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 2012 also included 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 9th year of ISLP's business law training program for African lawyers, implemented this summer in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, trade negotiation training for the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry in Zambia, support for a Haitian microfinance organization, and legal support for Liberia's accession to the World Trade Organization.
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 the June 2012 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. In June, Harvard Law Professor Steven Shay and Vinson & Elkins retired partner Ed Osterberg led ISLP's ninth capacity-building workshop in Tanzania for senior level ministry and agency staff. The 5-day training was focused on strategic taxation issues in the extractive industries. Teams of ISLP volunteers, including partners from Freshfields, White & Case and K&L Gates, delivered additional week-long workshops to Tanzanian officials in January and October on natural resource management topics.
Support for NGOs addressing global development issues
ISLP recently worked with leading anti-corruption NGO Global Witness on projects involving the petroleum sectors of South Sudan and the Dem. Republic of Congo and with an analysis of proposed regulations pertaining to conflict diamonds under the Dodd-Frank Act. A volunteer also worked onsite with a coalition of Ugandan civil society organizations to discuss and help them formulate comments on proposed new laws governing the petroleum sector.
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>