The Board discussed the way forward on the final day of the Berne meeting.
On Thursday, the Board gathered for the second and final day of the Berne Board meeting. While deliberations on Validation and refining the Standard continued, Malawi was welcomed as the 49th candidate country.
Responding to new dynamics
One of the themes discussed by the Board was integrating transparency into governments and companies systems, which is one of the themes of the EITI Global Conference 2016. The Board recognises that many countries are publishing information required by the EITI through channels other than the EITI Report. Countries and companies are publishing data on websites and online portals, and the Board is looking at how the EITI could better recognise these disclosure efforts and avoid overlapping reporting.
The aim of mainstreaming is to ensure that timely and reliable information is available in an accessible format. The Board agreed to take forward a pilot on mainstreaming EITI disclosures in Timor Leste, and discussed options for ensuring that the EITI Standard enables disclosing information in innovative ways that fit the country context and existing mechanisms.
The fall in commodity prices has had an effect on the dynamics of the oil and mining industries. Both governments and industry are facing budget constraints. The demand for improved governance is even stronger than before, and mainstreaming transparency is one way to ensure data is made accessible in a cost-efficient manner.
Learning from the hosts
The upcoming Global Conference is an opportunity to share lessons learned from implementation and pave the way forward, but it also has a governance function. In connection with the Conference, the Members’ Meeting will appoint a new EITI Board and a Chair. The current Chair Rt Hon Clare Short, who is a former UK Secretary of State for International Development, was elected at the EITI Global Conference in 2011. She has served two terms as Chair of the International Board and has navigated the transition from the EITI Rules to the EITI Standard.
The Chair steers the EITI Board that takes decisions by consensus, which is a familiar approach to the hosting Swiss government. Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann noted to the crowd gathered in Berne that Switzerland did not have a federal government before Napoleon. Due to this heritage, all decisions in the government are taken by consensus. Clare Short quipped that being a multi-stakeholder standard, the EITI knows all about finding a consensus, at the national and international level. The next Board meeting to prepare for decisions to be taken in Lima, will be held in Kiev on 9-10 December. Before that the Board is set to form working groups to formulate recommendations on Validation, refinements to the Standard and EITI governance.
Country Officer Gisela Granado contributed to reporting on the final day of the Board meeting.