NRGI online course: Natural Resources for Sustainable Development

By Natural Resources Governance Institute on August 15, 2021

The second edition of the free massive open online course (MOOC) Natural Resources for Sustainable Development: The Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mining Governance will start on 12 September and run for 12 weeks.

The course is a collaborative effort of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, the Natural Resource Governance Institute and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), with support from the World Bank. It covers a range of topics including the challenges and opportunities that come with extractive industries, key political economy considerations, legal frameworks, tax policy, environmental issues, community rights, artisanal mining, economic linkages to the wider economy, and the management and investment of revenues for sustainable development. Each week, students will have access to an hour of recorded video lectures, led by a diverse faculty of world-class experts and practitioners, including Sir Paul Collier and Jeffrey Sachs. In addition to the lectures, students will have access to key background readings for review, online forums for engaging with other students and with course experts, quizzes to consolidate learning, and opportunities to ask questions of experts in live Q&A sessions.

Course Summary

Natural Resources for Sustainable Development: The Fundamentals of Oil, Gas, and Mining Governance, a joint course by the Natural Resource Governance Institute, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, and the World Bank, gives students an understanding of the key challenges and opportunities that come with managing extractive industry investments for sustainable development.

When managed prudently, oil, gas, and mining investments and the vast revenues they generate can sustain development efforts and make a lasting positive impact on the life of citizens. However, without proper policies, frameworks, and oversight, these same investments have the potential to destabilize public financial management systems, bring negative environmental and social impacts, and increase the risk of corruption.

This course, which is offered twice a year, builds knowledge to make the most of oil, gas, and minerals, while mitigating the risks that these industries bring. It outlines the various complex and interrelated aspects of natural resource governance, including: understanding the governance and industry fundamentals; developing and implementing robust and transparent legal frameworks; designing fiscal regimes to capture a fair share of the revenues; managing environmental risks; engaging with communities; leveraging investments for infrastructure and business linkages; and managing revenues for economic diversification and development, among others.

By joining this course, you are also becoming part of a global movement of citizens and practitioners committed to harnessing the transformational impacts of these resources. The success of the course depends on an active student base that represents a diversity of experiences, geographies, and perspectives.

Add your voice to the global discussion by registering today!

Course Structure & Requirements

The course is structured around a series of pre-recorded lectures, readings, quizzes, and discussion forums. These course components can be completed at a time that is convenient for the students, and most quizzes and timed activities are given a two-week window for completion. The material for each week is made available each Monday, and once the material has been opened, it remains open for the duration of the course. There are no written assignments for this course.

In addition to the recorded lectures, readings, and quizzes, the instructors and select visiting experts will hold several real-time discussions on Google Hangouts so that students can ask questions and engage directly with the instructors and leading practitioners working in this field. The exact dates of these discussions will be announced early in the course.

The estimated time commitment to complete all course components is 4-6 hours per week, though this depends heavily on the student and his/her objectives in taking the course.

Students who successfully complete the course will receive a digital certificate of completion, signed by the course organizers. In order to successfully complete the course, students must score an average of 70% or higher on the quizzes and final exam, all of which are multiple choice. Students who score 85% or higher will receive certificates of completion with distinction. While this course is not credit granting, we encourage students to work with their own institutions to explore the option of granting credit for online coursework.

If you have any additional questions on the course structure or requirements, please email the SDSN Education Initiatives Team at For technical questions about the platform, please email,

This information was orginally posted here.