Bringing the EITI closer to citizens

How transparency can enable a culture of dialogue and trust.

After almost a decade of countries disclosing revenue information, in many cases for the first time, we have come to learn that the EITI is also a tool for creating a culture of dialogue, improvement and trust in the management of the resources from a country’s extractive industry.

Last week, representatives from Peru, Colombia, United States, Guatemala, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago concluded in a regional gathering that the EITI could, if used efficiently, build trust and enable dialogue at all levels. Here are a few examples of how the EITI can be used as a tool to contribute to bring information on the management of their resources closer to the people.

United States: follow the money

The US-EITI has developed a data portal with information on the federal natural resources. Features include fiscal income figures from the federal oil, gas, coal and other resources, contextual information on how the sector is managed, and the possibility to download datasets for research purposes. . Beyond being regarded as an innovative IT platform, the real value of the US-EITI data portal is that it has been built on the basis of what the public want and need to know. By building the design of the data portal from a user centred perspective, the US-EITI can ensure that a larger number of groups are included in a national debate as well as strengthening government systems.

Trinidad and Tobago: Engaging youth

In most countries, natural resources are national property. In Trinidad and Tobago, the EITI (TTEITI) established a Youth Advisory Committee in 2012 with the mandate “…to generate [a] national conversation among the youth about the management of their patrimony…”.  In their work with youth, TTEITI focus on the 3Ps: create public awareness, exchange views on policy and establish partnerships so that a network for debate can bring about ideas on how to manage these national resources. By engaging with youth, TTETI builds intergenerational knowledge on the challenges and opportunities related to the efficient management of the extractive sector.

Peru: Working with partners and harnessing opportunities

In Peru nearly half of the national income from the sector is transferred to the regional and municipal governments according to a legally mandated formula. To bring EITI closer to the people, EITI-Peru has implemented regional projects in Piura and Moquegua. The project replicates the multi-stakeholder structure at the regional level and produces its own local EITI Report.

Additionally, EITI-Peru collaborates with a number of local programmes through a partnership called “Alianza para la Transparencia”. One of them is the Initiative MIM “Mejorando la Inversión Municipal” that promotes good municipal governance. MIM and EITI work together through a network of local leaders that provide feedback to municipal authorities on the public management of the use of the revenues transferred from the central government to the region, as part of the allocation from the extractive industries. By collaborating with other programmes, EITI-Peru harnesses the opportunities to give local leaders a voice on the governance of their resources.

More examples to come

With Honduras and Colombia as relatively new members of the EITI (having joined as candidates in 2013 and 2014 respectively) we are looking forward to more country-specific examples of bringing transparency closer to citizens. Just as the reasons for signing up for the EITI are unique to every country, so is their way of making transparency a tool for building trust.