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In Brief

Some of the members of the Global Steering Committee

Sierra Leone’s latest EITI report reveals that extractive revenues are growing fast, the next task at hand is to ensure these revenues are used to benefit all citizens.

PWYP’s Global and Africa Steering Committees met in Paris at the end of January. We will have the minutes up online over the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime you can check out photos of the meeting online.

The WoMin site has launched! Full of great resources on the impact of the extractives on gender, you can visit it here. 

Day of solidarity with Niger – Act now!

Take thirty seconds of your time to sign this petition to help Niger get a fair deal for its resources.

The story of Niger and AREVA has featured heavily in our newsletters, but that’s because it is such a crucial issue. Niger is at the bottom of the human development index table while being the world’s fourth largest producer of uranium. Niger’s uranium fuels one light bulb out of three, while 90% of its citizens have no access to electricity. Since AREVA started exploiting Niger’s uranium 40 years ago Nigerien citizens have never had a fair deal for their resources. It’s as simple as that.

Finally, Niger has the opportunity to turn things around and get justly compensated for their uranium. But AREVA refuse to accept that the Mining Code of 2006 applies to them. The French government is an 80% shareholder of AREVA – it has a responsibility in ensuring its company behaves impeccably.

Sign this petition calling on AREVA to negotiate its contract with Niger without resorting to blackmail and to ensure that Nigerien citizens finally benefit from their natural resources.

Today we are holding an online solidarity day with our activists in Niger. Show your support by tweeting and sharing the petition! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #fairAREVAdeal

Feel free to use any of the tweets below if you want to circulate the petition online! 

  • For Niger, a historic opportunity to finally get a fair deal for its resources http://bit.ly/1kdnH3o #fairAREVAdeal
  • Uranium sales boost Areva 2013 revenue but Areva still bargains down its taxes in Niger. Unacceptable? Act now! http://bit.ly/1kdnH3o
  • Shouldn’t one of the world’s poorest countries get a fair deal for its resources? Act now! http://bit.ly/1kdnH3o  #Niger #fairAREVAdeal
  • Niger is the world’s 4th largest uranium producer but 2nd poorest country. It needs a better deal. http://bit.ly/1kdnH3o   #fairAREVAdeal

To find out more, please visit our coalition page on Niger or read this special report  from Reuters.

PWYP Mali fighting for fair taxation

Our vision is for a world where all citizens benefit from their natural resources. As part of this we have campaigned for companies to publish what they pay – so that citizens can follow the money and hold their government to account.

But a crucial part in ensuring that citizens benefit from their natural resources is ensuring that companies are paying the right amount of tax and that governments are properly collecting this tax.

A focus on fair and effective taxation is key to ensuring the mobilisation of domestic resources which developing countries desperately need. It was to this end that Oxfam Novib and Tax Justice Network Africa launched the Capacity for Research Advocacy for Fair Taxation (CRAFT) Programme in June 2012.

Through the strengthening of civil society, the building of alliances and advocating for tax reform this project supports the campaign for fairer tax in a range of countries, including, in Africa, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Uganda, Ghana and Egypt.

It is as part of this project that PWYP Mali travelled to Senegal in January 2014, in an exchange visit to learn from the experiences of their colleagues. They met with Forum Civil, Transparency International’s Senegalese chapter, as well as with various government representatives, including from customs and tax departments. As well as being able to share experiences and lessons learned with civil society, the experience with customs officials proved particularly useful, as one delegate stated that Mali could learn from Senegal’s revision of its Customs Code.

For PWYP Mali, whose activists want Mali’s gold to shine bright for everyone, campaigning for fair and effective taxation is a crucial step to realising their goals.

To find out more, visit the PWYP Mali page.

PWYP condemns restriction of civil society freedom in Azerbaijan

Image by Matthew Hadley taken from Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License.

While Azerbaijan may hold the record of having the most number of EITI reports published, it also holds the less envious accolade of being the EITI country with the highest number of imprisoned activists.

The situation has steadily deteriorated over the past few years, with arbitrary arrests, the breaking up of peaceful demonstrations and an increasing number of laws being passed which restrict fundamental freedoms.

Yet things can still get worse – as the Azeri Parliament demonstrated last December when it passed a series of rules restricting civil society’s ability to campaign. The amendments to the NGO Act strengthen the government’s control and impose onerous bureaucratic obstacles – the non-compliance of which could lead to arrests or closure – and severely restricts their activities.

A key principle of implementing the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative is that a country must have an environment in which civil society is free to campaign – this evidently is not the case.

PWYP condemns this turn of events which jeopardises the country’s EITI compliant status...

...Read our full statement online.

Tunisia’s constitution includes key provisions on transparency!

Image by Tounsi Ben Tounsi taken from Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License.

In some very good news, the new Tunisian constitution includes key transparency provisions concerning the management of natural resources. Read this blog from the Revenue Watch Institute for more on the story.

On Sunday, January 26, three years after the revolution, Tunisia’s parliament (the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly (or NCA) voted the country’s new constitution into law.

In the preceding week, with the help of strong mobilization among civil society, a number of NCA members secured the passage of several constitutional articles that:

• Ensure that the state “strives for proper management of natural resources.” (Article 12)
•  Underscore that “natural resources belong to the Tunisian people.” (Article 13)
• Stipulate that natural resource contracts need to be ratified by the NCA. (Article 13)

Article 136 also allows for the possibility of allocating a percentage of natural resources to advancing regional development and regional management of resources.

Despite ultimate support from an overwhelming majority, many of these articles were the subject of controversy and failed to pass in their stronger original formulations. Article 13 would have required the publication of all contracts and Article 136 the guaranteed allocation of a percentage of natural resources to advancing regional development.

Still, the constitution introduces a number of transparency and accountability provisions absent from its predecessor document; these include the state’s commitments to anti-corruption (Article 10), sustainable development and regional equity (Articles 12 and 129), impartiality and accountability in public administration (Article 15), and also citizens’ right to information (Article 32).

… Read the rest of the blog online …

Training for African Women working on the extractives - Call for applications

From March 31 – April 4 2014, the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), with Akina Mama WA Afrika (AMwA), is holding a training for African Women working on oil and gas issues. The training,  “Economic Justice for Women working in the Oil and Gas sector”, seeks to ‘strengthen the capacities of African women to effectively influence related policies and build a regional network of women in the extractive industry in Nigeria, Liberia and Ghana’.

The training will take place in Accra, Ghana. For more information and how to apply, please visit the Wacsi website.

Job Opportunities

Publish What You Pay is hiring!

The Publish What You Pay Secretariat is looking for an East & Southern Africa Coordinator to provide dedicated support for coalition-building, advocacy, communications and outreach in the region.

The primary remit of this position is to support the efforts of national coalitions in their advocacy for stronger transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.

The East & Southern Africa Coordinator will be based with one of the strategic partners or hosting organisations of the East & Southern Africa coalitions. S/he will report to the Africa Programme Manager.

To find out more about how to apply, please visit our website.

Deadline for applications – 28 February 2014