Validation Committee meeting Tuesday 13 February 2018, 07:30-08:30 CET
1. Approval of minutes from 26 January.
2. Validation of Kazakhstan.
3. Update on Validations of Cameroon, Senegal & Togo.
4. Update on Second Validations of Mongolia & Timor-Leste.
5. Follow-up from Lessons learned from the 2016 & 2017 Validations.
6. Update on 2017 & 2018 Validations.
7. Any other business
Validation Committee members: Mark Pearson, Bent Graff, Gubad Ibadoglu, Cielo Magno, Caesar Gamboa, Didier Kokou Agbemadon, Laura Logan, Brice Makosso, Didier Kokou Agbemadon.
Observers: Micah Watson, Asmara Klein, Simon Clydesdale, Moustapha Fall, Diana Corbin, Laurence Arnould, Clemence Contensou, Carlos Aranda.
From the Secretariat: Sam Bartlett, Bady Baldé, Alex Gordy, Pablo Valverde, Indra Thévoz, Gay Ordenes, Brynjar Wiersholm, Dylan Gélard, Jacqueline Taquiri, Gisela Granado, Olesia Tolochko, Eddie Rich, Francisco Paris.
Mark Pearson opened the meeting by congratulating Committee members for their efficient work in delivering clear recommendations on several Validations to the Board.
1. Confirmation of agenda, including observers and recusal.
Mark introduced the agenda, which was approved without additions.
Pablo Valverde presented the Board’s common observer policy, confirming that Board members were welcome to observe Committee meetings upon advance notification to the Committee Chair while non-Board members were required to seek advance permission from Committee members. Observer requests were collected by the Secretary for submission to the Committee Chair. While observer status was to be requested for each meeting, it was noted that the Governance and Oversight Committee was considering the potential status of permanent observer. Sam Bartlett noted concerns over the broad circulation of Committee papers to external papers. While documents could be shared within constituencies, Sam emphasised the confidential nature of draft Committee papers, which were only final upon the Board’s decision. Committee members were urged to exercise their discretion in sharing Committee papers.
The Validation Committee approved the presence of Micah Watson, Asmara Klein, Simon Clydesdale, Moustapha Fall, Diana Corbin, Laurence Arnould, and Clemence Contensou as observers.
The draft minutes of the Validation Committee’s 26 January 2018 meeting were approved without comment.
- The International Secretariat to publish minutes of the Validation Committee’s 26 January 2018 meeting on the internal Committee page.
3. Validation of Kazakhstan.
Mark invited Gubad Ibadoglu to present his proposed revisions to the Validation Committee paper on the Validation of Kazakhstan. Highlighting developments subsequent to the commencement of Validation, Gubad called for revisions to the proposed Board statement to express concern over increased restrictions on civic space. There was consensus on the Committee regarding the technical assessment of requirement 1.3 on civil society engagement as “satisfactory progress”. Upon discussion, the Committee agreed that Mark would invite Gubad to present his comments during his presentation of the Validation of Kazakhstan to the Board, rather than amending the Board statement. The Committee was also reminded that the Board would have three different occasions to discuss the safeguard provisions associated with requirement 1.3 on civil society engagement during the Board’s 39th meeting. Cielo Magno noted the discussions on the Implementation Committee to develop a guidance note on safeguarding civil society space.
- The Validation Committee to present the paper on the Validation of Kazakhstan to the EITI Board at its 39th meeting, with additional comments by Gubad.
4. Procedure for Second and subsequent Validations.
Sam introduced the procedures for Second and subsequent Validations. Noting that many of the corrective actions agreed during first Validations were of a technical nature, Sam explained that the process for subsequent Validations, discussed at the Validation Committee’s meeting in Ottawa, essentially built on previous Secretariat Reviews. Using the results of the first Validation as a baseline, the International Secretariat notified the MSG of the commencement of the subsequent Validation and invited them to comment, before finalising an assessment for review by the Validation Committee. Sam noted that the MSG, any stakeholder outside the MSG or any Board member could also request for a review of requirements previously assessed as “satisfactory progress” when the Second or subsequent Validation was initiated. The option to call for Validation of any requirements where there were concerns of backsliding was also available to any stakeholder regardless of whether a Validation was already ongoing. The International Secretariat could also propose to the Committee additional requirements for assessment as part of its routine implementation support.
