Gaining a better understanding of how the EITI is implemented and contributes to meaningful outcomes is one of the EITI’s key priorities, and is vital for strengthening the EITI’s sustainability and relevance. A recent independent evaluation of the EITI validated some of the core premises of EITI implementation and highlighted the importance of national relevance to catalyse the EITI’s sustainability, effectiveness and impact in implementing countries.
Launched in December 2021 and led by the Voconiq-Square Circle consortium, the evaluation involved a collaborative design, rigorous analysis, and a consultative and open approach that took into account the diversity of national circumstances, objectives and stakeholder perspectives and expectations.
How was the evaluation conducted?
The evaluation drew on various qualitative and quantitative methods, including country case studies, policy case studies, a desk review and a global survey to capture views from all stakeholders involved in the EITI. The evaluation adopted an open approach, consulting broadly with stakeholders both on the design and implementation of the evaluation, and posting preliminary reports and raw data for access and review by the wider community.
What did the evaluation find?
One of the key findings of the evaluation was the inherent value of the EITI’s multi-stakeholder model to national governance of the extractive industries. The study identified strong support and ownership for the EITI among national stakeholders, and found that the organisation’s relevance at the national level is a critical factor shaping the effectiveness, sustainability and impact of EITI implementation. The evaluation was focused on four key questions:
1. Is the EITI effective?
Yes. Though there are significant challenges in many countries, EITI implementation generally contributes to increased transparency, civic space and participation, and accountability in government, companies and civil society. Increased transparency is associated with EITI activities related to stakeholder engagement and dialogue; tax and revenue disclosure; contract transparency; beneficial ownership disclosure; strengthening audit authorities; sharing of data between government agencies and enabling digitalisation; and improving company compliance. National stakeholders consider the EITI Board and International Secretariat to be effective and responsive in how they operate.
2. Are EITI policies and interventions relevant?
Mostly. The relevance of the EITI varies of across implementing countries, and is strengthened by stable political environments, policy and legislative contexts that align with the EITI, as well as institutional capacity to support digitalisation. Some stakeholders challenged the relevance of newer provisions of the EITI Standard, though views on this were varied and contested. The potential relevance of the EITI at the subnational level is not disputed, but this potential is often unrealised due to resourcing challenges and a lack of participation mechanisms.
3. What impact does the EITI contribute to (intended and unintended)?
The study found that the EITI strengthens transparency and accountability in implementing countries by producing data on the extractive sector and making it more accessible. Increased civic participation and awareness of the extractive sector’s activities and revenues were also identified as significant impacts. Stakeholders generally associate transparency, accountability and participation outcomes to broader governance impacts, including influencing policy and regulatory reform. However, improvements to broader extractives governance were not consistently reported across all countries that were selected for the study. Outside of government, the evaluation found less evidence of positive impacts related to whether the EITI influences extractive companies in terms of how they operate and engage with government and civil society.
4. Are EITI interventions sustainable?
Mostly. The sustainability of the EITI depends on multiple factors, including national ownership, which was generally strong across the case study countries. The sustainability of the EITI also depends on the extent to which EITI reporting is embedded in institutional processes and systems; its integration with other governance initiatives; and the adequacy and consistency of funding. In the case study countries, earmarked national budget allocation was considered to be the most sustainable funding model for the EITI. However, regardless of the funding mechanism, total EITI funding is often not sufficient to cover all activities in EITI work plans, and can often fluctuate from year to year. These funding challenges affect some implementing countries’ ability to meet the newer provisions of the EITI Standard.
The EITI International Secretariat is working closely with the EITI Board and national stakeholders to build and learn from the evaluation findings. In particular, it is following up on the evaluation’s four key recommendations:
- Introducing a modular approach to implementation of the EITI Standard
- Making the EITI “real” at the subnational and local levels
- Reinvesting in the multi-stakeholder model
- Measuring what matters
In addition, the EITI is providing support to multi-stakeholder groups on embedding monitoring, evaluation and learning approach in their work planning. Moving forward, the EITI will build on the results of the evaluation to understand how it can continue maintain its relevance and strengthen its impact in the face of an evolving global energy landscape.