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Three things to look out for at the 2019 EITI Global Conference

Three things to look out for at the 2019 EITI Global Conference

Over the past 12 years, the EITI has grown from an initiative of 12 countries to an established global norm for improving extractives governance worldwide. The 2019 EITI Global Conference’s central theme "Open Data, Build Trust" embodies how we envision this creative international partnership to evolve over the coming decade. Three elements underpin this theme and shape the dynamic and comprehensive agenda of our upcoming Conference.

1. Open data as the norm

We are living in an era of open government and increasing digitisation, with vast amounts of data coming online and into the public domain. Open data increasingly lies at the heart of how EITI collects and shares information about revenue flows in the oil, gas and mining sectors. We are moving away from EITI Reports as the principal way of capturing EITI disclosures and increasingly embracing open data as the norm. This is consistent with global agendas such as Open Ownership, which has already published information on the ownership of 4.5 million companies through its online portal, and the Open Contracting Partnership, which aims to "open up the black box of government contracting" by publishing contracts in open data format.

Open data facilitates the accelerated shift to systematic disclosure, or mainstreaming, of extractives data through government and company systems. Most EITI countries are quickly moving in this direction and away from parallel reporting. Mainstreaming through open data improves availability, timeliness and cost-effectiveness of data disclosures, and responds to the growing demand for accessible and usable information from citizens.

Sessions to look out for:

2. Building trust as the bedrock

Increasing openness and data accessibility builds trust. A perceived lack of progress in tackling corruption, tax evasion and illicit financial flows associated with the extractives sector is contributing to the rise of populism and economic nationalism. The impact of oil, gas and mining industries is often a focal point of public concern and a potent source of conflict. At a time when trust in government is under strain around the world and politics are becoming increasingly polarised, building trust is important as ever.

As we move toward strengthening institutional frameworks and making data more open, usable, and available through the EITI, we can restore and reinforce trust in institutions. We believe that the multi-stakeholder approach that lies at the heart of the EITI process is vitally important for encouraging healthy, balanced debate and the pursuit of mutually-agreed, collectively-designed solutions to complex problems.

Sessions to look out for:

3. Demonstrating relevance for the global agenda

The 2019 Global Conference marks a critical juncture in the EITI’s evolution. As a global initiative, we are expected to demonstrate the relevance of extractives transparency. This perspective is now more strongly reflected in the 2019 EITI Standard, with fresh commitments on gender and environment that speak to larger global agendas captured in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The impact of EITI is also reflected in its contribution to wider governance outcomes. There is an opportunity to demonstrate how the EITI can help highlight corruption risks and contribute to potential solutions, through the growing emphasis on beneficial ownership transparency and with contract transparency becoming a requirement in the 2019 Standard. EITI provides a critical resource for domestic resource mobilisation by helping governments harness and maximise the value of tax receipts from the extractive industries.

Sessions to look out for:

The Global Conference offers a vehicle for articulating and sharing these themes and aspirations. Partners from governments, companies and civil society organisations are leading events and contributing to a rich variety of plenary sessions. EITI members from our three constituencies will be confirming the appointment of a new Chair and international Board, who will in turn oversee implementation of the 2019 Standard in our 52 countries. The International Secretariat stands ready to support implementation and strengthen our collective capacity to deliver on the promise of these exciting new themes in the coming years.


Mark Robinson