The Board approved measures relating to reporting deadlines and extensions requests.
Board decision in full
Recognising the profound challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the EITI Board has agreed a range of measures to provide flexibility in EITI implementation. The Board’s hope is that multi-stakeholder groups (MSGs) that have been only moderately impacted will implement the “flexible measures” outlined below, which focus on ensuring that EITI implementation is safely contributing to global and national efforts to respond to the pandemic while upholding the EITI’s commitment to transparency, accountability and multi-stakeholder dialogue. Recognising that this may not be feasible for all MSGs, especially those that have been severely impacted, the Board has agreed an approach on exceptional circumstances.
Through this Board decision, the EITI is introducing flexible measures for EITI Reports published in 2020, where data collection and dissemination is feasible without posing health risks and subject to MSG endorsement. This is intended to ensure that disclosures are more timely and can help inform ongoing discussions on measures to address the impact of the interrelated factors of the COVID-19 pandemic, oil price shocks, and the global economic downturn on the extractive industries. Implementing countries may deviate from the standard procedure for EITI reporting including reconciliation (Requirement 4.9.b) for reports published by 31 December 2020, by disclosing the following information in their reporting.
- Information on sector developments and industry outlook for 2020 and beyond in light of COVID-19 and the oil price/economic downturns. This information should help facilitate evolving stakeholder efforts to undertake sound policy decisions and informed public debate. Such information could include information on changes in licensing and contract negotiations or terms, adjustments to fiscal regimes, incentives or relief requested by or given to companies, effects on exploration or development plans, impact on production, exports and employment (including resulting from movement restrictions and cross-border quarantines), changes in state participation and policies for state-owned enterprises, revisions to revenue and budget projections, shifts in sector-specific borrowing, restrictions on civic space, exceptional uses of sovereign wealth funds, and other issues as agreed by MSGs;
- Unilateral disclosures by government and/or companies in accordance with EITI Requirements 2-6 (with the exception of Requirement 4.9.b);
- Disclosures of production, export and revenue data covering year 2018 and to the extent possible 2019. Some countries may be able to provide information for early 2020;
- A complete overview of the disclosed data (for instance by using the EITI’s summary data template); and
- An assessment by the MSG of the comprehensiveness and reliability of the disclosed data, identifying any gaps or weaknesses in reporting. Where necessary, the MSG should discuss what additional work is needed to address concerns about the comprehensiveness and reliability of the disclosed data. This could include seeking additional information from reporting entities, or undertaking a comprehensive report in line with the EITI Standard for any reporting years that were subject to flexible reporting once circumstances permit.
The decision by the MSG to proceed with this approach to reporting should be clearly documented and shared with the International Secretariat in advance of commencing the reporting process. The Secretariat will document the approaches agreed by MSGs on a continuous basis as part of its monitoring of impact of Covid-19 on implementing countries.
Multi-stakeholder oversight is a central feature of EITI implementation. Under the current circumstances, convening MSGs may be challenging. Where national secretariats and MSG chairs have taken reasonable steps to seek MSG comments and approval, the Board will take this into account when assessing whether the MSG approved key decisions relating to the EITI process. ‘Reasonable steps’ by the MSG chairs could include circulating documents in sufficient time prior to meetings or conference calls, reaching out to MSG members by phone or online, providing sufficient time for MSG members to provide input to draft documents and requesting confirmation from MSG members from each constituency to approve decisions.
The Board also agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an “exceptional circumstance” for all EITI member countries. In accordance with Article 7, section 4 of the EITI Standard, MSG-endorsed reporting extension requests submitted by 1 November 2020 will be granted by the Board. The EITI Board will meet in October and review this approach and consider whether to amend or extend the measures, taking into account further developments in EITI implementing countries.