From the Secretariat: So this is Christmas

Around the holidays here in Norway, members of the staff will be sharing their stories and thoughts from their work at the EITI Secretariat. Here is Exectutive Secetary Leah Krogsund.

I am sitting here in the EITI office in Oslo, staring at the snow pouring down outside my window. Down below, I watch people hurrying to wherever it is they are going, collars turned against the wind and the cold. From my radio, John Lennon is singing "So this is Christmas, And what have you done?”. Yes, it’s that time of year again.

2011 has been a year where a lot has been done within the EITI. We organised a hugely successful EITI global conference in Paris. 25 countries have completed EITI Validation. 11 countries are now EITI Compliant – twice the number at the beginning of the year. And the US committed to implement EITI, and Australia to conduct an EITI pilot.

This has happened due to hard work by the many friends of the EITI around the globe, and by us here at the Secretariat. Yet, work creates work. The more success the EITI has, the more my colleagues and I here have to do.

December is indeed a busy month because this is when it dawns on us that the year is gone and everything is about wrapping things up, and planning for the next year. This is the month when all the funding updates and invoices are sent out to supporting countries, supporting companies and institutional investors. This is also the month that we close all the accounting for the year. We at the Secretariat need to submit our records to "independent reconcilation" too! All outstanding payments have to be sorted out and cleared on or before the last day of the month. We have to make sure the accountants have the files delivered to them by the end of the first week of January meaning that while everyone is running around thinking about Christmas turkey and what to give to whom, we are busy trying to meet deadlines.

After four board meetings and dozens of board committee meetings in 2011, it’s time to plan for the meetings in 2012. We are well underway in the preparations for the first board meeting of next year. Venues have to be identified and booked. We’ve got the caterers and the interpreters to take care of. Invitation letters have to be sent out so visas can be smoothly acquired. And we’ve got to begin thinking about the board papers for the next meeting. Didn’t we just finish all of that for the board meeting in Jakarta? Seems like it!

Well, we have achieved a lot in 2011 – now it’s time to think about 2012.

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear