Natural Resource Governance Institute
Natural Resource Charter Limited
Natural Resource Governance Institute – Europe
Emeritus Board Members
Natural Resource Governance Institute
The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) is a U.S. 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia, since 2006.
NRGI’s board of directors consists of:
- Gilbert F. Houngbo (chair)
- Ernest Aryeetey
- Joseph Bell (ex officio)
- Alan Detheridge
- Sean Hinton
- Lourdes Melgar (chair of the audit and finance committee)
- Carole Nakhle
- Elena Panfilova
- Anthony Paul (chair of the nominations and governance committee)
- Magdalena Sepúlveda
- Smita Singh
- Zainab Usman
- Charles Wanguhu
Gilbert F. Houngbo
Gilbert F. Houngbo is the director-general of the International Labour Organization (ILO), a UN agency that brings together governments, employers and workers to set labor standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work. He was previously president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Born and raised in Togo, Houngbo experienced first-hand the harshness of rural life among vulnerable people. It instilled in him a lifelong passion for engaging in development efforts that are transformative and sustainable. He applies his personal insights and 30 years of experience in organizational leadership, international development, financial management and diplomacy to advance the wellbeing of vulnerable populations and the health of the planet.
Houngbo joined the board of directors of the Natural Resource Governance Institute as its chair in 2022.
He is also the chair of UN-Water, which coordinates the efforts of over 30 UN entities and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues. He is also helping to shape the future of global food security and agriculture as a member of the board of stewards for the Food Systems Initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF), and a member of the board of directors of the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA). As a founding member of the Ambassadors Group for Generation Africa, Houngbo collaborates with other continental leaders on ways to foster support for innovative young African entrepreneurs.
Prior to his appointment as IFAD president, Houngbo was the deputy director-general of the ILO, where he led field operations in more than 100 countries and managed bilateral and multilateral partnerships. From 2008 to 2012, he served as Prime Minister of the Togolese Republic, where he introduced economic and social reforms leading to poverty reduction.
From 1996 to 2008, he undertook a number of roles at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), including director of finances, chief of staff, assistant secretary-general and Africa regional director. In addition, he led poverty alleviation programmes in 45 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Before this, Houngbo spent a decade in the private sector, including at Price Waterhouse, Canada, where he worked in audit and financial advisory services.
Houngbo earned a Maîtrise en gestion des entreprises from the University of Lomé, Togo and a Diplôme d’Etudes Supérieures Spécialisées in specialised accounting from the University of Quebec, Canada. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants.
Ernest Aryeetey, vice chancellor of the University of Ghana, brings deep technical expertise to NRGI. He formerly ran the Institute of Statistical and Economic Research, and is a nonresident senior fellow with the Africa Growth Initiative in the Global Economy and Development program of the Brookings Institution, where he served as director from 2009-2010. He is a well-known and respected scholar who has expressed his deep concern about Ghana’s development trajectory and is well placed to impact its course.
Joseph Bell is senior counsel at Hogan Lovells. His focus since 2004 has been on natural resource issues—policy and commercial. Working mostly pro-bono and principally in Africa and Asia, he has represented governments in mining and agricultural concession negotiations and has advised regarding tax and royalty policies, stabilization agreements and other economic issues related to large concessions. He has also advised with respect to the establishment of natural resource management funds and general issues of transparency and governance. He was one of the authors of the initial draft of the Natural Resource Charter.
He was an advisor in 1989-1990 to the Polish Ministry of Finance. In the same period, he co-founded the Project for Economic Reform in Ukraine. Later he established the Warsaw office of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells). In 2014 the Polish government awarded him the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit for his support and work "at the initial and most difficult stage of [Poland's] transformation.”
Prior to private practice, he worked for the U.S. Justice and Treasury Departments, the Federal Energy Administration and the Cabinet Task Force on Oil Import Control. He also taught at the Duke Law and Public Policy Schools.
He is the former chair of the International Senior Lawyers Project, a founding director of the Polish American Freedom Foundation, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2010 he received the American Lawyer Life Time Achievement Award.
