Happy New Year!

[img_assist|nid=258|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=120|height=150]2007 has in many ways been a seminal year for EITI. 2007 saw the EITI transfer its secretariat from being hosted by the British Government to Oslo, transforming EITI to a truly independent multi-stakeholder governance standard. At the Conference in Oslo in October 2006, the EITI International Board was constituted and marked the end of the initial design, pilot and test phase of the EITI. Now, one year on, I believe that we have moved firmly into the operational phase.

Of course, it all started with Tony Blair floating the idea of the EITI back in 2002 in Johannesburg. I had the privilege to meet Tony earlier this week and he was delighted about the great strides made since then and assured us of his continued support.

In brief, some of the things that have happened during 2007:

  • Most countries committed to the EITI were asked to “pre-validate” to confirm their candidate status. The Board approved 15 countries as the first batch of EITI candidates and we are awaiting information from a further 9 to determine their status.
  • Botswana, Liberia and Norway announced that they intend to implement the EITI.
  • The international Secretariat was established in Oslo, and a new EITI website was launched.
  • The Board met three times, in New York, Berlin and Oslo, guiding the evolution of EITI both in its operations and in its institutional development.
  • The validation methodology was further developed and validators short-listed.
  • Germany used its presidency of the G/8 to focus attention on natural resource management and the EITI. A recent Berlin conference, concluding its international activities as G8 chair, again largely dealt with EITI and related matters.
  • Azerbaijan declared its intention to table a UN General Assembly resolution and efforts got under way to secure support for this important UN endorsement.

In 2008, we are going to have our plates full meeting the expectations that we have raised. Priorities include:

  • completing the pre-validation process;
  • overseeing the first validations;
  • making further progress with engaging large emerging markets;
  • further developing EITI as effective institution
  • securing the UN mandate; and
  • organising a successful EITI Conference.

I want to thank everyone that everyday makes the EITI happen. We all know that high commodity prices can be a development opportunity and lead to prosperity for all. The EITI is increasingly contributing towards the responsible management of natural resources. Just last week, when the German Government had invited representatives from EITI-implementing countries and other stakeholders to a meeting in Berlin, I was tremendously encouraged by the way in which the EITI really is contributing towards an open dialogue between governments and citizens about the management of the wealth from what is, after all, their resources.

I am greatly energized by last year’s progress and look forward with optimism and great expectation for 2008 – largely because of you, because of the growing ranks of supporters from all corners of the world.

With very best wishes,

Peter Eigen,

Jonas Moberg and everyone in the EITI Secretariat