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Validation Committee meeting, Monday 26 March 2018

Publisher
EITI
March 2018

Validation Committee meeting Monday 26 march 2018 - teleconference

  1. Agenda
  2. Minutes (including attendance overview)
  3. Documents

1. Agenda

1. Confirmation of agenda, including observers and recusal 

2. Minutes

3. Validation of Cameroon

4. Validation of Senegal

5. Validation of Togo

6. Updates on the Validations of Madagascar and Ukraine

7. Committee work plan and update on 2017 & 2018 Validations.

8. Any other business

2. Minutes (including attendance overview)

Validation Committee members: Mark Pearson, Gubad Ibadoglu, Caesar Gamboa, Laura Logan, Didier Kokou Agbemadon, Alan McLean, Jim Miller.

Apologies from Brice Mackosso.

From the Secretariat: Sam Bartlett, Bady Baldé, Indra Thévoz, Brynjar Wiersholm, Dylan Gélard, Gisela Granado, Eddie Rich, Alex Gordy.

 

Committee members opened the meeting by asking Sam Bartlett to chair, pending Mark Pearson’s joining.

1. Confirmation of agenda, including observers and recusal.

Sam introduced the agenda, which was approved without additions.

2. Minutes.

The draft minutes of the Validation Committee’s 13 February 2018 meeting were approved without comment.

Actions:

- The International Secretariat to publish minutes of the Validation Committee’s 23 March 2018 meeting on the internal Committee page.

3. Validation of Cameroon.

Bady Baldé introduced VC Paper 50-2 on the Validation of Cameroon, noting that the paper has been updated following the discussion in Oslo on 13 February, receipt of MSG comments and finalisation of the Validation report. As noted at the Oslo meeting, the Committee was reminded that the MSG and National Secretariat had provided extensive comments on the draft Validation report. The Validator had responded to the MSG, explaining the reasons for its maintaining initial assessments on the level of progress across all requirements. While the MSG had published a 2015 EITI Report, subsequent to the commencement of Validation, that addressed some of the gaps identified during Validation, the Validator had not taken this new information into account given the report’s publication six months after the start of Validation. Bady highlighted the recommendation of meaningful progress in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard, with 18 months to undertake corrective actions.

Sam highlighted an email from Solange Ondigui, National Coordinator of EITI Cameroon, to Committee members prior to the Committee’s teleconference. Bady explained that the email had expressed concern that some MSG comments in relation to Requirement 1.5 on the work plan had not been taken into account in the final Validation report. However, these comments were not seen as altering the assessment of “meaningful progress” on Requirement 1.5. The email had also asked for a postponement of the decision of the Board’s decision on the Validation of Cameroon to the 40th Board meeting on 28-29 June 2018, in light of national elections in April 2018.

Following extensive discussion, the majority of Committee members agreed that the 2015 EITI Report should not be taken into account as part of the current Validation. Didier Kokou Agbemadon dissented. Bady explained that the 2015 EITI Report addressed certain gaps, for instance on Requirements 3.2 and 4.2, a number of other Requirements assessed as “inadequate progress” remained outstanding. Several Committee members expressed concern at setting a precedent of taking new information such as a new EITI Report into account subsequent to the commencement of Validation.

The Committee agreed to the paper’s recommendation of “meaningful progress” overall and 18 months to address corrective actions.

Mark Pearson replaced Sam as meeting chair.

The Committee discussed the procedure for submitting the recommendation on the Validation of Cameroon to the Board, noting the recommendation at the 39th Board meeting to process the decision via circular. Sam relayed written comments from Brice Mackosso, expressing support for Solange Ondigui’s request for a postponement of the decision to the 40th Board meeting. Didier supported for this position, expressing concern over the potential consequences of a decision during election season in Cameroon in April. However, all other Committee members considered that the decision should proceed via circular. Alan McLean highlighted the risks of setting a precedent of deferring Board decisions. Addressing Didier’s concerns, Sam explained that the practice had been to process uncontentious cases via circular and to take contentious decisions at Board meetings. The Committee was reminded that any Board member could object to a decision by circular and request that the matter is deferred to the next Board meeting. The Committee agreed to submit the Validation of Cameroon for Board decision via circular.

Actions:

- The International Secretariat to submit a finalised paper on the Validation of Cameroon to the Committee for approval by no-objection.

- The Validation Committee to submit a paper on the Validation of Cameroon to the Board for decision via circular.

4. Validation of Senegal.

Dylan Gélard introduced VC Paper 50-3 on the Validation of Senegal, noting that the paper has been updated following the discussion in Oslo on 13 February, receipt of MSG comments and finalisation of the Validation report. As noted at the 39th Board meeting, Dylan noted agreement between the Validator and Secretariat that Senegal had met all requirements aside from two, related to state participation (2.6) and production data (3.2). The Committee was briefed on the MSG’s comments that both gaps had been addressed in February 2018 with the publication of missing data.

Dylan highlighted the paper’s recommendation, based on the final Validation Report, that the EITI Board agree that Senegal had made meaningful progress in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard, with six months to undertake corrective actions. However, the Committee was reminded of its discretion in taking events subsequent to the start of Validation into account. There was consensus among Committee members that the new information should be taken into account given that the two corrective actions had already been addressed. The Committee agreed that Senegal had made “satisfactory progress” in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard and congratulated Senegal for becoming the first country in Africa to have achieved this level of progress.