Formerly Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee
Alan Detheridge spent 30 years with the Royal Dutch Shell Group, retiring in April 2007 as the group’s vice president for external affairs. In addition to NRGI’s board, where he chaired the finance and audit committee, he sits on the boards of Management Sciences for Health, the Open Contracting Partnership and Publish What You Pay.
Sean Hinton joined the Open Society Foundations in September 2015 as chief executive officer of the Soros Economic Development Fund and director of the Economic Advancement Program.
Prior to this, Sean was principal of Terbish Partners, which he founded in 2007 to provide strategic advisory services on cross-border transactions in China, Mongolia and Africa, focusing on the social and economic impact of large-scale extractive investments. He was a long-term senior advisor to Goldman Sachs (Asia) and the Rio Tinto group. Sean’s other roles included: deputy-chairman of SouthGobi Resources; special advisor to the CEO of SOHO China; and chairman of China Networks.
Sean has over 25 years of experience in China and Mongolia particularly, where he first lived from 1988-1995. He subsequently served as Mongolia’s first honorary consul-general in Australia.
Sean began his career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in its Sydney and London offices, and was a specialist in McKinsey’s media and entertainment practice. He studied at the GSMD in London, the University of Cambridge and the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and serves on the International Advisory Board of the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland. On the NRGI board, Sean chairs the nominations committee.
Lourdes Melgar, Ph.D., is a nonresident fellow at the Baker Institute Center for Energy. She is also a research affiliate at the Center for Collective Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was the 2016-17 Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow.
From February 2014 to July 2016, Melgar served as Mexico’s deputy secretary of energy for hydrocarbons and was a member of Pemex’s board of directors. She was Mexico’s under-secretary for electricity from December 2012 to February 2014, during which she also served on the board of the Federal Electricity Commission. During her tenure, she played a key role in the design, negotiation and implementation of Mexico’s energy reform. Previously, she held various positions in Mexico's Foreign Service.
Melgar was founding director of the Center for Sustainability and Business at the Tecnológico de Monterrey’s EGADE Business School. She has been a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and at the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. She is also a national researcher with the Mexican Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT). Melgar received a bachelor’s degree with honors from Mount Holyoke College and a Ph.D. in political science from MIT.
Dr. Carole Nakhle is the founder and CEO of Crystol Energy. An energy economist, she has worked with oil and gas companies (IOCs and NOCs), governments and policy-makers, international organizations, academic institutions and think tanks, globally. She is active on the board of NRGI, a program advisor to the Washington, D.C.-based International Tax and Investment Centre, and a regular contributor to Geopolitical Intelligence Services and the Executive Sessions on the Political Economy of Extractive Industries at Columbia University in New York.
She is also involved in the OECD Policy Dialogue on natural resource-based development and acts as a visiting lecturer at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. She lectures and supervises postgraduate research at the University of Surrey in the U.K., and Saint Joseph University in Beirut.
Nakhle is a respected contributor to the global debate on energy matters, with more than 150 articles in academic journals, newspapers and magazines to her credit, as well as being a prominent speaker at international industry conferences. She has reviewed studies, books and reports for leading publishing houses and major consulting firms and is an avid commentator on energy in the international media. She has appeared on Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, the BBC, CNBC and CNN, among others. She is the executive editor of Newsweek’s special edition, “The Future of Innovation in the Oil and Gas Industry.”
Nakhle is also the author of two widely acclaimed books: “Petroleum Taxation: Sharing the Wealth,” published in 2008, re-printed in 2012, and used as primary reference in leading universities and industry training courses; and “Out of the Energy Labyrinth,” co-authored with Lord David Howell, former secretary of state for energy in the U.K. She is currently working on a new book, “Petroleum Fiscal Regimes and Wealth Management.”
Nakhle has worked on energy projects in more than 40 countries and has been on exploratory visits to the Arctic and North Sea. She is also the director of the not-for-profit organization Access for Women in Energy, which she founded in 2007 to support the development of women in the energy sector worldwide.
