In this session, EITI Chair 2016-2019 Fredrik Reinfeldt presented the 2019 EITI Standard, the EITI Progress Report 2019 and the 2019 EITI Chair Awards. Members from each of the constituencies on the EITI Board discussed what the EITI has achieved since stakeholders last met in Lima in 2016 and shared stories behind these achievements.
The session opened with the launch of the new EITI video. EITI Chair 2016-2019 Fredrik Reinfeldt then announced the EITI Chair Awards, recognising countries that have shown leadership, determination and resourcefulness in implementing the EITI. These were awarded to Armenia, Colombia and Zambia. The session proceeded with a speaker panel, including Olga Bielkova from the Government of Ukraine, Dominic Emery of BP and Ana Carolina Gonzalez of Colombia civil society.
Fredrik Reinfeldt officially launched the 2019 EITI Progress Report. This report is the EITI’s annual overview of the progress to improve transparency and governance of natural resources in the 52 EITI countries around the world. It highlights progress on beneficial ownership, contract transparency, project-level reporting, and commodity trading.
This session also saw the official launch of the 2019 EITI Standard, which represents the single largest achievement of the outgoing EITI Board. This edition of the Standard focuses more on systematic disclosure of extractives data as a default rather than EITI reports. It also contains new requirements on contract transparency, the environment and gender.
From a government perspective, Olga Bielkova commented that the EITI as a tool for reformers, affirming that the EITI has led to improved tax collection systems, stronger institutions, better debate and important reforms. In Ukraine, the requirements of the EITI helped to persuade parliament of the need for new legislation regarding the transparency on licence allocations, contracts, payments, as well as helping establish the world’s first public, national beneficial ownership register. She noted the Board’s achievements in adopting the 2019 EITI Standard and establishing requirements such as beneficial ownership, contract transparency and project-level reporting.
From an industry perspective, Dominic Emery addressed what has changed for companies over the past three years. He reminded the audience that the EU Transparency Directive and Canadian ESTMA were born out of EITI’s focus on revenue transparency, and that there is now a deeper focus in compliance departments on understanding who companies are doing business with. The EITI’s focus on beneficial ownership transparency has catalysed this part of our due diligence and will help provide that information at no cost to companies. The environment for contract transparency has also transformed in the past few years; the EITI has driven a change in the way the oil and gas companies have approached this more and more as transparency as the default. The EITI has established itself as a trusted forum for that essential discussion.
Finally, from a civil society perspective, Ana Carolina Gonzalez addressed what civil society sees as the main challenges of the sector going ahead. By harnessing the energy of the multi-stakeholder process, civil society has increasingly been able to focus on what the data tells us and less on simply collecting the data. The EITI can help inform the debates on corruption, energy transition and gender. Nonethless, challenges in protecting and empowering civic space remain.