Shifting focus from the what to the how

How the EITI will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals

Before joining EITI, I worked on the UN intergovernmental negotiations on post-2015 development agenda, or what is better known today as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for both the Norwegian government and the United Nations. The SDGs are comprehensive and cover 17 different issues such as poverty eradication, good governance, improving tax systems, fighting corruption and developing accountable and transparent institutions just to mention a few.

These are all areas in which EITI has much to offer. In fact, EITI has already made major progress in making governments more open and accountable and has a track record of tangible results across over 50 resource-rich countries. EITI’s own mission is aligned with many of the targets set out in the SDGs and its multi-stakeholder governance approach and data focus predates the approach of the 2030 Agenda.

The practical knowledge of EITI can be a powerful mechanism for deepening commitment to sustainable development when the world now has shifted focus from the what to the how or from rhetoric to reality.

Fill two needs with one deed
- achieving the EITI Standard and SDGs together

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an international standard to promote open and accountable management of natural resources. By encouraging governments, extractive companies, civil society and the public to engage in discourse around transparency of the extractives sector, it aims to facilitate the management of a country’s natural resource wealth to benefit all its citizens.

Since its inception, EITI implementing countries have published EITI Reports covering more than 300 fiscal years. The EITI Reports though have never been the end goal but rather tools for informing public debate, recommending reforms and identifying weaknesses in government systems. These can then help to build accountable and transparent institutions (SDG Goal 16.6), widen the political space for stakeholder participation (SDG Goal 16.7), improve tax systems (SDG Goal 17.1) and  increase the availability timely and reliable data (SDG Goal 17.18).

As a result, many implementing countries have acted on recommendations that have emerged from EITI reporting and made important contributions to policy reform and change as well as towards the SDGs. As there are considerable complementary objectives between the EITI and the SDGs, implementation of EITI may contribute to several of the SDG goals and targets.

In fact, new analysis concludes that there is much greater alignment between the extractives sector and the new development agenda than we may realise. A recent report launched by the World Economic Forum, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment and the United Nations Development Programme illustrates the potential contribution of the mining sector to all 17 SDGs.

EITI has hit the ground running

The clock to SDG attainment started ticking January last year. The roadmap for humanity’s development is both ambitious and comprehensive. Some critics might even call much of the expansive SDG agenda simple rhetoric backed by no real policy or implementation plans. While this may be true for parts of the agenda, I’m happy to report that for EITI the work towards sustainability has already begun. Many of these achievements and impacts will be highlighted in EITI’s next progress report in a couple of months. Stay tuned for more updates on how EITI is contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.

For more information about how EITI is contributing to the SDGs, please see our publication on eiti.org.