Springtime in Oslo

The Board meets to discuss bids to join EITI from Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and the US.

Next week we will host the 26th meeting of the international EITI Board here in Oslo.

The Board will review the candidature applications from Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and the United States, and decide whether or not the countries will be admitted as EITI Candidate countries. Each of these countries bring challenging questions to the Board’s table.

The United States is applying for EITI implementation on federal lands, with an adapted approach for engaging producing states in the EITI process. Papua New Guinea’s application comes at a critical time as a significant LNG project is set to begin production later this year. Their long and difficult history with mining will likely require an EITI process that engages landowners as well as affected communities in order to be meaningful. As some of you will know, there has also been an intensive debate about Ethiopia’s candidature application concerning the question of the environment for civil society participation. It will be good that the Board gathers around the table and to have a proper discussion.

Other issues that the Board will discuss include a pilot project on reporting of beneficial ownership. Twelve EITI countries have signed up to the pilot and will disclose the identity of the real owners behind the extractive companies operating in their countries. The Terms of Reference of this project are now available.

The Board will also hold a session on “Understanding mining economics” and there is a great number of side meetings. All constituencies are holding their own meetings, many committees are getting together, there is a roundtable about coordination of technical assistance and training, and a meeting of the Management Committee of the World Bank EITI Multi-donor trust fund. Statoil’s CEO Helge Lund is also hosting a reception for the Board and others interested in natural resource governance.

We are again reminded that the EITI Secretariat here in Oslo is part of a cluster of organisations such as the Norwegian government’s Oil for Development programme, Statoil, independent consultants and lawyers, who all benefit from each other’s knowledge, experience and networks.

At the International Secretariat we have also been busy since the last Board meeting: we have hosted and contributed to training events around the world - last week in Dar es Salaam, fielded questions from hundreds of interested stakeholders, and developed a series of guidance notes addressing key elements of the EITI Standard. More will follow.  As always, we welcome your feedback on how we can make our support more effective.

The EITI family continues to grow, not only in number of countries implementing the EITI, reports that are being produced and information that is becoming available, but also in numbers of people working on the EITI. Some 400 people now work full time around the world with EITI implementation, another 800 serve on EITI national commissions, and we had over 160 000 unique vists to our website in 2013.

Here at the Secretariat, we too are growing and we are recruiting to replace a couple of staff members that have or are moving on. Gisela Granado, currently with the EITI in Trinidad and Tobago, will join us as country manager. Pablo Valverde, the Secretariat’s first employee returns as a country manager after a number of years at the Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund Global. Sam Tokpah, the current EITI National Coordinator and Secretariat head in Liberia, will take up his role as regional director. We hope that a couple more will join the staff in the coming months. We really look forward to welcoming them to Oslo. It will help us serve all of our stakeholders serving citizens around the world even better.

 

Photo of Oslo from Shutterstock.