Yemen was in the news again today. When the country’s delegation got the news that that the EITI Board declared their country one of the six newest ‘EITI Compliant’ countries—indeed the first EITI Compliant country in the deeply troubled Middle East—they were ebullient. The Board’s decision means Yemen joins the “EITI elite”, the 11 of 35 implementing countries which have now met all the criteria for the global standard for transparency in their respective oil, gas and mining sectors.
The opening plenary session of the 2011 EITI Conference in Paris featured Richard Boucher, the Deputy Secretary General, OECD, Her Excellency Roza Otunbayeva, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Christophe de Margerie, CEO, Total, Peter Voser, CEO, Shell, Bishop Louis Portella-Mbuyu, President, National Bishops Conference of Congo-Brazzaville and Simon Taylor, the founding Director of Global Witness. The highlights from the presentations were as follows.
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.
The four biggest stories over the past year have arguably been:
The global economic downturn – caused by borrowing, commodity price speculation and rising demand from emerging economies;The Deepwater Horizon oil spill – changing the dialogue about government-company responsibility;Wikileaks – shifting the boundaries of government transparency;Popular uprisings in several Arab countries – and the rising demand for accountablity based on increased information;
The EITI is often described as a voluntary initiative. Some imply by this that it is somehow toothless. I am sure that the companies operating in EITI implementing countries find the EITI mandatory indeed.
The EITI is implemented by governments. And of course it is voluntary for governments to implement the EITI. Governments are sovereign and exercise the right to engage or not with any process.
Yr.no is one of Norway’s most visited website. It provides information about the weather and, as if we didn’t know it already, it reveals that it has rained for 11 of the last 14 days here in Oslo. Over lunch I end up in a discussion if weather is better here or in England and I return to the net to search for statistics to prove my point. Finding information about the weather in Norway and England is easy, finding data that can be easily compared is harder.
By John Strongman, Mining Adviser at the Oil, Gas, Mining and Chemicals Department, World Bank
Why should we be concerned about extractive industries (EI) and gender? Experience at the World Bank has identified what we call the extractive industries (EI) gender bias. For local communities, the bulk of the benefits are employment and income – which go primarily to men. Typically 80-90% of the employment at a mining site or oil/gas production area goes to men. In contrast, most of the negative,
“East outmanoeuvres west over Africa” was the heading of a contribution by Patrick Smith, the longstanding editor of Africa Confidential, to a series in the Financial Times on the competition between East and West (FT 2 June 2010). If it is true that companies from in particular China are gaining an upper hand in the race to control Africa’s oil and minerals, does it come at a price with a race to the bottom of standards? There are reasons to believe why this is not the case.
By Daniel Litvin and Brenda Won
The EITI is in a crucial phase of its development. A few months ago the deadline passed for twenty-two EITI ‘candidate countries’ to complete an EITI validation, which evaluates compliance with the initiative. Only two countries successfully did so. Since then, 16 countries have been granted extensions, while two were ejected from the list of candidate countries. Opinion among observers is now divided.
The EITI crossed an important milestone last week: 9 March was the deadline for the first 22 countries that became EITI Candidates in 2008 to complete an independent EITI Validation, the EITI’s quality assurance mechanism.
EITI Validation is an opportunity for countries to prove to their citizens and to the world that they have lived up to their pledges in fulfilling the EITI standards. Only two countries – Azerbaijan and Liberia - met the deadline.