Newsletter: Happy New Year!

2009 has been a year of rapid implementation in many EITI countries:

 

  • The number of countries implementing the EITI has grown rapidly of which two – Azerbaijan and Liberia – are now EITI Compliant.
  • Several countries, such as Norway, began their implementation and other countries declared their intention to implement the EITI including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iraq and Ukraine.
  • 43 of the world’s largest oil, gas and mining companies support the EITI. Over 80 global investment institutions that collectively manage over US$16 trillion are supporting the EITI.
  • Several new publications, including the EITI Progress Report, the EITI Rule Book, the EITI Communications Guide, the EITI Parliamentary Guide, Advancing the EITI in the Mining Sector, Good Practice Notes, an EITI Video, and EITI Case Studies, were all launched in 2009.
  • The EITI was constituted into the EITI Members Association under Norwegian law.
  • There was increased coverage of EITI in international media, such as the BBC, the Economist, the Financial Times and Le Monde. 
  • The EITI also saw increased high-level endorsements (see our endorsement sheet), most notably with the strong statement of support from the leaders of the G-20 when they met in Pittsburgh. 

 

We are impressed by and grateful to all of you who have contributed towards implementation of the EITI in the 30 Compliant and Candidate countries. When 500 of us from 80 countries met at the Global EITI Conference back in February in Doha, there was rightly a focus on the extent the EITI is contributing to development. It is never easy to demonstrate that efforts to improve governance are having an impact on development. This is particularly true when it comes to promoting transparency and fighting corruption, as we are unlikely to ever find out what kind of corrupt or badly governed transactions have been prevented from taking place through improved transparency. 

Still, from having attended town hall meetings in Liberia, having heard about the consultations of mining affected communities in Kazakhstan, having followed the debate the recent EITI report created in Nigeria and having attended a multi-stakeholder group meeting in Azerbaijan, I know that the EITI is leading to change.  We are starting to do business in a different way. Slowly a culture of transparency and consultation is taking root. Slowly it is becoming accepted that the citizens of a country should easily be able to find out what their government gets when their natural resources are sold off. I welcome that there is a growing number of efforts under way to analyse what we the EITI and other governance efforts are leading to change.   

During the Secretariat’s and my visits to most of the 30 countries, we have been impressed by the level of implementation activity. Although the impact is different in each country, one common theme is the increased atmosphere of trust. The EITI reports – the reconciliation of what governments receive and what companies pay – becomes a starting point for open dialogue and are increasingly being used to build trust and explain to local communities about how the sector is governed. It is also evident that the EITI multi-stakeholder groups bring together representatives from government, companies and civil society that normally do not come together and creates a culture of collaboration and joint responsibility. An increasing number of case studies demonstrate the impact of the EITI on trust-building in countries like Liberia, Cameroon and Nigeria. 

In 2010, our priorities will include overseeing the Validation of most of the implementing countries. 22 of the 28 Candidate countries have a Validation deadline of 9 March 2010. Another two have deadlines later in the year. In countries that complete Validation, recommendations in the Validation report will need to be implemented. Becoming EITI Compliant is not a sign of that the job is done. Becoming Compliant is rather a sign of that the foundation has been laid.  We now have an opportunity, as lessons emerge from the Validation process, to refine the EITI’s requirements and to ensure there are incentives for countries to strive for continued improvement. We will also be working to establish the EITI in new countries, especially Iraq and Indonesia. 

The EITI continues to evolve from being a young and innovative governance experiement into a global standard. 2010 will surely bring many challenges and opportunities. Our success will continue to depend on cooperation and support from our supporters. Wherever you are, the International EITI Secretariat and I wish you all a happy new year. We look forward to working with you all in 2010.

 

With very best wishes,

Peter Eigen

Chair of the EITI