The EITI Board: ensuring civil society engagement will be critical.
The international EITI Board accepted Ethiopia's application for EITI candidature when it met in Oslo 19 March. Candidature is not a recognition of a country's levels of transparency or accountability. As a Candidate, the country has three years to achieve compliance with the EITI Standard.
Clare Short said:
“I am pleased that the Board has decided to accept Ethiopia as an EITI Candidate country. Some opposed this decision, but it should be remembered that becoming a candidate does not mean that any country has met the EITI Standard. In the case of Ethopia, the decision shows that the Board was convinced by the government’s commitment to the EITI’s principles. Membership of the EITI will mean that all stakeholders, including civil society, will have a better platform to hold the government and the companies to account and ensure the better management of the burgeoning sector.”
In its discussions, the EITI Board stressed the importance of ensuring civil society engagement in Ethiopia's efforts to comply with the EITI Standard. Some members of the Board argued that Ethiopia's candidature application should not be accepted, and requested that their reservations be noted.
Tolesa Shagi, Ethiopian Minister of Mines, wrote to the Board to assure them that “the Ethiopian Government is highly committed to work with Civil Societies to ensure their engagement in the Ethiopian EITI”.
“The World Bank applauds the step Ethiopia has taken to engage on transparency issues,” said Paulo de Sa, Manager of the Gas, Oil, Mining Unit of the Sustainable Energy Department of the World Bank.
Over the past three years, the World Bank has worked closely with the Ethiopian government through an EITI Multi-Donor Trust Fund project that facilitated preparation for EITI candidacy. The focus of preparation was not only on the basics of revenue transparency, but also on capacity building and learning from experiences of other EITI implementing countries like Liberia and Tanzania.
The Board's decision in full:
The EITI Board admits Ethiopia as an EITI Candidate country on 19 March 2014. In accordance with the EITI Standard and associated transitional arrangements, Ethiopia is required to publish its first EITI Report within two years of becoming a Candidate (by 19 March 2016). If the EITI Report is not published by this deadline, Ethiopia will be suspended. Validation will commence within three years of becoming a Candidate (by 19 March 2017). In accordance with requirement 1.6c, the MSG is required to publish an annual activity report for 2014 by 1 July 2015. The Board notes the concerns expressed by some stakeholders regarding potential obstacles to implementation such as legal barriers to implementation and capacity constraints in civil society. In accordance with requirement 1.4.c.i and 1.4.c.iii, the Board recommends that the MSG updates its workplan to include a detailed assessment and actions to address potential capacity constraints, as well as plans for addressing any legal, regulatory or administrative barriers to implementation identified in the ongoing legal review commissioned by the MSG.
For further information about EITI in Ethiopia, visit the country page on the EITI website.
EITI Multi-Donor Trust Fund facilitates grants to Ethiopia and other developing countries implementing EITI. EITI MDTF is administered by the World Bank and supported by 15 donor countries.