Leaders announce commitment to disclosure of beneficial ownership in line with EITI Standard.
In its summit statement, the G20 leaders reinforced their engagement to improve the transparency in governance and the private sector.
Specifically, steps to address opacity in the ownership of companies will be undertaken. "We commit to improve the transparency of the public and private sectors, and of beneficial ownership by implementing the G20 High-Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency” (point 14).
Prior to the summit, the EITI had called upon the leaders to specifically step up efforts in revealing the true benefactors of companies' deals with the government. This is in line with the recommendations of the EITI Standard. Fourteen countries are piloting a beneficial ownership process in the extractive sector as part of the EITI process.
"In many cases, the identity of the real owners – the ‘beneficial owners’ – of the companies that have acquired rights to extract oil, gas and minerals is unknown, often hidden behind a chain of corporate entities. This opacity can contribute to corruption, money laundering and tax evasion in the extractive sector” Clare Short said.
By endorsing the 2015-16 Anti-Corruption Action plan, the G20 countries commit to greater transparency by implementing the international standards on the beneficial ownership of legal persons as well as the G20 High-Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency.
The leaders of the G20 have further reaffirmed the importance of transparency and integrity in the way countries are governed. The Anti-Corruption Plan states that “G20 countries commit to taking practical action, consistent with national circumstances, to address the risk of corruption in the extractives sector and other high risk sectors… by promoting collective action initiatives.”
The EITI is eager to work with countries of the G20 to address these issues, building on what is already being done in member countries like Indonesia, the UK and US.