ISLP's work in this area is focused on the delivery of top quality services to assist governments and NGOs with significant transactions and other direct legal services to achieve important economic development and social justice goals. These efforts are targeted in countries where ISLP believes it can make a difference and with governments that show a desire for and dedication to reform.
A major ISLP program involves capacity building in the natural resource sector. This work started in Liberia in 2006, and by 2014 includes Guinea, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. Volunteers provide the governments of these impoverished nations urgently needed technical assistance, targeted training, support in drafting laws, regulations and policy and direct assistance in the negotiation of major natural resource agreements. Joseph Bell, a senior partner at Hogan Lovells, is ISLP's Volunteer Program Advisor for the Extractive Industries.
Other significant recent programs include the 10th year of ISLP's business law training program for African lawyers, implemented last summer in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, trade negotiation training for the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry in Zambia, legal support for Liberia's accession to the World Trade Organization, and new projects to advance Alternative Dispute Resolution.
ISLP trainers help meet capacity challenges in Tanzania
"We have realized that the country has not been earning much from its abundant natural resources, especially from minerals," said the Deputy Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Ms. Angela Kairuki (left), at the opening of an ISLP workshop in Arusha, Tanzania. "We are in the midst of extracting huge deposits of gas in our country. We need to enhance the capacity of the government to negotiate and manage large-scale investment contracts." At the Tanzanian government's request, ISLP has since 2009 provided in-depth trainings on topics related to negotiating and regulating natural resource agreements. An August 2014 workshop focused on structuring, negotiating and managing large-scale offshore LNG export projects.
Support for communities addressing development issues
The South Gobi region in Mongolia has exploded with mining activity. Over the past decade, the large number of mining projects have had significant impacts on the local community and environment, but have offered little in the way of local participation–a recipe for serious problems. Community benefits specialists Luke Danielson and Kristi Disney (pictured being interviewed), were sent by ISLP in late 2014 to the region to work with local partner Sustainable Development Consulting, a Mongolian social enterprise, and local stakeholders on a workshop on Community Development Agreements. They also shared their knowledge of Community Agreements with the Ministry of Mining and Energy and on environmental impact assessment with the Ministry of Environment in Ulaanbaatar. The project is ongoing.
Contract renegotiations that aim to help break the "resource curse"
Hogan & Hartson attorney Randy Shefman (left) is working via ISLP with the Liberian government's Inter-Ministerial Committee on Concessions to negotiate mining development agreements with private-sector companies that are transparent, include social benefits and address environmental concerns. <more>