Transparency in the Extractive Industries
EITI++ Extends Oil And Mining Transparency Agenda
Publish What You Pay (London)
11 April 2008 Posted to the web 11 April 2008 Washington, DC
Publish What You Pay (PWYP), the global civil society coalition campaigning for transparency in the extractive industries, welcomes the World Bank’s effort to extend transparency in this sector beyond revenues through its new EITI++ initiative. EITI++ includes disclosure along the spectrum, from the licensing of concessions all the way to government spending. In order for this initiative to be credible, PWYP calls on the World Bank to implement it effectively across the globe and to meaningfully involve civil society throughout the entire process.
“We welcome the Bank's initiative to extend transparency in the oil, mining and gas sector beyond revenues to look at how concessions are awarded, contracts negotiated, and how the money is spent. Civil society has played a crucial role in shaping the EITI and we hope to play the same role in this new initiative because real change for the better depends on us using the information arising to hold governments and companies to account,” said Radhika Sarin, International Coordinator of the PWYP coalition. “The natural resource wealth of Guinea, if managed properly, is one of our best chances to lift our citizens out of poverty. We ask that the World Bank work with us as equal partners, and not limit itself to the government and companies. This hasn’t always been their strength in the past but we won’t accept anything less,” said Mamadou Taran Diallo, Coordinator of PWYP Guinea. The current focus of EITI++ is on Africa, with Guinea and Mauritania as the two pilot countries.
While the EITI is a good first step towards making public the flow of revenues from companies to government, it is not enough. “With the scramble for resources heating up across Africa and elsewhere, there is a pressing need for a more open and fair system for allocating oil and mining concessions, so that competition amongst Western and Asian companies doesn’t turn into a race to the bottom on corruption, human rights and the environment,” said Gavin Hayman, Campaigns Director of Global Witness.
PWYP would like to see this initiative move beyond just Africa and outside of just the World Bank to help define global standards of natural resource governance that all countries and extractive companies could endorse and apply. PWYP also hopes the World Bank will draw on existing best practice in this area, such as the IMF Guide on Resource Revenue Transparency.
For this initiative to have impact on the ground, genuine civil society involvement is necessary at both the international and the country levels. This can be achieved by building on the multi-stakeholder principle of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which sets a minimum global standard for the reporting of oil, gas and mining revenues.
The stated goal of EITI++ is to promote the use of natural resource revenues for development, and this can only happen if civil society is able to influence its own governments to manage these resources in the best possible way. But in some countries it is downright dangerous for citizens to challenge governments about how revenues from oil, gas and mining are spent. “The World Bank has an important role to play in protecting these activists and promoting their ability to work without fear or intimidation,” said Karin Lissakers, Executive Director of the Revenue Watch Institute.
“If EITI++ results in a more joined-up effort by the international community to promote and support this goal, we look forward to a constructive engagement on how to take things forward for all our benefit,” she added.
Publish What You Pay is an international coalition of over 300 NGOs calling for the mandatory disclosure of the payments made by oil, gas and mining companies to all governments for the extraction of natural resources and the resulting revenues earned by resource-rich country governments. The coalition also calls for the disclosure of licensing arrangements and extractive industry contracts.
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