As you can read on the following pages, the EITI is generating interest from parts of the world that have been difficult to reach in the past. It was pleasing to see senior participants from 15 countries in Latin America gather in Lima to discuss EITI implementation when just over a year ago, there was only one implementing country in the whole region. While inaugurating the conference, President Ollanta Humala of Peru highlighted to the other countries how increased transparency was key to building trust and cementing the foundations for sustainable development in his country. We have also seen recent progress in South East Asia, with Myanmar and the Philippines having committed to implement the EITI. Tunisia has become the first “Arab Spring” country to commit to implement, alongside the lifting of Yemen’s suspension of implementation. The Solomon Islands is welcomed as our first Oceania implementing country.
A total of 31 EITI implementing countries have now published one or more reports, and a total of 134 reports have been published. Not only are these reports improving in data quality, the coverage is wider, and the debate that is generated is deeper. Nigeria has just undertaken a review of its ten years of EITI reporting which highlights at least $9 billion increase in government revenue from the sector since EITI reporting. While it is hard to know how much of this vast sum in increased revenue can be explained by the EITI, reforms requiring support are having some impact. The Mozambican report includes a survey on whether companies would be willing to disclose their tax agreements and an increasing number of reports includes data on volumes of production. Mining companies in Mongolia disclose environmental rehabilitation deposits paid to the government and real expenses. These flows are included in the EITI report as a means of making companies accountable for how they manage the environmental aspects of mining. Several countries suffering from ongoing or recent conflicts have also made progress with EITI implementation, again often as part of wider reform efforts. Afghanistan has published its first EITI report, DR Congo its third, and Iraq and Guinea are going through validation. Cote d’Ivoire and Madagascar are due to publish their next reports shortly.
Whilst I find it encouraging to see the EITI being used as a platform for these discussions, there is surely still more to do to encourage and recognise countries that go beyond the minimum, and to link these discussions with other debates on public expenditure, licensing, contracts, tax regimes, and other wider aspects of natural resource management as set out in initiatives like the Natural Resource Charter. At its meeting in Lima in June, the Board focused on how the EITI standard can and ought to evolve. We made good progress in reaching agreement on the need to improve some of the EITI minimum requirements, particularly ensuring that the data in EITI reports is reliable, and on making the EITI more of a platform for a range of efforts seeking to ensure improved governance in the sector. The Board’s strategy working group will develop concrete policy proposals for the Board to consider when it meets in October in Zambia