In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak, the EITI has taken the decision to hold its first fully virtual Board meeting.
The 47th meeting of the EITI Board was due to take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between 15 and 17 June. It will now be held virtually. Following consultations with the event hosts, the Government of Argentina, a decision was taken to postpone a physical meeting for the week of 12 October 2020, depending on the state of the pandemic. Details regarding participation at the first fully virtual EITI Board meeting in June, will be circulated shortly.
Since its first meeting in New York in December 2006, the EITI Board has brought together countries, companies and civil society organisations with a common objective – making transparency a global norm in the extractives sector. From the outset, EITI Board meetings were not only a structure for taking decisions in a pioneering organisation, but also a forum where stakeholders could meet, build consensus and explore ideas.
The coronavirus pandemic is sending shockwaves across global economies. Concurrently, the upheaval in the oil stock markets will have far reaching consequences, most immediately for oil and gas companies and for governments that depend on revenues from the oil and gas sector. In some countries, even small changes in prices can have a material impact on industry profitability and government revenues. Exploration and development of new projects may be delayed or cancelled.
In these uncertain times, the move to host a virtual Board meeting is a necessary step to mitigate disruption to EITI implementation. The EITI’s Executive Director, Mark Robinson, highlighted the potential benefits of the decision. “A virtual meeting will allow for a different way of exchanging information and ideas. Most importantly in an era of climate change, it will also help reduce the footprint of the EITI’s activities”, he said.
The EITI’s Chair, former New Zealand Prime Minister and former Head of the UNDP Helen Clark, is keen to explore innovative approaches: “We are dealing with an unprecedented series of events and need to be flexible and innovative,” she commented. “I look forward to a productive meeting and to exploring this new way of working.”
The schedule of other EITI meetings and missions will be kept under review, and will respond to the unfolding health, political, economic and social implications of the virus.
The EITI would like to thank the Government of Argentina for its collaboration and understanding. As one of the EITI’s newest member countries, the commitment of the newly-elected government has been strong and visible through this process.