As many of you will know, the biennial EITI Global Conference is the highest level of governance in the EITI. We have previously had four conferences:
- London in 2003 at which the EITI Principles were agreed;
- London in 2005 at which the EITI Criteria were adopted;
- Oslo in 2006 at which the EITI validation indicators, the EITI Board, and the International Secretariat were established; and
- Doha in 2009 at which the EITI was established as a members-based association, and at which Azerbaijan was welcomed as the first EITI Compliant country.
The fifth EITI Global Conference entitled ‘Transparency Counts’ will focus on how the EITI is making a difference to the nearly half a billion people from 23 countries around the world who now have access to reliable revenue figures from the natural resources of their own country through an EITI report. In most cases, these figures have never been available before. Too often these revenues have been the source of bitter conflict, mismanagement, and plunder.
This conference is the time to take stock of what this standard means for the citizens whose lives it was designed to improve. It is also the time to reflect and implement improvements to the rules of the EITI, ensuring that benefits are enhanced.
Whilst there is still much that we haven’t achieved, the EITI offers one of the best mechanisms yet for tackling the challenge of responsible natural resource management. What I am most proud of is that the EITI is not an organisation. It is not just a Board, nor a Secretariat. It is not a project with an implementation unit. It is a movement. The EITI Global Conference is the movement’s coming-together. Last time we welcomed over 500 participants from across 80 different countries.
I hope that you enjoy reading this newsletter and I hope to see you in Paris to shape the next stage of the EITI story.
Peter Eigen, Chair of the EITI