with a discussion on how non-binding international human rights, labour and environmental standards can be of use in negotiating large-scale extractive contracts between host governments and investors. The session was organized by the members of the CONNEX Support Unit Advisory Committee and facilitated by Dr. Sauvant, who coordinates the Advisory Committee. The vibrant debate confirmed the relevance and influence of those standards despite their non-binding status and there reference in contracts was recommended.
The Negotiation Support Forum reaffirmed once again the relevance of getting people together to share their perspective and experiences. The vibrant discussion and great participation showed the high interest from all sides.