An online interactive reference that allows users to explore the opportunities in the EITI Standard.
A year ago the EITI Board convened on the same snowy Oslo mountaintop where it is currently meeting to tackle what then seemed like a nearly insurmountable task: agreeing on a new set of EITI requirements that would be more relevant to countries’ extractive sector governance challenges. On nearly every subject there were divergent opinions and negotiations were intense. On more than one occasion the discussions became so polarizing that different constituencies considered giving up on the whole EITI process. But people didn’t give up. And the end result was the new EITI Standard; though far from a perfect instrument, the standard represents a meaningful opportunity for the EITI to gather more relevant information that can inform public debate and improve policy making. Now it’s time to start getting down to the business of putting this tool to work.
It became clear to us at the Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) that the new standard warranted new approaches to training and technical assistance. The scope was simply too broad and the stakeholder priorities too varied to encompass in a briefing or a deck of slides. Today, we launch the RWI Guide to the EITI Standard, an online interactive reference that allows users to explore the opportunities in the EITI Standard through the lens of seven policy areas. These policy areas are based on the extractive industries decision chain and reflect some of the governance challenges most frequently raised by stakeholders. The guide also covers two process areas: civil society participation and multi-stakeholder group governance.
The guide, produced with support from the EITI Multi-Donor Trust Fund, teaches users how the EITI links to their concerns and how to develop disclosure methods that generate information of maximum value to national reform and oversight processes. A government official charged with implementing the EITI can use the tool to spark ideas about how to report on tricky areas, like state-owned companies. An NGO concerned about the discretionary allocation of licenses can examine what the EITI says on this key question and review examples of how other countries have dealt with disclosures on this issue. A company asked to provide more detailed information about its payments can learn what the Standard says about project-level reporting.
For each policy and process area, the guide provides:
- An overview of associated governance challenges
- A summary of the required and encouraged disclosures in the EITI Standard
- RWI’s recommendations on how to undertake each disclosure in a way that reflects best practice and generates user-friendly and policy-relevant information
- Country examples that illustrate how disclosures have previously been made and highlight those that do it best
- Additional resources related to the policy area and/or disclosure
The guide can serve as a resource for stakeholders as they:
- Develop the national policy objectives outlined in EITI work plans.
- Consider what information to collect, from whom, and in what format.
- Review reconciler terms of reference and reporting templates.
- Draft annual activity reports.
- Make policy recommendations based on analysis of EITI data.
The guide is accompanied by a facilitation manual that presents RWI’s training methodology on the new standard. The manual includes learning objectives, detailed session designs, readings and group exercises. An “all-in-one” presentation is linked to the guide and explains when and how the slides can be used. Our EITI training methodology is designed to be interactive and exploratory, enabling participants to develop their capacities on the most relevant policy issues. Presentations are kept to a minimum, in favor of letting participants apply tools and conduct their own analysis, prioritization and action planning. The manual provides options for adapting trainings to be responsive to participant interests and policy priorities.
We plan to make the guide available in French and at least one other language. Users with low internet connectivity can download an interactive version of the guide that can be used offline. Most importantly, as experience with implementing the EITI Standard grows and as we receive feedback, the guide will be updated to reflect new knowledge and best practices.
It is in this spirit of experimentation, consultation and evolution that we launch this new guide. EITI represents a space where diverse actors gather to tackle difficult challenges. As more than 40 countries begin implementing the new Standard, we hope that the guide can play a small role in ensuring that these changes generate more meaningful reporting and public debate.
Erica Westenberg is the EITI policy officer at the Revenue Watch Institute.