The EITI third regional conference in the Americas marks a new era for EITI in the region.
The second half of the EITI week in the Americas made it clear that implementation of EITI in the region is gathering pace. The warm-up period is over and countries are now debating how to best use the Standard as a tool to address specific issues important to society and the industry itself. In the words of the Peruvian Minister of Energy and Mines Rosa María Ortiz, “With the recent publication of the EITI Report, published by our country for the tenth financial year, we are well positioned to use the EITI process to enable us to address the different challenges posed by the industry in Peru.”
The regional conference, which was organised with the support of German Cooperation (GIZ), the World Bank and the Latin American Energy Organization (Olade), was an opportunity for the countries already implementing the EITI to share ideas and new tools that are helping them to deal with problems that affect the sector. It was also an opportunity for other countries - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guyana, Mexico and the Dominican Republic- to learn more about the EITI and the ways EITI implementation could help improving the governance of the sector in their countries. Dominican Republic, Guyana and Mexico are committed to become EITI members. Mexico in particular is taking concrete steps to implement the EITI. According to Mexico’s Energy Undersecretary Lourdes Melgar, “Mexico is making preparations and intends to submit its candidacy to the EITI Board in time for the EITI Global Conference in February 2016.”
The hottest topic among the participants was undoubtedly the use of the EITI in addressing environmental issues. The participation of a delegation from Mongolia was particularly useful in exchanging ideas and experiences in this area, as EITI Mongolia has been a pioneer in using EITI reports to disclose information on compliance with environmental regulations. One session was dedicated to exchange of experiences regarding the use and visualization of data, with practical examples from Guatemala, Peru, the United States of America and the Inter-American Development Bank.
The participants all agreed that the era in which EITI Reports served mainly to publish company payments to the government was a thing of the past. José Ugaz, President of the Transparency International Board challenged participants in his morning session, “Transparency, yes, but what next?”, insisting that information generated must be used for a specific purpose if it is going to be useful. Marcel Ausburger from Smart Citizen Foundation, Chile, added “We created a marvellous portal; nobody used it. We made apps that brought information closer to the people; nobody used these either. We started to use the information ourselves with a purpose and here, finally, did we start to see concrete changes.”
Read more about the regional conference on Peru’s government website (in Spanish).