Many reasons. It’s rewarding to be a part of a global initiative which has achieved so much in a short time - 33 implementing countries with a total population of 880 million (and aiming for at least a billion by the end of this year). All Board members have the privilege of working as a coalition team, consistently reaching consensus - often after tough debate - between Governments, Civil society and Industry. And it is enjoyable to work alongside dedicated people from widely differing organisations and cultures, both on the Board and in the sessions of the sub committees, where much of the hard pounding takes place.
But we always need to ask what all this work is achieving (particularly when terabytes of Board papers hit the in-box...) EITI has established itself as a global standard. Sharpness of focus and clarity of remit, according it greater success than other global initiatives. Quite simply, EITI provides a route to improving governance by the public reconciliation of payments made by Industry and revenues received by Governments. A two way compact, voluntarily entered into by producer Governments, but mandatory for all extractive companies in the implementing countries, thereby ensuring that there is no competitive disadvantage. It is then up to others to use this public information to best effect.
Membership of the Board has given me a privileged overview of EITI’s development. Devising the original rules to combine a clear framework, with the flexibility to respond to local circumstance in implementing countries. Establishing the independent Secretariat in Oslo - which sets an example of effective, low cost management. The satisfaction of seeing an increasing number of countries move through the process to achieve validation. Using lessons learned – and increased understanding between the constituencies – to revise and improve the rules. We also now welcome a new Chair.
So what next? Persuade more countries of the benefits of joining EITI - particularly in Asia; Latin America and the OECD. Provide a smooth transition to the adoption of the revised rules. Oversee the continuing validation of implementing countries, giving all possible help to those facing capacity problems and encouraging them to stay the course. Then to respond to the new world of post validation to ensure EITI’s continuing validity and vibrancy”.
Stuart Brooks has been Policy coordinator with Chevron since 2002, responsible for international risk analysis and coordination of public policy. He has served as Member of the EITI Board since 2009. Based in London. Previously a member of the UK Diplomatic Service with postings in Brazil, Portugal; Russia; Sweden and Austria. Educated at Cambridge University. Married with two children.