This session focused on how opening data and building trust can ensure that EITI countries harness their natural resources for inclusive development and concluded by highlighting the key takeaways from the Global Conference. The Rt Hon. Helen Clark also presented her vision, priorities and objectives as Chair of the EITI.
Closing remarks by the Rt Hon. Helen Clark, EITI Chair:
"I am honoured to be confirmed as the new Board Chair of the EITI. It is an important and fascinating role, one that speaks closely to my experience as former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from 2009-2017.
Transparency runs through my veins. During my two terms at UNDP, I was committed to making it a highly transparent, efficient and accountable organization that could respond to a more volatile world while maintaining its long-term focus on human and sustainable development. The independent organisation Publish What You Fund ranked UNDP as the most transparent aid agency in the world in its Aid Transparency Index in 2014 and 2016, though UNDP was pipped to the post by the Asian Development Bank in the latest 2018 index.
I continue to pursue a personal commitment to greater transparency in my current roles. For example, I serve as one of six international Ambassadors of the Open Government Partnership, the Washington-based OGP not-for-profit movement launched in 2011. We are responsible for raising the Partnership’s profile, protecting OGP credibility and promoting its sustainability. The EITI intends to work more closely with OGP in the years ahead to leverage the mutual value of our two global partnerships and I look forward to playing a role in helping make that happen.
My commitment to transparency explains the immense attraction of chairing the EITI Board. Let me highlight three ways this plays out in practice.
First, the EITI has successfully established transparency as a global norm in the extractive industries, building trust and accountability through its multi-stakeholder model, providing a unique platform for dialogue among governments, civil society and companies.
The impact of the EITI stems from the way countries have leveraged this platform to improve governance, resulting in direct and indirect benefits to citizens, the owners of extractives resources. Each national multi-stakeholder group (MSG) works directly with stakeholders to identify the implementation model that is best suited to their context. This epitomizes the spirit of SDG Goal 17.16, namely to enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources.
Second, I believe the 2019 EITI Standard represents a further evolution in transparency. The focus is on making disclosure and open data a routine part of government and corporate reporting is what we call mainstreaming, by providing information to stakeholders in a timeframe and format that can support its widespread use in analysis and decision making. As we heard in this Conference, this will become the norm guiding our future work and country implementation.
The implementation of the revised 2019 EITI Standard will enable new and deeper insights into extractive sector governance. These are potentially far-reaching. Five key areas addressed in the 2019 Standard are: contract transparency, project level reporting, revenues from the sale of commodities by state-owned enterprises, environmental payments, and gender.
Reporting requirements on the environment are included in the 2019 EITI Standard, building on work undertaken in at least 28 countries on environmental reporting prior to 2017. The revised EITI Standard encourages the disclosure of information relating to environmental monitoring and covers material environmental payments by companies. This is an important and exciting development for the EITI, one that will further enhance our credibility as a global partnership that recognizes the importance of environmental information in deepening extractives transparency.
Gender equity has to be a fundamental part of our work on extractives transparency. I am especially pleased that the new Standard incorporates commitments on gender for the first time, encouraging countries to diversity their multi-stakeholder groups and promoting the use and dissemination of gender disaggregated data. This is an important breakthrough for the EITI and the International Secretariat will be producing guidance to help put these commitments into effect over the coming months.
Third, the EITI International Secretariat works to ensure that disclosure standards are adopted at the national level in a manner that reflects national challenges. The EITI’s role in raising expectations for extractives governance is critical. Stronger institutions and more open and efficient markets reduce the scope for corruption and can help mobilise domestic resources for development. We addressed the importance of these issues for EITI in our panel sessions over the past two days and these issues are intrinsic to the achievement of SDG Goal 16.
Transparency and institutional strengthening are critical to achieving both the UN Sustainable Development Goals and meeting global climate commitments as outlined in the Paris Agreement. These issues are close to my heart and I am passionate about the importance of highlighting EITI’s contribution to the global agenda. As we go forward in charting a course for the next three years, I am confident that we can demonstrate the wider impact of EITI on governance and development outcomes while retaining its focus on extractives governance.
Let me close our Conference by thanking my fellow panelists. I want to convey my sincere appreciation to the Government of France for co-hosting the Conference and very much hope that our deliberations and conclusions will feed into the priorities of the French G20 Presidency. I also want to acknowledge the OECD for laying on its excellent conference facilities and supporting a several sessions, thereby helping to strengthen the foundations of our partnership.
Let me also thank the sponsors of this event: the Governments of Canada, France, Germany and United Kingdom, and BP, Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil. Freeport McMoRan, Glencore, Kosmos, Orano, Rio Tinto, Shell, Total and Tullow.
I want to thank all the speakers throughout these three days. You have set out important commitments and challenges that I want the Board to reflect upon.
On a more prosaic note, I want to thank the interpreters. I also want to acknowledge the efforts of staff in the International Secretariat who have laboured long and hard to make this event such a success. And, of course, let me thank you for participating actively and fully throughout the two days. I sense that I am not just a Chair of a Board, part have a role within a wider movement.
And finally, the Board looks forward to gathering in Addis Ababa in October where the Government of Ethiopia has kindly offered to host. Let me wish you all a safe journey home. Bon voyage!"