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Transparency at the core in Davos

“Working on corruption and illegal financial flows is vital to reach the global goals in the future.”

- Erna Solberg at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos

The EITI International Secretariat’s headquarters are located in Oslo because many people consider Norway a global leader on governance of the extractive industries. The Prime Minister of Norway, the world’s richest (per capita) oil producing country, Erna Solberg, went to this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos pointing at two issues at the core of the EITI’s work that threaten human development and global stability: corruption and illegal financial flows. She said that both issues are linked to the whole range of security threats we face today, such as climate change, terror, organised crime, cyber-crime and many more.

This year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, subtitled “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, is number 48 in the Forum’s history. It aims to “rededicate leaders from all walks of life to developing a shared narrative to improve the state of the world”. An ambitious goal indeed, but achievable if transparency is taken seriously by global leaders.

There are global challenges emerging that relate to growing inequality and civil unrest. Corruption is a common denominator and limits economic, social, environmental and political development.

Voter dissatisfaction has been a common theme for years, amplified by events such as the Panama and Paradise Papers and other corruption scandals. When people feel out of touch with their leaders, it is often because decisions are being made behind closed doors. A key element in making the world more united is bringing decision-making processes into the light and giving power back to citizens. Information is power. When ordinary citizens don’t know what deals are made, between whom and where, the social contract between leaders and citizens can begin to weaken. Davos was established to address such challenges.

Ensuring citizens’ power over the governance of natural resources also lies at the core of the EITI’s mission. By implementing the EITI Standard, companies and governments are held accountable for their actions. EITI reporting is inspiring reforms and aids citizens worldwide in their work to hold leaders accountable. Through this and other efforts, transparency is becoming an expectation, not an aspiration. Let’s hope the discussions in Davos lead to more commitments and more importantly, to more action.

Photo: Thomas Haugersveen/Prime Minister's office