EITI prolongs Azerbaijan’s membership

Second Validation concludes meaningful progress, but more is needed.

Wednesday, 26 October – Azerbaijan today had its EITI membership extended. The international EITI Board reached this decision at its meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan following the recently published EITI Validation report. Validation is the EITI’s independent evaluation mechanism.

The EITI Board agreed that Azerbaijan had made meaningful progress with implementing the EITI Standard with considerable improvements across several requirements compared to the first Validation in 2015. The EITI Board decided on a set of corrective actions that needs to be completed including on civil society engagement. The full Board decision is available here

Fredrik Reinfeldt, Chair of the EITI, said:

“Azerbaijan has made important progress in opening up the oil sector and I am encouraged to hear about the recent plans for government reforms towards more transparency. I hope that the government will continue its recent efforts to ensure that civil society can play its proper role in this process, otherwise this progress risks being overshadowed.”

Azerbaijan’s second attempt at Validation shows that although the Government of Azerbaijan has taken steps to address the EITI’s concerns of last year, civil society lacks sufficient space to operate freely. In the lead up to the EITI Board meeting, the government announced considerable progress and new developments related to civil society. The EITI Board acknowledged these steps as developments and noted that it looks forward to reviewing them in further detail.

In addition, the EITI Board raised questions as to whether SOCAR, the state-owned company, had fully disclosed the details of all off-budget spending on social projects and all details about its ownership of oil, gas and mining operations.

Having been compliant with the EITI Rules since 2009, Azerbaijan was tested against the EITI Standard for the first time in 2015.  The concerns were primarily related to the environment for civil society to participate in the EITI process in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is the first country to undergo Validation against the EITI Standard. In accordance with the Board’s decision, Azerbaijan now has until the next EITI Board meeting to implement corrective actions addressing the EITI Board’s concerns related to civil society. A third Validation reviewing progress with the remaining corrective actions will commence on 26 July 2017.

Notes

  • The EITI is a coalition of governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organisations. Learn more at www.eiti.org.
  • EITI is chaired by Fredrik Reinfeldt. Mr Reinfeldt was the Prime Minister of Sweden (2006-2014). 
  • 51 countries are members of the EITI. No country has yet made satisfactory progress with the 2016 EITI Standard.  See the list of countries at www.eiti.org/countries.

For further information about the EITI Azerbaijan, please visit the country page on the EITI website and the national EITI website.