Making the EITI more meaningful, relevant, used and reliable remains a key challenge - in many countries. In mid-April, key international stakeholders met over a series of meetings in the Congos to explore how the process can be used better to strengthen government and company systems, to better inform public debate and to build trust.
The main meeting was the Board meeting in Brazzaville on 14-15 April and looked at these long-term strategic issues as well as on-going country challenges and governance arrangements. A number of other meetings, including training events, discussion of artisanal and small-scale mining, national EITI structures, national oil companies, and technical assistance, also took place in Brazzaville, Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, bringing together hundreds of people from over 50 countries.
See also: Announcing the EITI Week in the Congos
Day 1: EITI Board members spread across three cities prior to to beginning of the Board meeting on 14 April. A delegation of Board members, including its Chair Clare Short, travelled around Lubumbashi. National coordinators and communications officers from EITI secretariats in 12 Francophone countries met for a first day of training in Kinshasa. Civil society representatives from around the world met all day in Brazzaville.
Day 2: The EITI is implemented in 48 countries. In some of those it is at the heart of informing and discussing reforms. In other countries it is less relevant. The Board members and other stakeholders debated how the EITI can be designed to encourage processes that more meaningfully strengthen government and company systems, inform public debate and build trust.
"We need to make sure that reports actually address and speak to the reforms that are required in the sector" said the Nigerian EITI Executive Secretary, Zainab Ahmed. Having considered the feedback from implementing countries, Board members reviewed the progress with implementing the Standard and discussed the future of the EITI in the next three to five years.
Day 3 was highlighted with a detailed discussion around the statuses of a number of implementing countries, including Azerbaijan. As noted by the Chair of the Board: "There has been some progress in addressing our concerns, but further work is needed to ensure that civil society in Azerbaijan can participate in the EITI in a meaningful way. We look forward to continuing to work together."
Day 4: 17 African countries attended a workshop on how the EITI process can help good governance in the artisinal and small scale mining sector co-hosted by the World Bank, the Government of the DR Congo and the EITI International Secretariat, with a view to create more guidance.
Meanwhile, the students at the Congo Protestant University wanted to know how much oil and minerals are exploited and how much is left in the DR Congo. They asked how they could better understand the numbers in the EITI Report and what is the impact of the EITI was for the people of our country. Hosted by Rector Prof. Mgr. Ngoy-Boliya, some 300 students including members of the DYJET EITI-CLUB filled the auditorium to the brink, eager to present their thoughts and questions.
Apart from the meeting with students, Board members and National Coordinators were invited to observe a meeting of the Executive Committee of EITI DRC to discuss the their 2015-2017 workplan, new communications strategy and the scope fo the 2013 EITI Report - due to be published in two months.
Day 5: The final day of the EITI Week was marked with the closing of the National Coordinators meeting in Kinshasa. Concerns around data reliability, governance of the implementation process, and understading and documenting the impact of the EITI on wider reforms were discussed.
The EITI International Secretariat would like to thank all persons involved in organising this week and making it a success.