EITI Secretariat launches series of training seminars on new Rules

In May, the EITI Secretariat, in collaboration with international partners launched a series of training seminars for francophone African countries on the new EITI Rules. The first seminar was held from 2 to 5 May in Berlin, and included 25 participants representing government, civil society and companies from 9 countries in advance stages of implementation. The second seminar took place in Lomé, Togo and saw the participation of 20 representatives from 6 countries in early stages of implementation or interested in applying for EITI candidacy. The purpose of the meetings was to explain the new EITI Rules that were agreed by the EITI Board in February 2011 following an extensive consultation process. Participants were walked through some of the most prominent changes and refinements relating to reporting requirements, auditing of EITI data, participation of civil society and candidacy period, among others. In addition, the seminar provided an excellent opportunity to share the growing body of experience and best practices, look back at progress made so far, and discuss the future of EITI.

Key issues and questions that emerged from the discussions included support throughout the process and beyond validation to sustain the EITI, mainstreaming EITI into country systems, and balancing between “wider” versus “deeper” implementation. Participants highlighted the importance of addressing challenges and weaknesses identified during validation and taking stock of lessons learned. While innovations and integration of the EITI into broader oversight mechanisms were desirable, it was also imperative to meet the core objectives of the EITI, including producing quality reports and strengthening stakeholder engagement in the process. In regard to effective implementation of the new Rules, participants recommended that greater emphasis be put on overcoming capacity constraints and providing clearer guidance during early stages of the EITI process. One of the key conclusions that emerged from the two seminars is that country ownership is imperative to promote greater transparency in the extractives sector and that sustaining the EITI would require long term funding and increased coordination between national stakeholders and international partners.

The Berlin event formed part of a multi-year EITI training programme funded by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented jointly by GIZ (German International Cooperation) and the EITI International Secretariat to consolidate the implementation of the EITI in Candidate countries through skills and knowledge building and peer learning. The training in Lomé was organised with support from the World Bank and in collaboration with EITI Togo. It is expected that the training models utilised will serve as a basis for the organisation and implementation of national and local capacity-building workshops that will complement dissemination and training activities by the International Secretariat.