Transforming institutional quality in resource curse contexts: The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Myanmar

Vijge, Marjanneke J.; Metcalfe, Robin; Wallbott, Linda; Oberlack, Christoph (2019). Transforming institutional quality in resource curse contexts: The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Myanmar. Resources policy, 61, pp. 200-209. Elsevier 10.1016/j.resourpol.2019.02.006

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Many resource-rich countries face the paradoxical situation that their wealth in natural resources coincides with low economic and human development rates. To address this so-called resource curse, academics and practitioners turn their hopes to institutional quality. Yet whether, how and with what consequences institutional quality is transformed in resource curse contexts remains poorly understood, especially so at subnational levels. The most widely implemented initiative that seeks to address the resource curse through enhanced institutional quality is the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This article analyses to what extent and how the EITI transforms institutional quality at national and subnational levels in Myanmar, focusing on transparency, civil society participation and accountability. We show that many transformations go beyond the official EITI process and report. While the EITI report itself is not heavily used by civil society organisations (CSOs), the EITI process motivated CSOs to gather data and organise themselves both around and beyond EITI-related issues at subnational levels. Such participatory processes of constituting transparency improved relations between the (regional) government, CSOs and private companies, but also created new forms of in- and exclusion among civil society. While avenues opened up for CSOs to demand accountability regarding the impacts of resource extraction, the extent to which they are able to trigger action of extractive industry actors in their region remains limited. In conclusion, we argue that transformations in institutional quality are not characterised by a linear trajectory from transparency in the form of the EITI report to accountability, facilitated by civil society participation in EITI multi-stakeholder groups, as the EITI standard posits. Rather, transformations in institutional quality are characterised by spin-offs, dynamic interlinkages, trade-offs, limitations and a reinforcing cycle between participation and transparency within and beyond the EITI.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Integrative Geography > Unit Sustainable Land Management
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Integrative Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Oberlack, Christoph

Subjects:

900 History > 910 Geography & travel

ISSN:

0301-4207

Publisher:

Elsevier

Projects:

[805] Sustainability Governance

Language:

English

Submitter:

Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

24 Jul 2019 08:04

Last Modified:

22 Oct 2019 20:22

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.resourpol.2019.02.006

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Resource curse, Institutional quality, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Participation, Transparency, Accountability, Myanmar/Burma

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.131269

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/131269

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