Actions:

- The International Secretariat to submit an updated paper on the Validation of Senegal, with an assessment of “satisfactory progress” in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard, to the Committee for approval by no-objection.

- The Validation Committee to submit a paper on the Validation of Senegal to the Board for decision via circular.

5. Validation of Togo.

Didier recused himself from the discussion of the Validation of Togo.

Gisela Granado introduced VC Paper 50-4 on the Validation of Togo, noting that the paper had been updated following the discussion in Oslo on 13 February, receipt of MSG comments and finalisation of the Validation report. Based on the MSG’s comments, the Validator had upgraded its assessment of Requirement 2.3 on license registers from “meaningful progress” to “satisfactory progress”. The Validator had maintained its assessment of “meaningful progress” on Requirement 7.4, but highlighted the Board’s discretion to take a new Annual Progress Report published subsequent to the commencement of Validation into account. Gisela noted that the paper recommended that the EITI Board agree that Togo had made meaningful progress in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard, with 18 months to undertake corrective actions.

While Committee members agreed to take new information into account in relation to Requirement 7.4, Jim Miller asked for the International Secretariat to submit standard language to the Committee, establishing guidelines for when new information published subsequent to the commencement of Validation could be taken into account.

Sam noted that this flexibility was important, so that the Board did not set corrective actions that would be immediately redundant. However, it was important that any new information be subject to proper scrutiny. The Secretariat suggested differentiating between progress on technical matters that could be quickly and objectively verified (such as the publication of an Annual Progress Report), and more complex issues (such as the comprehensiveness of data in the publication of a new EITI Report). The latter would need to be studied thoroughly in a subsequent validation.  

Sam confirmed that the International Secretariat would make a proposal on this issue for consideration by the Committee at its next meeting.

Gubad Ibadoglu expressed concerns about dysfunction in the MSG, considering that all other corrective actions depended on a functioning MSG, and called for a shorter timeframe for addressing corrective actions on Requirement 1.4 on MSG oversight as a priority. Jim highlighted the challenges of establishing different deadlines for specific requirements. The Committee agreed to revise the proposed Board statement on the Validation of Togo to encourage addressing corrective actions on Requirement 1.4 as a priority, with progress to be tracked in the Board’s Implementation Progress Report.

Jim suggested that the Committee consider more differentiation of countries assessed as having made “meaningful progress” in implementing the 2016 EITI Standard, noting that countries with significantly different numbers of corrective actions received the same overall assessment. The Committee agreed to consider this point in future.

There was consensus on Committee to approve the recommendation on the Validation of Togo and to submit it to the Board for approval via circular.

Actions:

- The International Secretariat to submit an updated paper on the Validation of Togo, with additional information on the upgraded assessment of Requirement 7.4 and an amended proposed Board statement encouraging Togo to address weaknesses in MSG oversight as a priority.

- The International Secretariat to submit proposed guidelines for when the Validation Committee could take account of new information published subsequent to the commencement of Validation.

- The Validation Committee to submit a paper on the Validation of Togo to the Board for decision via circular.

6. Updates on the Validation of Madagascar and Ukraine.

The Committee was briefed on the initial assessments of Madagascar and Ukraine that had been concluded and were available on the respective internal Committee pages. Sam noted that the initial assessments and draft Validation report would be circulated to the respective MSGs for comment in early April, following translation into local languages. These two cases would be on the agenda for future Committee meetings. The Committee was reminded that proposed lead reviewers for Ukraine were Laura Logan and Gubad Ibadoglu, while those for Madagascar were Jim Miller and Cesar Gamboa.

7. Committee work plan and update on 2017 & 2018 Validations.

Sam briefly introduced VC Paper 50-5 on the draft Validation Committee 2018 work plan, noting that it was a requirement for all Committees to maintain current work plans and to submit them to the Governance and Oversight Committee. Jim highlighted the Committee’s workload in 2018, which included 24 first and second Validations. Caesar requested a change in lead reviewers on the Validation of Peru. Sam explained that an updated draft 2018 work plan would be circulated to the Committee together with minutes of the meeting, addressing typos identified by Mark. The Committee was briefed that the 2018 work plan would be a living document, regularly updated and attached to every Committee email.

Actions:

- The International Secretariat to submit an updated draft 2018 work plan to the Committee for approval by no-objection.

- The Validation Committee to submit the approved 2018 Validation Committee work plan to the Governance and Oversight Committee.

8. AOB.

Jim asked for the correction of a typo in the agenda for the Committee’s teleconference, which referred to a Validation Committee meeting on 13 January rather than 13 February 2018.

Alan asked for the inclusion of doodle polls to determine the timing of the Committee’s remaining meetings in 2018.

Sam apologised for the confusion caused by the time change from Central European Time to Central European Summer Time. The Committee was briefed that all future meetings would be accompanied by a calendar invite, which would automatically update for time changes and would allow the International Secretariat to track advance confirmations of attendance.

Actions:

- The International Secretariat to include doodle polls for the Validation Committee’s remaining meetings in 2018 together with the draft minutes of the Committee’s 26 March 2018 meeting.

- The International Secretariat to consistently include calendar invitations for future Validation Committee meetings.

3. Documents