In 2017, she gave evidence to the U.K. Parliament International Relations Committee on oil markets and the transformation of power in the Middle East and implications for the U.K. policy. In the same year, she received the Honorary Professional Recognition Award from the Tunisian minister of energy, mines and renewable energy.
Elena A. Panfilova is the chair of the Center for Anti-Corruption Research and Initiative Transparency International - Russia, TI’s Russian chapter, which she founded in 1999. She served as its executive director until July 2014, when she became the chapter’s chair. She has been an academic, consultant and activist, held positions in the OECD and the Institute for Economy in Transition and became a member of the Russian Governmental Commission on Open Government. In August 2014, she became head of the Laboratory for Anti-Corruption Policy (which she founded in 2008), working to promote transparency and civil society. Since 2007, she has taught anti-corruption at the State University Higher School of Economics and Moscow State University. Elena was elected to the TI Board in 2011 and elected vice-chair in 2014.
Anthony Paul is a Trinidad & Tobago national. He has spent over 35 years in the oil and gas industry, in technical, commercial, managerial and leadership roles across the value and decision chains. As a strategy consultant, he uses the unique experience of having worked at senior levels with governments, investors and operators to find mutually beneficial ways of ensuring that more value from extractive resources is retained in locations of oil, gas and minerals production.
In designing and implementing governance frameworks, he draws heavily on the risk-management and business strategy best practice approaches used by industry. Through resource and situational analyses, he connects to national development aspirations by aligning policy through regulatory and administrative instruments to operational delivery systems and procedures that hold stakeholders accountable by enshrining transparency in decision-making.
Working with NGOs, he has published and taught on value creation and retention through good governance, capacity development and local content and participation.
He is chairman of the Trinidad & Tobago Permanent Local Content Committee, which is charged with increasing the level of participation of Trinidad & Tobago individuals and firms in providing skills, goods and services to the petroleum sector and the transfer of knowledge and technology to locals. He has been a member of the advisory council of NRGI and its precursors (Revenue Watch Institute and Natural Resource Charter) since 2007, and is currently chair of the nominations committee of NRGI's board.
He has advised governments, companies, multilateral agencies and NGOs in several countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa, as well as Timor-Leste and Iraq.
He has worked with the Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of Energy as director of geology and geophysics; senior geophysicist at Petrotrin, Trinidad & Tobago’s national oil company; exploration and appraisal program manager at Amoco Trinidad and BP Trinidad & Tobago; resource manager for producing oil assets and sustainable developments manager for natural gas fields at BP Trinidad & Tobago; and e-business strategy consultant with BP.
He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in geology from Imperial College of Science & Technology, University of London, and an M.S. in geophysics from the University of Houston, Texas.
Magdalena Sepúlveda is the executive director of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. She is also member of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT) and the United Nations High Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda. From 2008 to 2014 she was the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. From 2013 to 2017 she was a member of the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). In 2015, she was recognized in the Global Tax 50, a list of individuals and organizations with the biggest impact on taxation worldwide.
Sepúlveda’s 25-year career has focused on the intersection of poverty, development and human rights, and has bridged research and policy formulation. She has worked as a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, as a staff attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, as the co-director of the Department of International Law and Human Rights of the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica and as a research director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy in Geneva. She has also served as a consultant to a range of international organizations including UNWomen, the World Bank Group, UNHCR, UNICEF, ILO and OHCHR. She has worked with numerous NGOs, including as a member of several boards of directors. She has published widely on human rights, fiscal policies, poverty, gender and development and has taught university courses in Latin America and the United Kingdom. She frequently writes op-ed columns and her pieces have been published in more than 30 countries.
Sepúlveda holds a Ph.D. in international law from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, an LL.M in human rights law from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom and a postgraduate diploma on comparative constitutional law from the Universidad Católica de Chile.
Formerly Interim Governing Board Chair
Smita Singh is currently the Chief Strategy Officer at Open Society Foundation. Previously, Singh was the founding director of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Global Development Program. Under her leadership, the program carried out extensive international grant-making and started several new initiatives, including the Think Tank Initiative, the Transparency and Accountability Initiative, and the Partnership for Quality Education in Developing Countries.
