Open Data needed to improve extractive industries governance

Dewi from Indonesia EITI blogs from the Data Storytelling Bootcamp.

Dewi Yuliandini H is a Data Analyst of Extractives at Publish What You Pay Indonesia, and is works on Open Data, Natural Resources Management and Climate Change issues. Follow Dewi on Twitter @dewiyuliandini.

“While others are busy discussing about governance and management, we are here having fun playing with data and lots of games such as MAP-X, OpenRefine, Tableau, Piktochart and RDx.”
- Heard at the Data Storytelling Bootcamp at 7th EITI Conference in Lima on Feb 2016

The 7th EITI Global Conference 2016 was held a few weeks ago. With the theme “From Reports to Results” this conference promised a massive and impactful reformation in the improvement of extractive industries governance globally. Along with that, the EITI International published a New Standard EITI 2016 as part of the improvement Standard EITI 2013 with the goal implementing EITI could be more sustainable. But “From Reports to Results” without understanding the data? It’s nothing.

According to EITI Requirement 7.1, "The EITI requires EITI Reports that are comprehensible, actively promoted, publicly accessible, and contribute to public debate". Without opening up data, how can the public access data and information to create public debate? Therefore, tools and open platforms to facilitate public in reaching data and information from the EITI report is needed.

Based on data derived from data.eiti.org (March 2016), there were 282 financial years worth of reports covered in the EITI report, with the value of revenues from extractive industries (oil, gas and mining) as large as USD 1,847 trillion. If this data was available in open formats, the creation of public debate and improved governance is quite possible. For example, data and information on taxes. With open data of the tax in all the EITI implementing countries, citizens can read and analyze whether the received amount of tax among EITI implementing countries is fair. Through analysis such as this, public debate can be created and the end goal is to improve the tax revenue collection systems (the fiscal regime) of EITI countries.

Data Storytelling Bootcamp was held as a side event of the conference in line with the theme “From Reports to Results”. The Bootcamp proved to be a forum where stakeholders and data geeks worked together to understand the data as well as to look for opportunities for improving EITI data collection, in order for data to become more timely, reliable, and useful.

Summary Data Template

In February 2015 the EITI International Secretariat introduced a Summary Data Template (SDT), which included a table for revenue streams that uses a classification of government revenues based on the IMF's Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014, an internationally accepted classification.

The data collected through the Summary Data Template can help public to understand all of the existing data in EITI reports faster and easier. Available data and information include: fiscal, legal and contextual data. Unfortunately, SDT is not by itself available and accessible to public.

Open EITI data

Beside the SDT, EITI International announced that they will be developing new standards for reporting data both contextual and reconciliation, aggregated and disaggregated – that is standardized. Open Data Standards is expected to enhance the quality of the reports of EITI implementing countries.

The new Standard 2016 contains a an Open Data Policy which points to Open Data principles found in Open Government PartnershipThe G8 Open Data Charter and Technical AnnexOpen Data Charter, and Open Definition. This policy aims to encourage EITI implementing countries to utilize existing EITI data to reinforce EITI in driving sustainable development and addressing the challenges of extractive industries governance.

EITI data portals

EITI International presented and sought feedback on its yet-to-be-launched data portal which will contain data and information from all reports collected. The development of a data portal can be quite important considering the richness in the amount of EITI data and information. And also, EITI International Secretariat can make this portal an EITI data dashboard. Data dashboard can contain all important data in EITI reports country by country, project by project or can just highlight some critical data or interesting information into nice visualizations.

Some EITI implementing countries already have a data portal as a user friendly version of the EITI report. Such as US EITI Portal Data, PH Contract Portal Data, Mozambique Mining Cadastre Portal Data, and coming soon Indonesia EITI Portal Data. It would be interesting if the upcoming EITI Data Portal can be integrated with those Data Portals.

Additionally, there are also several independent organizations that make some data portals such as Open Oil in Mapping Concessions MENA countries or Open Data Tour of Tanzania, Swandiri Institute for EI Spatial Transparency in West Kalimantan Indonesia, PWYP Indonesia Open Data Extractive, and coming soon NRGI Data Portal. And also PWYP Indonesia already uses a platform - mobile application as open data for extractive industries in Indonesia, named Open Mining.

With the amount of that huge available data, an EITI Data Portal could in the future become an integrated data collection for the extractive sector. As an example; project by project data reporting can be integrated with the data relating to contract, state budget, and possibly beneficial ownership. This would make the EITI more open, more transparent, and lead to more accountability and more benefits for the people.

Last but not least, in my opinion, Open Data is not only about providing data, but about accommodating that users can analyze and use the data for policy and government reforms that can reverse the 'resource curse'.