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EITI week in Dakar: Highlights of the Board meeting

The EITI Board members and around 100 stakeholders gathered in Dakar for the 41st EITI Board meeting, ahead of 250 participants attending the three-day Opening Up Ownership: Africa conference on beneficial ownership, co-hosted by the EITI and the Government of Senegal.

Senegal – new resource-rich country on the block 

“In Senegal, the EITI is viewed as an efficient political instrument to ensure transparency in the management of extractive industry revenues”, said Mankeur Ndiaye, President of EITI National Committee in his welcoming remarks to the Board.

“EITI has enabled us to better understand the real contribution of the sector to our national economy, as well the impact it has had on public finances and local development. Senegal’s mining code has been revised and the Constitution modified to integrate principles and requirements of transparency.”

On Tuesday, representatives from government, companies and civil society organisations met for a high-level roundtable on transparency and governance of Senegal’s oil and gas sector. Aïssatou Sophie Gladima, Minister of Mines and Geology, outlined the efforts engaged by the Government of Senegal to strengthen the legal framework in the oil and gas sector, including in revenue redistribution, local content, and beneficial ownership transparency.

“Oil discovery in Senegal represents an opportunity and a challenge,” said EITI Chair Fredrik Reinfeldt.

“Senegal could become a supplier of energy to its neighbouring countries and become a stabilising force in the region. But oil discovery is also a challenge, because it will put new pressure on relatively new and fragile institutions. High expectations from the citizens and the temptations associated with the oil industry mean that Senegal’s institutions will be tested like never before.”

In their interventions, participants including Dominic Emery of BP, Isabel Munilla of Oxfam and Colombia’s Vice-Minister of Mines Carolina Rojas, highlighted the importance of contract and beneficial ownership transparency, maintaining a close collaboration with civil society, establishing public trust in the oil and gas sector, and managing expectations in the process of developing discoveries offshore Senegal.

“You don’t become immediately rich when you discover oil and gas,” said Geraud Moussarie, BP’s country manager for Senegal. “You win a lot of work.”

Road to EITI Global Conference in Paris 

EITI Board member Oleksiy Orlovsky announced that the next EITI Board meeting would be hosted by the Government of Ukraine in Kiev in February 2019. France’s Special Representative for Corporate Social Responsibility Geneviève Jean-Van Rossum announced that the French Government would be hosting the EITI’s 2019 Global Conference in Paris, in the lead up to the G7 Summit that will take place in August 2019 in Biarritz. The EITI holds its Global Conference every three years. To date, there have been seven conferences, the last of which was in Lima in 2016. 

“These triennial events are not only good for refreshing ideas, renewing the Board and bringing stakeholders together, it catalyses action,” EITI’s Acting Executive Director Eddie Rich told Board members.

“These conferences are a clear opportunity to raise the profile of the EITI in its implementing countries and to reach out to wider audiences. Ministers and others come to the Conference with new commitments, proof of impact, and go back re-energised that the EITI is key to their reforms and efforts.”

Papua New Guinea makes meaningful progress

During the run-through of the status on Validations of implementing countries, the Board decided that Papua New Guinea (PNG) had made meaningful progress in implementing the EITI Standard. The Board recognised PNG’s efforts in implementing reforms to address weaknesses in government systems and in improving the level of transparency on state participation in the country’s extractive industries. 

Other Board matters

The EITI Standard will need to be revised in 2019 in the light of emerging lessons from Validation and implementation. The Board invited a consultation on the process. It will draw on the lessons from two other pieces of pilot work being undertaken – opening up state-owned companies and transparency in commodity trading by the state. The Board agreed its plans for 2019 including additional country implementation support and activities on policy areas such as beneficial ownership, contract transparency, project-level reporting. The Board finished with a discussion on the nomination of the next EITI Chair, who will be appointed ahead of the Global Conference in Paris next year.