At the foundation, Singh also helped create the International Initiative in Impact Evaluation, a new international agency devoted to improving the measurement of results in development interventions. She also initiated the foundation’s efforts to reform development assistance policy and practices, which included seeding the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and the International Aid Transparency Initiative.
Singh has lived and worked in several countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A scholar at the Harvard Academy of International and Area Studies, her research interests focus on the comparative political economy of developing countries. She has also worked for the Commission on National and Community Service (now the Corporation for National Service), developing higher education initiatives and funding strategies for dispersing grants to community service and service-learning projects at over 200 colleges and universities. Before joining the commission, she worked at ABC News “Nightline” and, prior to that, with community-based women's organizations in India.
Singh was the interim NRGI governing board chair. Beyond NRGI, Singh sits on the governing boards of Oxfam America, Twaweza, the International Budget Partnership, and the Center for Global Development. She is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and serves on the U.S. President’s Global Development Council.
Zainab Usman is a senior fellow and director of the Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. Her fields of expertise include institutions, economic policy, energy policy, and emerging economies in Africa. Previously she was a public sector specialist at the World Bank where she worked on social sustainability, policy reforms, natural resources management, and disruptive technologies. She has worked on these issues in Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Congo, Serbia, Tanzania, and Uzbekistan. Zainab is the author of the book Economic Diversification in Nigeria: the Politics of Building a Post-Oil Economy, and co-editor of the book, The Future of Work in Africa: Harnessing the Potential of Digital Technologies for All. She also contributed to World Bank’s flagship report on Rethinking Power Sector Reforms in Developing Countries. Her written and broadcast commentary has appeared in Al-Jazeera English, BBC, Foreign Affairs, Project Syndicate, The Washington Post, among others. Zainab obtained her doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Oxford.
Charles Wanguhu is a Kenyan national and a human rights and governance practitioner. He is the founding coordinator of the Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas. At the platform he coordinates civil society to provide a collective voice on oil, gas and broader extractive issues. He is an analyst on oil and gas in the African continent and has written widely on the political economy of oil exploration and production in Kenya.
Wanguhu previously headed the programme department at the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG), a think tank with a focus on the structural causes of corruption. He currently sits on its board. Prior to joining AfriCOG he worked with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and the Danish Institute for Human rights (DIHR) in Copenhagen undertaking research on business and human rights. Wanguhu is an alumnus of the Draper Hills Fellow Program at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. He holds an LLM in international and commercial dispute resolution.
Natural Resource Charter Limited
The Natural Resource Charter Limited (NRCL) is a private company limited by guarantee and a charity organization registered in the United Kingdom since 2011. NRGI is the sole member of NRCL and the two entities are affiliated through a cooperation agreement.
NRCL’s board members are:
Meghna was the interim Asia-Pacific director at NRGI from March until September 2020 and oversaw work in the region and undertook research on China’s role in mineral supply chains. She worked at Amnesty International from 2007 to 2019 in a variety of roles, including the director of global thematic issues, deputy director for economic, social and cultural Rights, and senior researcher on corporate crimes. She has led major research projects on the human rights and environmental impacts of natural resource extraction and foreign investment in Myanmar, Indonesia, and India. She was the lead advisor on the organization’s work on economic, social and cultural rights for numerous years. Prior to joining Amnesty International, Meghna worked at the International Service for Human Rights, Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, World Organisation Against Torture, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, and Centre for Child and the Law at the National Law School. She has been a consultant for OHCHR and various NGOs and continues to work as a consultant for NGOs providing them with strategic or legal and policy advice. Meghna is also on the board of the Global Detention Project.
Meghna holds a BA LLB (Hons) degree from the National Law School of India University and BCL and MPhil in law degrees from the University of Oxford. She has taught at the University of Oxford, University of Essex, and National Law School of India University and classes at various other Universities.
