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Facing the Resource Curse: Norway’s Oil for Development Program

Norway’s Oil for Development (OfD), begun in 2005, is a comprehensive program addressing resource, financial and environmental dimensions with a focus on capacity development in the public sector but including larger sector governance concerns. The petroleum sector is increasing in importance world-wide: the number of producer countries is growing, including in poor states with weak governance systems, and prices remain high. The threat of the “oil curse” where private companies and corrupt elites capture most of the benefits for themselves is posing global governance challenges, including to democracy and gender gains. OfD should have the “oil curse” as its main concern, and build strategic alliances and its own program around this. Sector governance issues should have a societal and not just public sector focus. Country programs should maintain the three “pillars” of resource, revenue and environment but be more inclusive of aspects such as safety.