Five years ago, the idea of holding a major international meeting about the transparent governance of natural resources through a multistakeholder process in Myanmar would have been unthinkable. I must express my deepest gratitude to the Government of Myanmar for hosting this week of meetings.
I am proud that - unlike many conferences held in whatever the latest reform country - this Myanmar EITI week, including the EITI Board, has serious substance. Today the Board discussed the challenges of 46 implementing countries, as well as many outreach countries including Australia, Germany, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, and Russia.
Making the EITI work in countries facing crises was a particular theme - Ebola in West Africa, major violence and political crisis in Iraq, Afghanistan, Central African Republic and Yemen. This is a major challenge requiring a number of tools and mechanisms. The Board recognised that crises were in the nature of the challenge of natural resource governance - it's partly why the EITI exists. The alternative of only working in countries not facing crises would fail to rise to the challenge. The Standard provides for a mix of responses in different types of crises, such as extensions, suspensions, and delisting. So far, it was concluded that these tools have been used nimbly and robustly. It has been remarkable to see how processes continue in these troubling environments, often with the critical assistance of the World Bank administered Multi-donor Trust Fund.
The Board discussed implementation in Azerbaijan. No decision was taken today, but is likely to be taken tomorrow. The decision will then be communicated on this website. Progress towards a consensus was made on how to improve the situation on the ground and to uphold EITI’s international currency. Being here in Naypyidaw enables us to continue to make progress in the more informal atmosphere of an evening meal and reception.