unctad.org | Expert Meeting on FDI in Natural Resources
Expert Meeting on FDI in Natural Resources
20 - 22 November 2006

Key Issues

UNCTAD´s Expert Meeting on FDI in extractive industries will identify key issues associated with TNCs in these industries. It will examine potential economic, social and environmental impacts of foreign investment on the host economy and discuss various policy options aimed at ensuring development gains from FDI in natural resources.

The role of transnational corporations (TNCs) in extractive industries has attracted renewed attention in recent years, partly as a result of rising commodity prices. During the past 15 years or so, TNCs have come to play a significant role in many developing countries, including in least developed countries and transition economies. In hard-rock mining, the involvement of TNCs has taken the form of foreign direct investment (FDI). In the oil and gas industry, given the pre-eminent role of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in this industry, it has often taken the form of agreements between States and TNCs. Reflecting the desire of some developing countries to access natural resources, their SOEs have recently started investing abroad, adding an important South-South dimension to the role of TNCs in extractive industries.

Host developing countries are continuing to seek a balance between creating appropriate business conditions for TNC participation in extractive industries and increasing benefits to the host economy from such participation. At the same time, they are seeking to minimize environmental and social costs. Consequently, beyond the economic dimension, increased attention is being paid to environmental, social and political considerations.



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The Expert Meeting on FDI in Natural Resources will be held from 20 to 22 November 2006. The Meeting will open at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, at 10 a.m. on Monday, 20 November 2006.

Background and purpose of the Meeting

FDI in extractive industries has increased in recent years, fuelled by rising commodity prices. TNCs play a significant role in this sector, particularly in hard-rock mining in developing countries but also in oil and gas through various production-sharing and services agreements. There is an important South-South dimension to recent developments, as more and more developing country state-owned enterprises are venturing abroad to access resources. Reaping maximum development gains from investment in extractive industries remains a challenge. A number of countries have recently changed their policies related to extractive industries with a view to assuring a greater share of resource rents and increasing control of the resources. The Expert Meeting will review current trends and assess their implications for developing countries, especially LDCs, with a view to exploring policy options to ensure tangible and long-term development gains.

Presentations by experts will contribute to a better understanding of the potential benefits and costs associated with involving TNCs in the extraction of natural resources and examine policies that can contribute to successful development outcomes. There will be presentations by Governments, academics, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and private sector representatives.

Experts participating in the meeting are requested to make written contributions on their specific experiences in the field of the subject matter. The contributions will be made available at the Meeting in the form and language in which they are received.


Member States of UNCTAD are requested to nominate experts at an early date and not later than 30 October 2006. Experts, who will participate in the Meeting in their personal capacities, are expected to have proven expertise in the subject, and may be selected from government, the academic world, the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations. Experts from donor institutions familiar with the operation of capacity building programmes will also be invited to participate.

Specialized agencies and intergovernmental bodies wishing to participate in the session, as well as non-governmental organizations in the general category and those in the special category wishing to participate as observers, are requested to inform the UNCTAD secretariat of the names of their representatives by 30 October 2006.

Financial assistance

Funds will be made available to finance the participation of a limited number of officially nominated experts from developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Governments requiring funding are therefore invited to explicitly request financing in their letters of nomination. The decision as to which experts should receive financing will be based on the principle of equitable geographical representation, needs of beneficiaries, in particular LDCs, and the expertise of the experts concerned, as well as the type and availability of funding in the Trust Fund for Financing the Participation of Experts at the time. Changes in nominated experts will be considered as new nominations.

Nominations with requests for financing should be received no later than 23 October 2006, and should be accompanied by the following information about the nominee:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone and fax number
  • E-mail address; and
  • Name of a contact person in the Permanent Mission in Geneva.

It should be noted in this connection that once the list of experts to be financed has been finalized, all travel arrangements will be made in accordance with United Nations rules and regulations, although use of the least costly fare will be authorized.

These experts are expected to prepare brief papers on issues they consider particularly important. The papers will be made available at the Meeting in the form and language in which they are received.

Background documents and contributed papers

The provisional agenda for the Meeting, together with the secretariat´s annotations thereto, is being circulated as document TD/B/COM.2/EM.20/1.

Experts are encouraged to submit written contributions related to their country´s experience on the subject under discussion. Paper should particularly explain the role of TNCs in the country in question, development implications to date and relevant policy developments. These papers will be made available to the Meeting in the form and language in which they are received.


The Meeting will take place at the United Nations Office at Geneva, Palais des Nations. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in the six official languages of the United Nations.

Upon arrival, participants are requested, before entering the Palais des Nations, to collect their badges at the UN Security Service, Pregny Gate entrance, 14 Avenue de la Paix. The Security Service is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Because of the security measures in force, participants are strongly advised to arrive before 9 a.m. in order to complete entry procedures in good time and proceed to the Meeting in the E-Building (Bâtiment E) of the Palais. Participants are requested to carry a passport or similar national identity card with them. Taxis are not allowed to enter the grounds of the Palais des Nations, and visitors will therefore be dropped off at the requested entrance gates. Furthermore, luggage may not be brought into the buildings unless the Security Service gives special clearance.

Further information and contact details

Nominations and related communications concerning representation at the Meeting should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Affairs and Outreach Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10; fax: +41 (0)22 917 02 14, e-mail: correspondence@unctad.org.

All other inquiries should be addressed to Mr. Fredriksson, Coordinator of the Expert Meeting, tel.:+41 (0)22 917 21 43 or + 41 (0)22 917 11 30; fax: +41 (0)22 917 01 94, e-mail: torbjorn.fredriksson @unctad.org.


Supachai Panitchpakdi
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
16 October 2006


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