Blog Posts

Around the holidays here in Norway, members of the staff will be sharing their stories and thoughts from their work at the EITI Secretariat. First out is Francisco Paris, Regional Director for Latin America, Caribbean, and Anglophone West Africa.

We have a saying in Latin America, del plato a la boca se derrama la sopa. It is a play on words which loosely translated means, from the bowl to the mouth the soup gets spilled.

Dear all, 

The EITI Blog opened in 2008 and EITI stakeholders and staff have contributed regularly with perspectives on the EITI as well as wider transparency issues. The quality has been high, and it has initiated discussions and has become a repository of different views on important topics. We have generally been staying away from chatting contributions about everyday work life at the EITI, and we intend to keep it this way. 

In his remarks at the launch of the Open Government Partnership in New York on 20 September 2011, Francis Maude, UK Minister for the Cabinet Office and Member of Parliament began with a quote from Victor Hugo: “You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come.” The Minister went on to suggest that “transparency is a powerful idea whose time has come”. I couldn’t agree more.

The EITI owes much of its development to civil society. In fact, the EITI as we know it today would not exist without civil society's concerted advocacy for extractive companies to publish their payments to host governments. Today, over 400 civil society organisations participate in the governance and implementation of the EITI in 35 resource rich countries around the world.

A NECESSARY INGREDIENT OF THE EITI PROCESS

The Arab Spring – now turned summer – represents an enormous opportunity for EITI and transparency more generally across the region. In Egypt and Tunisia, where I spent much of the first half of the year, calls for an end to corruption led the slogans chanted by peaceful protesters against the regimes of Zainuddine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. In Libya, you can hardly pass half an hour without people telling you they live in the richest country but are the poorest people.

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the EITI assessment that has been sparked by the ScanTeam report. I see the ScanTeam report has a very constructive and useful element of the strategic review that the board had before it. There are some 50 observations and conclusions at the end of Chapters 3 – 6. All of which deserve careful consideration. The vast majority of these I would support.

However, I am moved at this stage to comment on the following four topics.

Was the 5th EITI Global Conference in Paris just another huge, expensive and time-consuming development conference? To me, the answer was a resounding no, for three main reasons:

There was unprecedented interest in the conference partly due to its backdrop - uprisings in North Africa demanding more accountability in government; the recent debate about transparency caused not least by the wikileaks debate;

The first Tanzania EITI reconciliation report is out since 8 February 2011. It is first time Tanzanians get this golden opportunity; peeping inside story of erstwhile Government- extractive industries companies exclusive top secret. Opacity in extractive industries dealings in Tanzania is legal, backed up by existing policies and legislations, while confirmed by Mining Development Agreements (MDAs) and Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) seals. When it started, two years ago,

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