Looking out through my office window here in Oslo, I see the security measures going up around the Nobel Peace Centre and the Town Hall ahead of the ceremonies honouring President Obama. Just opposite the City Hall, Greenpeace has moored one of their ships, getting ready for some campaigning and with a reminder on one of their banners to the President that the next stop is Copenhagen. With the COP15 summit starting in Copenhagen,
Historically, the natural resources of the poorest countries have often been plundered. The few have expropriated the many, and the present has expropriated the future. Harnessing natural resources for the sustained benefit of ordinary citizens requires that an entire chain of decisions, from the discovery process through to the use of revenues, be got right not just once but repeatedly.
<p><strong>The last few weeks I have been working on a project for the EITI Secretariat. The project has been to create a first draft of a "Social Media Strategy" for the EITI, helping the Secretariat begin their journey into the world of hyper-communication and user generated content. This is my summary.</strong></p>
<h4 style="font-weight: 800;">The World of Social Media</h4>
George Soros has recently reminded us in a lecture published in the FT of the ubiquitous nature of the “principal-agent” problem. We can perhaps go one step backward to the core phenomenon that is behind the “agency” problem: asymmetric information. People or organisations do not have the same information about something: doctors know infinite more about medicine than patients; a plumber knows better than a desperate house owner about the cast to repair a busted pipe;
Dr Peter Eigen, Chairman of the EITI and founder of Transparency International, was interviewed by Jonathan Charles on the BBC news programme HARDtalk. He spoke about what has happened in the combat against corruption of the past years, and about how the EITI can reduce corruption in the extractive sector by improving disclosing of payments and bringing government, companies and civil society to the table.
On 5 October we at the EITI International Secretariat together with the Norwegian government’s Oil for Development (OfD), hosted a briefing for Norway based EITI partners and other interested parties. The briefing titled "Improving extractive industries governance" started off with updates from the EITI and OfD, outlining their progress. Farouk al-Kasim, the Iraqi-Norwegian geologist who played a crucial role in the early days of Norway’s oil, was a featured speaker.
With 22 of the 30 countries around the world having to go through the EITI quality assurance mechanism, Validation, by March 2010, it is tremendously encouraging to hear about implementation in full swing in so many countries. We at the International Secretariat often get questions about why the EITI doesn’t cover things like contract transparency or require company-by-company reporting or improved transparency about how governments spend their money.
By Negbalee Warner, Head of the LEITI Secretariat, and Eddie Rich, Deputy Head of the EITI International Secretariat.
Liberia's natural resource wealth has long been at the centre of the country's conflicts and tumultuous history, as well as the root of much of its corruption. Despite an abundance of iron ore, diamonds, gold, timber and rubber, Liberia was for fourteen years ravaged by a civil war that devastated the nation and brought it near the bottom of the UN's Human Development Index.
In a recent Standard Life Investments publication I discuss how the EITI contributes to a better investment climate. With the growing importance of commodity stocks and the move by extractives companies to source production in countries with higher risk profiles, the EITI's role has become increasingly important.
The EITI reporting process lays the foundation for increasing revenue transparency in the extractive sectors. Understanding how much money is flowing into the government from the extractives sector and what the difference is between what the companies say that they pay and what the government says they receive, is the key first step in better management of those resources. Every country implementing the EITI must produce EITI Reports.