Negotiation Support to Resource Rich, Low-and Middle Income Countries

For many countries, large-scale projects carried out by foreign investors, for example, in extractive industries, land and agriculture, or infrastructure, are an important means of generating funds to drive economic growth and development. While these deals can be of critical importance, many host country governments lack strong regulatory frameworks, a strategic vision, or the necessary resources to negotiate and implement the deals, limiting their ability to maximize the benefits for their country. In addition, from the investor’s perspective, imbalanced deals can lead to adverse business outcomes, linked to reduced security of titles or concessions, increased prospects for disrupted operations from civil protests and greater risks of revisions of tax and other conditions.

In 2011, CCSI and the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance began a series of workshops to assess whether and, if so, how the availability of expert support to host country governments for complex investment projects could usefully be expanded globally.

An initial workshop was convened in Berlin in October 2011 to begin to explore this question. A second workshop was held at Columbia University in July 2012, which brought together host country government officials, investors, lawyers, representatives of existing support providers, members of civil society, donors, multilateral organizations, and academics, examined the gap between existing sources of support for developing countries in relation to investment projects and the countries’ needs for such support. A key outcome of the workshop and the gap analysis, was the development of the Negotiation Support Portal, which is designed to improve the accessibility of technical assistance and of useful tools and resources to assist host governments planning, preparing for, negotiating, monitoring, and implementing large-scale investments in the extractive industries, land & agriculture and infrastructure sectors, and to facilitate coordination among support providers and host governments. The Negotiation Support Portal was launched at a multi-stakeholder workshop in June 2014 at Columbia University, where it was also endorsed by the G7 as part of the G7 CONNEX initiative to strengthen the technical expertise and support provided to developing country partners in relation to large-scale investments.

In October 2015 CCSI launched a series of meetings of Negotiation Support Providers, to create a forum to discuss common challenges and opportunities and to facilitate greater coordination among support providers. The overall objective of these meetings is to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of technical assistance and trainings at all stages of preparing for, negotiating and implementing large-scale deals.

The first such meeting focused on the challenges associated with the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the provision of technical assistance and training regarding, large-scale investment projects. A summary of the challenges discussed can be found here

The second meeting, held on June 8, 2016, focused on how to increase the effectiveness of support providers’ training and capacity-building programs. In advance of the meeting, CCSI circulated a questionnaire to participating support providers to learn more about their training and capacity building practices, including on approaches for monitoring and evaluation, whether and how alumni were engaged and the extent of inter-organizational coordination. Responses to the questionnaire were combined with supplementary interviews, reviews of the Portal’s training lists, and above all the insights from the discussions on June 8, 2016 in a document entitled “Increasing the effectiveness of trainings and capacity building programs: M&E, alumni engagement, and opportunities for coordination.” This document, and the second meeting itself, were supported by the African Legal Support Facility. The document was published with the consent of all participating support providers.

For more information on this project, especially with respect to the development of the Negotiation Support Portal, please see here.

For any questions regarding CCSI’s work in the area of negotiation support or to learn more about the multi-stakeholder dialogues it is leading in this area, please contact us at ccsi@law.columbia.edu.