The Board agreed on recommendations on systematic disclosures.
Board decision in full
The EITI Board agreed the following recommendations:
That by end 2018, all implementing countries are expected to develop a costed work plan for 2019 and onwards that includes steps to mainstream EITI implementation in company and government systems within 3-5 years, with the scope to seek a longer transitional period where needed. This approach acknowledges that the circumstances differ in each country, that not all countries will be able to transition to systematic disclosure at the same speed, and that the financial implications transitional schedule where needed.
To support this work, the guidance note on developing an EITI workplan be revised to put greater emphasis on systematic disclosure. This should include making clearer linkages to existing systems and reforms, such as reforms to public financial management, audit and assurance procedures, public consultation, and open government and e-governance initiatives. The Secretariat should also develop additional guidance materials demonstrating how the EITI requirements can be satisfied through systematic disclosure by governments and companies.
That the EITI Board calls on implementing countries, supporting countries and supporting organisations to support the development and implementation of these work plans, shifting the focus from financing EITI reports to supporting reforms to promote systematic disclosure. The funding provided to the transition phase would support feasibility studies and ensure that technical assistance and advice on EITI implementation focuses on opportunities for systematic disclosure. This provides an opportunity to address the significant funding constraints in many implementing countries, and to ensure that EITI implementation is financially sustainable.
That the guidance notes for prospective candidate countries (e.g., the guidance note on becoming an EITI candidate) are updated, emphasising disclosure through existing systems, and encouraging prospective candidate countries to identify potential barriers to systematic disclosures from the outset. The Board could consider making a mainstreaming feasibility study a requirement for all new candidate countries. This should include reviewing existing platforms for information disclosures, public consultation and dialogue, rather than creating standalone EITI reports and multi-stakeholder groups.
That awareness raising, training activities and the Terms of Reference for a mainstreaming feasibility studies are revised to give greater attention to the future role of the MSG and multi-stakeholder consultation more broadly, alongside the technical discussions regarding timely, comprehensive and reliable disclosures. This should include options for assessing outcomes and impact (requirement 7).
That the guidance note on the establishment and governance of multi-stakeholder groups is reviewed, highlighting the importance of the multi-stakeholder group in exploring options for mainstreaming. The guidance note should also highlight that implementing countries may consider opportunities for multi-stakeholder consultation and oversight to be integrated using existing representative bodies. This has the potential to increase stakeholder engagement, and make this participation more effective. Where proposals for mainstreamed implementation do not retain conventional MSG oversight, care should be taken to ensure that the alternative processes that are in place for multi-stakeholder consultation and dialogue encompass possibilities for shaping the scope and nature of extractives transparency and making recommendations for governance reform, and that all stakeholders have an opportunity to shape decisions, be heard and contribute. Where these conditions do not exist, requests to mainstream multi-stakeholder oversight would not be approved.
That the Board, through the Implementation Committee, agrees to undertake an independent review of EITI Reports prepared in accordance with the standard terms of reference for Independent Administrators. Building on the findings from the 2016 and 2017 Validations, this would include:
i. An assessment of Independent Administrators’ adherence to the standardised procedure;
ii. A review of the assurance procedures most commonly adopted by implementing countries, the time required and compliance costs;
iii. An independent assessment of the extent to which the work undertaken safeguards comprehensive and reliable data.
The consultant would also be invited to propose amendments to the procedure, and/or to propose cost-effective alternatives that would provide an equivalent level of assurance.
Subject to the findings of this review, the Implementation Committee will consider possible modifications to the standard terms of reference for Independent Administrators, reframing the procedure as a “standard terms of reference for EITI disclosures”, putting a greater emphasis on mainstreamed, integrated and systematic disclosure and public consultation. This could include clarifying the expectations for the timeliness of EITI data, i.e., that mainstreamed disclosures are expected to be published well in advance of the 2 year-rule.
That the guidance on EITI open data policies is revised to put a greater emphasis on open data policies and practices of the participating companies and government agencies. While it is important to ensure that the data in the EITI reports are more accessible, transition to integrated transparency will make it more important to ensure that there are open data policies and practices in the companies and government agencies that are the primary sources of data, and to consider actions to improve direct access.
That mainstreamed, integrated and systematic disclosure is a major focus of the 2019 EITI Global Conference and the EITI Chair Awards. In preparation for the Conference, the EITI Chair writes to the EITI Champion in every implementing country, urging the government to commit to mainstreaming and requesting that MSGs review and address mainstreaming opportunities in their forthcoming work plans.
That the Board tasks the Implementation Committee with considering whether the EITI Standard should be revised to modify or remove procedures and processes that become redundant with mainstreamed implementation. This would not alter the content of the EITI disclosure requirements, but would serve to simplify implementation of the EITI requirements and make sure that the EITI Standard is formulated in a way that better supports systematic disclosure.