Day 1 of the EITI Board meeting in Oslo
EITI stakeholders have good reasons to be proud of the achievements of the EITI.
At the international level, debates on transparency in the sector are unrecognisable from ten years ago, and the EITI is seen as being at the forefront of many frontier debates including beneficial ownership, commodity trading and artisanal and small-scale mining. The implementation of the 2016 EITI Standard that is currently being tested through the Validation process has helped to identify emerging opportunities and some outstanding challenges.
EITI Board members and around 50 stakeholders gathered to discuss issues such as:
- How to mainstream the EITI - integrating EITI Requirements into automated and timely governmental systems. The Board discussed what a mainstreamed EITI model could look like and what the role of a multi-stakeholder group in such a sitution would be. Norway is exploring this model and the case was discussed with national stakeholders.
- Whether all EITI Requirements are to be applied in all implementing countries - the current Validation system applies four levels of progress and implementing countries stand on different rungs of a ladder. Some countries with small and emerging sectors are keen to use the EITI to develop their sector, but the small volume of production does not justify the costs of full implementation. The Board discussed what might be the most appropriate way for the EITI to engage with such countries to add value and be relevant to countries without adding costs.
- How the civil society requirements should be applied - civil society needs to be protected and an EITI process may not deliver on the objective of creating public debate and accountability in countries where fundamental human rights are not enjoyed. The Board explored whether there should be flexibility in applying the requirements on civil society space for different countries.
- How to better link to the global anti-corruption agenda - in a separate roundtable, the Board recognised the progress in implementing the requirement on beneficial ownership disclosure. Transparency around who owns and controls oil, gas and mining companies makes the EITI’s contribution to fighting corruption and tax evasion more meaningful. While the progress in the EITI implementing countries varies, most of the countries have started amending their legal frameworks to introduce a provision on beneficial ownership. Countries like the UK and Ukraine have already established public beneficial ownership registers. Cameroon, Ghana, Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago are planning to do the same. Others like Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, the Philippines and Sierra Leone are mapping and scoping what needs to be done to ensure future disclosure.
Coordinating support for tangible results
Alongside with the Board meeting, some key donors and partners of the EITI, including the World Bank, NRGI, Publish What You Pay, US, Australia, Canada, France, Netherlands, Sweden and Finland, gathered to discuss how to better coordinate their efforts at the national and international levels.