CIRDI, The Canadian International Resource and Development Institute, was created in 2013 “to strengthen” the capacity of developing countries “to govern and manage their natural resources for the benefit of their people”.1 With close to $40 million dollars in government funding to autumn 2017 the authors believe the Institute has strayed far from its mandate. Rather than assisting and encouraging Canadian extractive industries to improve their social development, environment and human rights practices to benefit the people of developing countries (as intended) the primary beneficiaries have been the companies themselves. While enjoying more or less complete domination of the Institute’s Board of Directors and Advisory Council, industry’s financial contributions to the Institute has been negligible let alone investment in communities affected by their resource development practices. At the same time, government’s decision to redirect humanitarian aid, traditionally delivered through NGOs, to subsidize industry to meet its own corporate social responsibilities is flawed. Less money is reaching those in need, and corporations and universities have proven to be less effective in delivering aid than NGOs because they often use these funds to serve their own purposes.
This paper addresses some important questions. Is CIRDI respecting its mission and meeting its goals? Is it providing good value to taxpayers? Is it as transparent, collaborative and useful as it needs to be to justify its future? Is its relationship appropriately independent from undue industry influence? Why have other stakeholders been squeezed out of CIRDI’s leadership? The paper also evaluates CIRDI’s governance and projects against its stated goals and objectives.
Finally, this paper makes recommendations whose implementation would help CIRDI restore its intended mission, establish balanced leadership and better serve taxpayers and affected communities in developing countries. If the purpose truly is inclusiveness, sustainability, human rights, transparency and independence, then the Institute needs to re- set its leadership, governance and programming, otherwise the authors recommend that CIRDI be closed.
Harmony Foundation of Canada, September 25, 2017
For the full report, please download HERE