At the EITI Global Conference in Sydney, leaders from 24 countries delivered statements in the EITI Stakeholder Forum, many committing their country to taking new steps towards transparency and strengthening their EITI.
EITI Implementing Countries
Speakers from 16 EITI Implementing Countries made commitments on how they will develop the EITI process to enhance governance of the extractive industries.
Newly admitted EITI Candidate country Honduras explained that it wanted to use the EITI to show new investors it would “negotiate transparently”, while safeguarding the interests of local communities. It echoed Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala in its call to expand the EITI among the Caribbean and Latin American countries.
Tajikistan explained that EITI implementation was intended to attract investors for its expanding extractive industries. Indonesia reminded participants of the immense challenge but high importance of implementing the EITI in a country where 300 million people depend on the extractive industries. Kazakhstan advocated for an expansion of transparency into all sectors of the economy and Chad underlined the importance of political will to ensure the EITI can become a success.
EITI Compliant countries such as Burkina Faso and Albania announced that they planned to take their EITI processes further as part of on-going reform processes. Côte d’Ivoire and Togo expressed their gratitude for becoming EITI Compliant on 22 May 2013, and pledged to continue widening the EITI. Tanzania reported that it was in the process of developing an EITI law, publishing contracts and including forestry in reporting. Sierra Leone announced the extension of EITI reporting to forestry and fisheries, and welcomed the next PWYP conference to Freetown. Mongolia reported on preparations for an EITI law and for electronic reporting. Ghana reported it was also preparing an EITI law, and Mauritania reminded participants that the EITI Standard must remain of high credibility.
Other countries confirming commitments
A number of countries confirmed their commitments to sign up to the EITI. The United States representative underlined that transparency was key to the government’s agenda, and that alongside the Open Government Partnership and the Dodd-Frank-Act, EITI implementation would allow US citizens to better understand the oil, gas and mining industry in their country. Just like Ukraine, it confirmed that its EITI multi-stakeholder group was in the process of finalising its application. Colombia announced it would apply to become an EITI Candidate country by early 2014 and called for the EITI to become a regional mechanism in Latin American and the Caribbean. Applicants Myanmar and Papua New Guinea both reported that they were reaching out to stakeholders to form an EITI multi-stakeholder group. Malawi announced that its Minister of Finance was appointed EITI Champion and that the government was considering signing up. Uganda confirmed it was preparing to implement the Standard and South Africa reminded participants that in order to avoid tax evasion and transfer pricing, the EITI should not only be implemented in resource-rich countries, but by all actors.
Germany’s development finance institution DEG explained that transparency had become a strong business case as it mitigated reputational, legal and commercial risks caused by corruption. The Australia-Africa Mining Industry Group with its 300 industry members underlined that EITI implementation could generate wealth and improve the investment climate of resource-rich countries.
The Commonwealth Secretariat endorsed the EITI and called on all its members to implement the Standard. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) welcomed that the new EITI Standard embraced the recommendations of the African Union’s Mining Vision, and that the task was now to ensure the EITI is fully owned by Implementing Countries, as part of the Country Mining Vision. EITI Supporting Country Italy argued that the EITI together with other international standards could create a level playing field in resource-rich countries. Australia’s AusAid hoped for sustainable development through EITI implementation.
The Steering Committee of Publish What You Pay called on governments to see civil society as complementing rather than opposing its reform efforts, and that civil society should have enough space to act as a recognised player in the extractive industries. Transparency International advocated for better citizen access to data.
To see further accounts of the events at the 6th EITI Global Conference, please visit www.eiti.org/sydney2013