The Committee would then review the Secretariat’s assessment, request more information or for the independent Validator to review particularly contentious issues. The aim was thus to strengthen the previous Secretariat Review procedures, while remaining light-touch and cost-effective. The Committee’s formalisation of the procedure for Second and subsequent Validations would enable countries to prepare in a timely manner and were reflected in the Validation Committee’s 2018 work plan. As for all Validation preparations, Sam explained that International Secretariat staffing would consist of a mix of the country support team and staff dedicated to Validation. There was consensus on the Committee to include the codification of Second and subsequent Validations in the Committee’s paper on suggested revisions to the Validation Guide and procedures.
- The International Secretariat to include the codification of Second and subsequent Validations in the Validation Committee’s next paper on suggested revisions to the Validation Guide and procedures.
5. Updates on Second Validations of Mongolia & Timor-Leste.
Sam briefed the Committee that the respective MSG’s comments had been received for the Mongolia and Timor-Leste Second Validations, which had confirmed the draft assessments in both cases. The two draft assessments had thus been finalised, concluding in both cases that the corrective actions had been met and that the two countries were eligible to be designated as having made “satisfactory progress” overall. Sam highlighted that these were positive developments both for the countries and for the EITI more broadly. There was consensus on the Committee to submit the two papers to the Board for decision at its 39th meeting, rather than discussion as originally planned.
- The Validation Committee to present the papers on the Second Validations of Mongolia and Timor-Leste to the EITI Board for decision at its 39th meeting.
6. Update on Validations of Cameroon, Senegal & Togo.
Sam provided brief updates on the Validations of Cameroon, Senegal and Togo, noting that MSG comments had been received and were currently being processed by the independent Validator. The case of Senegal was of particular interest, given that the Committee would need to decide whether to agree two corrective actions in line with the initial assessment and draft Validation report, or to listen to the MSG’s view that the two corrective actions had already been addressed subsequent to the start of Validation. The Committee agreed to brief the Board with updates on the three cases.
- The Validation Committee to provide update briefings on the Validations of Cameroon, Senegal and Togo to the EITI Board for discussion at its 39th meeting.
7. Committee work plan and update on 2017 & 2018 Validations.
Sam highlighted the updated Committee work plan included in annex to the meeting agenda. The Committee was alerted of the need for potential updates subject to the Board’s decision on a broader vision for mainstreamed EITI implementation to evaluate how Validation could be revised in the context of mainstreaming. The discussion would be timely given the roughly one year before the next EITI Global Conference, where any changes to the Validation system could be agreed. The Committee asked the International Secretariat to submit an updated Committee work plan ahead of its next meeting.
- The International Secretariat to submit an updated Committee work plan to the Validation Committee ahead of its next meeting.
Caesar Gamboa called a procedure for Committee members to submit additional language for inclusion in Committee papers. Sam explained that the procedure for Committee members to submit revisions to draft Committee papers was clear, during the Committee’s review of draft papers submitted by the International Secretariat. Upon Bent Gaff’s suggestion, the Committee was reminded of the option of including minority statements in Committee papers and for any Board member to make a statement for the record in cases where there was disagreement on the Committee.
The Committee was also briefed on a new web-based application for teleconferences, which would allow the Committee Secretary to mute participants in cases of noise interference. Sam explained that the International Secretariat would follow up with the Validation Committee to set a date for its next teleconference.
- The International Secretariat to seek input from Validation Committee members for the timing of the next teleconference together with circulation of draft minutes for the Committee’s 13 February meeting.