Mark is chief executive officer of Oxford Policy Management, having joined OPM as chief economist in 2012. Before joining OPM, Mark was acting executive director of the International Growth Centre (IGC). He was head of macroeconomics at BP, and has previously worked in the African and Fiscal Affairs Departments of the International Monetary Fund, on Mali, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria and Egypt. Mark has also worked in Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Planning. Mark has a DPhil from the University of Oxford, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and a BSc from Bristol University. He is a research associate of the Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource-Rich Economies at the University of Oxford.
Natural Resource Governance Institute – Europe
The Natural Resource Governance Institute – Europe (NRGI EU) is a not-for-profit association registered in Belgium. NRGI EU is also governed by a General Assembly that consists of NRGI and NRCL as members. NRGI is affiliated with NRGI EU through a funding agreement.
The members of NRGI-EU’s board of directors are:
Paul Maassen is currently the chief, country support at the Open Government Partnership. The CCS leads on the implementation of the strategy for OGPs engagement with and strategic support of all OGP stakeholders at the national and local level. His team with staff in over 10 locations supports global efforts of open government champions, primarily of government and civil society, in using Open Government Partnership to further their objectives on transparency, accountability and participation. Before assuming this role Paul was responsible for overseeing the OGP support to civil society across the globe. Paul has a long track record in the role technology and media can play in changing people’s lives and the societies they live in.
Prior to joining OGP Paul worked as head of finance and partnerships for WWF International’s Global Climate & Energy Initiative, working primarily with WWF offices in emerging economies to strengthen the design and sustainability of their programs. Before joining WWF Paul worked for 7 years with Dutch development organization Hivos, as program manager for the global ICT and media program. This is where he learned the ropes of being a funder and got a deep understanding of the complexities of realizing change in developing and repressive countries. Paul strongly believes in the potential of individuals to make a difference if they set their mind to it and get the tools – including technology – to realize their potential. He was also involved in the establishment of the East African citizen agency initiative Twaweza. Paul attained private sector experience with Dutch telecom company KPN. He holds an MSc in industrial engineering and management. Paul is based in Brussels.
Prior to founding Resource Matters, she was an Open Society Fellow examining hydropower deals and related revenue flows in Congo. Before that, she lived for five years in Lubumbashi, the capital of the former Congolese province of Katanga, where she set up and managed the Carter Center’s Mining Governance Program. Elisabeth is also a part-time lecturer at Sciences Po (2015-present), where she teaches a class on mining, money and the law.
Elisabeth holds a master of law and a master in international relations from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, a human rights masters from the Académie Universitaire de Louvain and an LL.M. from Columbia Law School.
Prior to joining CDT, Iverna served as a senior advisor to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She led the work on protecting online civic space and human rights and technology more broadly for the European Regional Office. She was also the focal point on the rule of law and offered recommendations for the EU’s new rule of law mechanism.
Iverna previously served for seven years as the executive director and advocacy director for Europe at Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. Under her leadership, the office led and won a number of significant campaigns on human rights. On account of this human rights advocacy she was listed by Politico in 2017 as one of the most influential women on EU policy and law making. At the European Parliament in 2016, she accepted, on behalf of her team, the Sinti and Roma European Civil Rights Prize for the office’s groundbreaking work in strategic litigation under the EU’s Race Equality Directive. She also served as the organization’s international spokesperson on EU affairs.
Iverna has also worked at the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and, before embarking on a career in the public sector, headed up a team at the French IT, web infrastructure and services company Groupe Open.
Iverna is a previous board member of Transparency International’s EU Office. She was also elected by civil society peers in 2017 to the advisory panel of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. Iverna also founded her own consultancy which supports civil society leaders, and conducts human rights research and policy analysis.
Iverna holds a B.A. in European studies from Trinity College Dublin and an LL.M from Maastricht University’s School of European Law, where she was awarded a scholarship for having graduated as a top three percent scholar. She is a frequent commentator on human rights, EU foreign policy, and gender equality, and has contributed to pieces by Euronews, CNN, BBC, RTE and Reuters.