NEW YORK/OSLO, 20 September 2011 – At the launch of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in New York today, US President Obama declared that the United States will implement the EITI.
In his speech President Obama said: "We’re continuing our leadership of the global effort against corruption, by building on legislation that now requires oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose the payments that foreign governments demand of them. Today, I can announce that the United States will join the global initiative in which these industries, governments and civil society, all work together for greater transparency so that taxpayers receive every dollar they’re due from the extraction of natural resources."
In the United States' OGP National Action Plan, the US Government states that it "Is Hereby Committing to Implement the EITI to Ensure that Taxpayers Are Receiving Every Dollar Due for Extraction of our Natural Resources".
Following the announcement, Chair of the EITI Clare Short said: "We welcome President Obama's commitment to implement the EITI. This demonstrates that the US and other developed countries can benefit from following the EITI standard. Other developed countries should follow the example of the United States."
The EITI is a global standard for improved transparency of revenues from natural resources. The EITI standard is currently implemented in 35 countries around the world. 29 of these have published the payments from companies to governments in EITI Reports, making it clear to their citizens, often for the first time, how much their government is receiving from the extraction of their natural wealth. Norway was the first OECD country to implement the EITI.
Commenting on the events in the Middle-East and North Africa this year, Ms Short said:
“The Arab spring promises democracy and openness. We hope that countries like Egypt and Libya will implement the EITI to ensure that their natural resources are managed for the benefit of their people. The days of oil and natural resource riches being squandered must come to an end.“
This article has been updated to include details from Obama's speech. Image courtesy of the White House.
Notes to Editors
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- The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is built on a simple idea: companies and governments should disclose payments for natural resources, that ultimately belong to the country's citizens.
- When a country follows the EITI standard, these payment figures are made public and independently reconciled, so that the people will be in a position to challenge government misuse of their resources.
- The 35 countries that are underway in implementing the EITI are: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Yemen, and Zambia.
- There are 12 countries that have now achieved EITI Compliant status. Recently Mali joined the Central African Republic, Ghana, the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Mongolia, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, and Timor-Leste and Yemen as EITI Compliant countries.
- Transparency alone will not guarantee sound management of extractive resources but is very likely to lead to greater benefits for the people and more efficient management of the sector. The challenges for North Africa and the Middle East and other resource rich countries are immense, but the EITI is a good place to start – focusing on the industries and the revenues that could be harnessed to transform these societies.
- The EITI is a coalition of governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organisations. All these constituencies are represented on the Board. The EITI International Secretariat is hosted by the Norwegian Government in Oslo and was formally opened on 26 September 2007.
- Since the idea was put forward in 2002, the EITI has moved towards becoming the global standard for revenue transparency in the extractive industries. Through implementing the EITI, countries bring together companies, civil society and government representatives to monitor and account for payments being made to governments by extractives companies operating in their country. Countries that have met all of the reporting and operational indicators set out under the EITI guidelines and completed a rigorous validation process are then considered to be EITI Compliant, establishing that the country's revenue reporting standards in its extractive sector have achieved a greater level of transparency.
- The Rt Hon Clare Short is Chair of the EITI Board. She was British Secretary of State for International Development 1997-2003. She played a key role in elevating Britain's department responsible for sustainable development and poverty elimination to the Ministerial level. In 2003, Ms Short resigned from her role as Secretary of State for International Development over the Iraq war. After nearly thirty years serving as a UK Member of Parliament, Ms Short stood down in 2010. Since 2006, Ms Short has been a member of the Advocacy Panel of Cities Alliance, an alliance of the World Bank, UN–HABITAT, local government and development partners committed to meeting the UN target to develop cities without slums. She is a member of the Advisory Committee of International Lawyers for Africa and a Trustee of Africa Humanitarian Action.
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