Government reaffirms its commitment to natural resource transparency
The Ecuadorian government officially announced last week its intention to become an EITI implementing country. “In deciding to adhere to the EITI, the Government of Ecuador seeks to guarantee transparency and efficiency in the management of the country's natural resources,” said Minister of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources (MERNNR), Carlos Pérez.
The government first expressed its intention to join the EITI in March 2018, and reinforced this commitment at the EITI Global Conference in Paris in June. With support from the World Bank, the government commissioned a feasibility study to assesses the current state of extractive transparency and explore the opportunities and challenges for EITI implementation.
A growing extractive sector
A member of OPEC, Ecuador is South America’s third-largest oil producer. Hydrocarbons make up more than half of the country’s total exports, and production is forecast to increase by 80% by 2021. Ecuador’s copper, gold and silver resources have remained relatively untapped – until recently. Foreign investment from Canada and China worth more than USD 2 billion have catalysed the sector’s development, and the country aims to more than double the value of mining sector by 2021.
As Ecuador’s extractive sector continues to grow, demands for information on how the country’s natural resource wealth is managed will increase. "Access to information is the right of all Ecuadorians,” says Vice Minister of Mines Fernando Benalcázar, who has been appointed as the EITI Champion. “Our goal is to encourage a more participatory society that is informed about the reality of these sectors."
Civil society participation in the good governance of the extractive sector is an integral part of the EITI process. Civil society actors will have a seat at the table, alongside industry and government representatives, enabling them to use the EITI platform to discuss the management of their country’s natural resources.
If the application is successful, Ecuador would join the growing network of EITI implementing countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region. “We welcome Ecuador’s decision to become an EITI member,” says EITI Executive Director, Mark Robinson. “EITI implementation will help Ecuador build the strong institutional and governance frameworks that are needed to enhance the trust of investors and citizens alike.”
To complete the EITI candidature application, Ecuador will need to form a multi-stakeholder group and agree on work plan that outlines how they will implement the EITI in line with national priorities. An application is expected in the coming months.