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In Brief

  • On Saturday 29 March, citizens in Niamey marched for fiscal justice and a fair deal. In particular, they called for AREVA and the Nigerien government to respect the 2006 mining code in the current negotiations on uranium extraction. The contracts will be signed imminently – keep an eye out on our site for updates. Read our press release.
  • Civil society members on the EITI board released a statement concerning Ethiopia’s candidacy to the initiative. They called on all members of the EITI board to monitor Ethiopia’s candidacy and ensure that the country creates a space where civil society can operate.
  • Our MENA regional coordinator, Diana Kaissy, was interviewed on the growing involvement of Lebanese civil society in the management of their natural resources.
  • From 26 - 28 March, the PWYP Asia-Pacific forum took place in Manila, Philippines. 150 delegates from 14 countries in the region attended - from Nepal to Australia. We will soon be posting blogs, photos and a report from this forum, so keep your eyes peeled.

Giving civil society a voice at the local level - subnational governance in Kazakhstan

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative can be a useful instrument for civil society to become part of the decision making process. When civil society has a space to operate, participation in EITI can help it have a seat at the table and a say that has the same value as that of governments and companies. The multi-stakeholder group (MSG) within the EITI structure is a platform that secures a comprehensive dialogue between state, companies and civil society. This approach has proved a useful practice at the national level in numerous countries – why not apply it at the sub-national level too?

This is what civil society in Kazakhstan discussed on 27-28 February at a conference on EITI implementation at the sub-national level.

Both government representatives and civil society believe that constructive dialogue at the subnational level is lacking between parties. Stronger coordination is also needed to better communicate EITI reports to citizens. Participants at the conference noted that the new EITI Standard is a potential source for social stability and the prevention of conflict. The inclusion of project-level reporting in particular could offer invaluable information for civil society at the local level. Participants outlined a plan for the establishment of sub-national MSG in Mangystau, an oil-rich province in the south-west of the country.

Local civil society, representing the interests of citizens, needs better access to decision making at the sub-national level…

… Read the rest of the blog online.

Guinea - how to better benefit from natural resources through mining reform

Like many African countries, Guinea has embarked on a reform of its mining legislation, not only to bring it in line with good governance practices in the sector but also to take better advantage of its natural resources. The country developed a new mining code in 2011, which was amended in 2013.

Guinea’s approach to revising its mining code was innovative in that it involved consultation with civil society organisations (an approach which is line with the Publish What You Pay value chain).  Once the Publish What You Pay-Guinea coalition had analysed the various aspects of the reform of the sector, the coalition broadened the discussion to other civil society organisations at a workshop held in Conakry from 14 to 16 January 2014. The meeting provided an opportunity to examine the various implementing decrees and make proposals to the government for amendments.

As far as the issue of mining permits and authorisations was concerned, the participants noted that there was a significant lack of detail with regard to the tendering process for research permits, notably in “areas of known deposits”.

Another weakness in the reform…

… Read the rest of the blog online.

Coalition in Ukraine joins Publish What You Pay

Photo by Dmitry Mokshin from Flickr Creative Commons.

In January, PWYP gained a new national coalition in Ukraine when the Global Steering Commitee accepted their application. We haven’t publicised it, because we were wary of brandishing our news while the country was going through tumultuous times, but now feel that we shouldn’t wait longer. Therefore, we are thrilled to welcome the “Energotransparency” Association, composed of ten organisations working on transparency and accountability in the extractives, as our affiliated coalition in Ukraine.

While Ukraine is perhaps most famous for being a transit country for natural gas, providing 18 European countries with Russian gas, it also has natural resources of its own. The country is rich in coal but also other minerals such as uranium, manganese and iron ore. The mining sector contributes 11% to the GDP. There is potential for oil too, with deposits lying in the Black Sea.

The importance of transit revenues to Ukraine is such that the country was the first to include transit revenues in its EITI reporting template, thanks to lobbying from civil society. Indeed, civil society has been very active on the question of natural resources in Ukraine. Activists pushed hard for Ukraine to join EITI – convincing stakeholders of the importance of joining the initiatives through various discussions, round tables and press conferences. The coalition also conducted research on the necessary changes to the Ukrainian legislation in order to implement EITI. Activists also studied examples of best EITI practices in other countries to ensure an effective implementation and campaigned to create public ownership of the issue through awareness raising and advocacy.

This year, Energotransparency…

...read the rest of the blog online.

How can we ensure citizens are fairly compensated for their land?

With thanks to PWYP Uganda's Rukiya Makuma for this article!

Compensations are always a contentious issue and more complicated when it comes to situations where land ownership is communal – the  Hoima district is one such example. The discovery of oil in the Albertine region created the need for more land acquisitions to set up an oil refinery, pipeline, access roads and other supportive infrastructure for the oil industry and to achieve this some people had to be displaced.  Available information indicates that over 7000 residents of Kabaale Hoima District will be compensated and relocated to pave way for the construction of the oil refinery.

But the issue of compensation has proved most difficult, and the unavailability of titles and the patriarchal society which makes it hard for women to own land in the area has only made the situation more complicated.

The people who have been given compensations have complained that they have received little money for their much valued property, and that they were not consulted in the decision making processes concerning the land.

Because the country lacks a compensation policy, government has had to quote various legislations to justify the takeover of the mentioned land. In Hoima, Government has had to draft the Resettlement Action Plan to help in giving out compensations which is also has its own shortcomings…

Read the rest of the blog online.

Tullow Oil leads on implementing EU directives by publishing project level data

Last week, Tullow Oil became the first oil company to ever publish its payments at a project level. This move anticipates the EU disclosure rules that are currently being transposed by member countries.

You can find out more about this in the excerpts of our press release below. Go online to read the whole thing.

Tullow Oil has become the first oil company to voluntarily publish its payments to governments on a project-level basis. The payment disclosures, which are in line with recent EU Directives, were published today in Tullow Oil’s annual report.

The Publish What You Pay coalition applauds this move, which places Tullow Oil at the vanguard of the growing and global consensus for detailed revenue transparency and will generate crucial information for civil society and investors.

“As Uganda gears towards commercial oil production, citizens' main concern is ensuring the responsible management of our natural resources. However, accessing information about what companies pay and for what is the hardest challenge we are currently confronted with,”explained Winnie Ngabiirwe, national coordinator of the PWYP Uganda coalition.

Ms. Ngabiirwe continued, “How can we organise a campaign if we don’t have facts to base it on? With the hard data we can hold our government – whether at the local or national level - to account for how they have spent the revenues and check that extractive companies are paying a fair price for the resources they extract.

The openness exhibited by Tullow Oil is commendable and should be emulated by both governments and other companies.”

Although Tullow Oil is the first extractive company to go so far in the transparency of its payments, it is by no means an outlier...

Read the rest of the release online