UK EITI Champion, Jo Swinson, welcomes collaboration between industry and civil society as EITI gets underway

Jo Swinson, the UK’s EITI Champion and Business Minister, talks about what the group hopes to achieve.

On 9 October the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills hosted the first meeting of the UK Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) multi-stakeholder group (MSG). Jo Swinson, the UK’s EITI Champion and Business Minister, talks to us about what the group hopes to achieve over the coming months.

I was delighted to open the first meeting of the EITI multi-stakeholder group last week. Earlier this year the Prime Minister announced that the UK would sign up to the EITI. The EITI is a global initiative dedicated to ensuring the transparency of payments made to governments from companies extracting a country’s natural resources. I hope that by becoming EITI compliant the UK will set an example to resource-rich countries that transparency is essential.

Each year, international oil, gas, forestry and mining companies pay billions to the governments of resource-rich countries. This income should be used to build schools and hospitals, lay roads, train teachers and create jobs, but all too often the 3.5 billion people who live in resource-rich countries fail to see any improvements in their quality of life. This is why greater transparency is so crucial. Only when this information is made available to local people will they be in a position to know how their country’s resources are being used, whether their money is going missing and if they are really getting a good deal from their government.

The MSG is made up of industry, civil society and Government representatives who plan to meet every two months to make sure the UK becomes EITI compliant. Engaging civil society and industry is one of the most important steps for government to follow to become EITI compliant. This group is vital in making key decisions concerning the implementation of EITI. That is why I was so pleased to hear the determination of both industry and civil society to work collaboratively with one another alongside Government to ensure an effective implementation that fulfils the criteria of the new EITI Standard.

This was the first of many MSG meetings which will play a crucial part in shaping the implementation of this global initiative. I will continue to champion the UK’s EITI commitments and look forward to working with our partners to be in a position to apply for candidacy at the end of 2014.

The members of the MSG are:

  • Jo Swinson - Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs- EITI Champion
    Marie-Anne Mackenzie - Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS)

Industry

  • Dr Patrick Foster- Camborne School of Mines- University of Exeter
  • Andrew Enever- Shell
  • Stephen Blythe – BP
  • Michael Barron - BG Group

Civil Society

  • Miles Litvinoff- Publish What You Pay
  • Eric Joyce MP
  • Gavin Hayman – Global Witness
  • Rachel Davies – Transparency International UK

Government

  • Mike Earp - Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
  • Alan Tume - HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • David Ritchie - Scottish Government
  • Sandra Blake-Johnson - Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)