Year End Message from Jonas Moberg

 

It has been over a decade since the EITI Principles were agreed, and while the Principles still provide the cornerstone of the EITI, many changes have since taken place in both scope and size. With the adoption of the EITI Standard in 2013, the EITI evolved from a narrow revenue reconciliation exercise to one covering many elements of the natural resource value chain including license information, beneficial ownership, the arrangements of state-owned companies, social payments, and payments to subnational levels of government. The challenge now is to put the information and data to use to ensure more understanding of the sector, a better informed and enabled debate about its governance, less corruption, more trust, strengthened government and company record keeping, and a more attractive investment climate.

The impact of the EITI is reaching a growing number of countries. Forty-eight countries, of which 31 are compliant with the EITI Requirements, are now implementing the EITI. Colombia, Myanmar, the United Kingdom and the United States are among the countries having joined in 2014. The EITI can be applied in many different situations and we now have 48 different reasons for implementing, 48 different models, 1 Standard. The annual activity reports, required for the first time this year, give concrete examples of the efforts undertaken to meet and/or maintain compliance with the EITI Requirements and document the impact of the EITI in each implementing country.

Myanmar is using the EITI process as a forum for its massive reforms in the sector including disclosing beneficial ownership, exploring contract transparency and sovereign wealth funds.  Peru is using EITI reporting to account for the over 50% of revenue that goes directly to the states. Deepening the knowledge about how oil money is spent is a priority for the EITI in Nigeria. A recent audit into the allocation of spending of extractives resources was conducted to track how the revenues from the extractive sector were allotted, where they were transferred, and how they were utilised by the federal, state, and local governments.

Despite 48 different EITI processes, common themes emerge for all implementing countries to focus on. One example is beneficial ownership. Eleven countries are taking part in a pilot project and will disclose the identity of the real owners behind the extractive companies operating in their countries. The objective is to assess the feasibility of requiring beneficial ownership disclosure through the EITI, including reviewing existing disclosure practices in implementing countries participating in the pilot and identifying suitable approaches for disclosure. Other countries have expressed an interest and are undertaking work on beneficial ownership outside the scope of the pilot.

The EITI is increasingly becoming a forum where governments, companies, and civil society meet to agree a common agenda for better governance of natural resources. Over 1000 people together form 48 EITI national coalitions and the international EITI Board, and nearly 350 people around the world work in EITI secretariats, implementing the EITI on a daily basis. Ninety-one companies involved in oil, gas and mining are supporting the EITI at the international level with eight companies having pledged their support in 2014. A new protocol for civil society outlining the expectations for civil society to be able to participate in EITI processes has been agreed by the EITI Board. 

It has been a busy end of year for us in the International Secretariat as 27 countries have reporting deadlines of December 2014. This is the first time many countries are publishing an EITI Report in accordance with the EITI Standard. One of our aims is to provide countries with sound guidance for their reports and the implementation process. We have been working together with partners to provide further guidance on how countries can produce EITI Reports with comparable data. For example, in collaboration with the IMF, we are working to improve the consistency of the reporting of government revenues.

As we head into 2015, I anticipate a busy year for the EITI. The key priorities for next year, as detailed in the EITI International Secretariat’s 2015 workplan and budget are: (1) building on experience and best practice, encouraging good implementation of the EITI Standard and supporting countries to move from transparency to accountability to informed public debate; (2) strengthening the EITI as a global standard with strategic positioning, outreach, network development and data interoperability; (3) ongoing lean management and strong governance. The new year will bring an increased number of implementing countries and supporting companies, and more efforts in these countries to strengthen data systems, inform public debate, and build trust.

Best wishes for 2015 from us at the EITI International Secretariat.