Sharing practice on environmental and social reporting.
On 27 June 2018, the day before the 40th EITI Board meeting, friends, supporters and Board members of the EITI International met in Berlin to participate in a series of side meetings.
First, German civil society invited colleagues from other countries to share experiences around the social and environmental impact of the EITI process. Participants included representatives from civil society in México, Nigeria, Philippines, Perú and Ukraine. The discussions touched upon topics such as rehabilitation costs and funds, environmental taxes and water levies. Attendees exchanged experiences on how the EITI process has or should have helped in addressing these and other environmental and social issues in their countries. Interesting experiences and approaches were shared, including the possibility of using rehabilitation funds to promote new economic activities or create strategic plans for development, the need to monitor the financial assurances provided for closure, and the importance of getting transparency down to sub-national level. There was a recognition of the progress made in the last years, with a growing number of implementing countries already covering social and environmental aspects in their EITI processes.
In the afternoon, around 30 representatives from supporting countries, donors and civil society organisations met for a roundtable on technical assistance requirements facing EITI countries. EITI Executive Director Jonas Moberg chaired the meeting and highlighted beneficial ownership and systematic disclosure as key issues for which significant further financial and technical support is needed if the EITI requirement on beneficial ownership transparency is to be met. A round of brief presentations followed, describing activities done or planned by different organisations. The International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), to be held at the end of next October in Denmark, may help to get some firm commitments. Participants from supporting countries and donors highlighted the links between the EITI and domestic resource mobilization. Attendees committed to sharing more details about the projects they were conducting.
Finally, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) hosted a meeting on “civil society and shrinking spaces”. NRGI made a presentation demonstrating that civil society voice increases accountability, curbs corruption and leads to countries improved value realisation and revenue management. Drawing on cases of former and current implementing countries, participants highlighted how crucial an enabling environment was for civil society to be fully and actively engaged.
Peter Eigen, founding chair of the EITI, shared his experience on multi-stakeholder governance to conclude the discussions. Professor Eigen has been a pioneer in fighting corruption worldwide. He highlighted the difficult and slow nature of multi-stakeholder governance, but emphasized how it holds the power to generate sustainable change.