Ensuring good governance of the extractive industries is essential for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and tackling corruption. In the past decade almost USD 2.5 trillion in tax payments from the extractive industries have been disclosed by EITI countries. But more work remains to be done, especially at a time when trust in governments, multilateralism, even the value of dialogue itself, is under strain.
The EITI Standard continues to evolve, shaped by the lessons learned in the countries that implement it. New ground has also been broken with disclosure requirements on environmental, social and gender impacts. On the fiscal and legal side, contract transparency will be mandatory from 2021 onwards, new commodity trading data is being released and reporting is now done at the project level.
The EITI Standard has been revised to encourage countries and companies to systematically disclose information through their own systems. Much credit is due to the EITI Board, implementing countries and the EITI International Secretariat for reaching consensus on a range of new requirements that have strengthened the EITI Standard.
As the EITI continues to evolve, it needs to reflect and serve a wide set of country priorities and circumstances. Some implementing countries are license regimes, while others operate with contracts. In many countries, state-owned enterprises play a significant role in the economy, while in others, international companies remain the chief actors of extractive activity. The challenge of the EITI lies in upholding an international standard while accommodating to the different realities and contexts on the ground.
The EITI and its supporters must respond efficiently and effectively to the public’s interest in improving governance. My tenure as Chair has seen rapid change in the world and the EITI. The perceived lack of progress in tackling corruption, tax evasion and illicit financial flows has contributed to the rise of populism and economic nationalism. Transparent and strong institutions that foster good governance remain the best bulwark and remedy against this rising tide.
EITI Chair 2016-2019
Trust lies at the heart of efforts to improve extractives transparency. It is central to achieving better governance in the management of oil, gas and minerals wealth. Our work on collating, verifying and sharing data builds understanding among citizens on how their governments are using scarce natural resources. It helps them hold decision makers to account. Greater availability of data enhances the trust of investors and helps build the strong institutional frameworks that are necessary to support an improved investment climate.
The past year has been an intensive one for the EITI International Secretariat and our global network. The EITI Standard has undergone significant revisions following consultation with active contributions from all our constituencies. We supported the Board in their breakthroughs on commodity trading and contract transparency. Environmental disclosures will now be expected in EITI reporting along with gender disaggregated data. Mirroring this commitment, we have also set a clear aspiration for greater gender balance in EITI multi-stakeholder groups.
The Secretariat team has been working closely with our 52 member countries and partners to drive implementation, prepare for Validation and facilitate the shift to systematic disclosure. We have completed 24 Validations over the past 16 months. Seven countries have now been assessed as having met the EITI Standard. Validation has shown that implementing countries are making progress in regularly disclosing data and that open data is becoming the norm, in the form of information that is routinely published through government and company systems.
To support national secretariats and multi- stakeholder groups, we will put more focus on peer to peer learning, sharing best practice and facilitating trainings on the 2019 Standard and the use of open data. We intend to further strengthen capacity to access, analyse and communicate data and to enhance its relevance to decision making and for local communities. The contribution of improved disclosure to better governance and enhanced development outcomes is a fundamental test of the significance of this work.
We are paying greater attention to how we measure and communicate the EITI’s impact around the world, from how it improves revenue management in Iraq to spending priorities that benefit local communities in Madagascar. We could not have completed such a significant body of work without the active collaboration of governments, companies and civil society groups. It is a reassuring testament to the strength of the multi-stakeholder approach that lies at the heart of EITI globally.