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In Brief

Azerbaijani civil society meet in Istanbul to prep for early Validation

On 5th - 7th December, the Azerbaijan EITI NGO Coalition members participated in a pre-validation workshop in Istanbul. The purpose of this workshop, which included sessions from EITI experts and members of the EITI Secretariat, was to prepare the coalition for the early Validation scheduled for Azerbaijan in January. As a result of the restrictions on civil society freedoms in Azerbaijan, the EITI International Board decided at its last meeting in October that the country should undergo pre-validation as well as an assessment on whether Azerbaijan had implemented the three corrective measures outlined by the board.

The sessions in this workshop prepped coalition members on what to expect from the early validation and what the EITI would look at, and how, so that they could be ready to help ensure that the early validation is carried out fairly and effectively. This type of preparation - both in terms of capacity building and strategising - will help the coalition do all they can so that the outcome of the early validation marks a progressive step for the country and in particular its civil society. The situation in Azerbaijan has been very difficult for civil society, as the government's repression of its freedoms has continued unabated.

Human Rights Council seeks contributions on freedoms of assembly and association 

UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai 'plans to focus on the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the context of the exploitation of natural resources' for his next report to the Human Rights Council due July 2015. 

The Human Rights Council are looking for first-hand accounts on the challenges people face in exercising their rights in this context. You can find more information and how to contribute here. Our Eurasia regional coordinator Oliana Valigura participated in an experts meeting on the issue held in Bangkok. 

Deadline is 31st January 2015. 

France adopts publish what you pay law


The French Parliament this week adopted mandatory disclosure rules that will oblige extractive companies to publish what they pay. These rules, which come into effect on the 1st January 2015, represent France’s transposition of the EU Accounting and Transparency Directives - the UK has already started its implementation and the rest of the EU member states must complete transposition by the summer of 2015.

So, in 2016 civil society activists around the world will have access to how much companies such as AREVA and TOTAL have been paying their governments for their natural resources.  For Brice Mackosso, PWYP coordinator of Congo Brazzaville, this is an important milestone, “This law is a forward step for transparency in Africa. We will be able to get details of payments made to our government by companies such as TOTAL. This will allow us to hold our country to account so that oil revenues benefit everyone. These reports will be freely available on the internet and it is important that they are published in an open and usable format”.

Some campaigners in France, however, were disappointed that the French parliamentarians did not take the opportunity of this transposition to call for extractive companies to also publish their implementation figures country by country - this would have been immensely useful in the campaign to track illicit financial flows and is already a disclosure required of banks in France.

Nevertheless, this marks an important victory for extractive transparency and sends another signal to the API - who waged a lawsuit against similar rules in the US - that the era of secrecy is at an end.

Image by David McKelvey available under a Creative Commons License

Cautious success in Canada

Canada this week passed a law requiring oil, gas and mining companies to publish (on an annual basis) the taxes, royalties and other payments that they make to countries where they operate. While this is welcome news indeed, Canadian civil society was cautious in its celebration- the legislation hasn’t stipulated that payments need to be published on a country-by-country nor a project-by-project basis, and it has created the possibility in the future for the introduction of exemptions so that companies working in particularly corrupt countries will not be required to publish their payments. The EU, in their extractive transparency legislation, specifically did not allow for exemptions - not least because this tyrant’s veto encourages a race-to-the bottom and create perverse incentives for resource-rich governments.

The details of the legislation - such as how much of the companies’ reports are publicly available or what level of reporting is required  - will now be decided by a multi-stakeholder administrative process before the Act (The Extractive Sector Transparency Act) comes into force in June 2015. Payments will begin to be available in May/June 2017.

“For data-users in the more than 100 countries where Canadian extractive companies are active, Canada must ensure a strong reporting standard, aligned with global best practice. This includes public project-level reporting of payments with no exemptions.”

Read PWYP Canada's press release. 

Image by Alex Indigo available on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Indonesia - riding the wave of open data

By PWYP Indonesia's Jensi Sartin and Rizky Ananda Wulan Sapta Rini. Read the full article on our website

Indonesia, a nation used to limiting the free flow of information as a consequence of a 32-year dictatorship, has now reached the era of openness. The Public Information Disclosure Act was ratified in 2008 and since then, Indonesian citizens are guaranteed access to public information, including information that used to be locked away. Indonesia also has adopted a global initiative to improve transparency and accountability within extractive industries, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Indonesia was even declared  the first ‘EITI Compliant’ country of ASEAN. Moving further, Indonesia also supports the Open Data initiative by providing accessible, usable, and machine readable data in a data platform called “data.id”. But as is common in developing countries, data utilization in Indonesia is still low as people aren’t yet aware of its benefits.

Using this momentum, two months ago Publish What You Pay Indonesia, a coalition of CSOs focusing on transparency and accountability in extractive sector, held a capacity building event to raise awareness on data utilization for advocacy work, especially in the extractive sector. This was done through the sharing of five skills in working with data, including effective and accurate methods of finding and getting data, procedures on cleaning up messy data, tools for analyzing data, the principles of data visualization and the success story on data-driven advocacy. Around 25 people, representing CSOs around Indonesia, participated in this two-days training. Not only did they enjoy the training, but they also raised a bunch of interesting questions on how data usage can really improve advocacy work.

Recently, there has been some exciting data news from all over Indonesia. The Indigenous community of Talang Mamak, living near extractive site in the tropical rainforest in the regency of Indragiri Hulu, Riau Province, Indonesia were able to gain access to the environmental impact assessment document. Some CSOs can also now access documents showing regional spending...

Read the rest of the blog online

“Smart men run for the truth, not for money”

By Asmara Klein

“I am a patriot” says Akmal Rustamovich, a 25 year old international relations student, whose organisation GIV-Accent joined the PWYP-Tajikistan coalition in 2013. Proud of his country where 60% of the population is aged under 30, Akmal is part of a small team that runs GIV-Accent. Based in Khujand city, in the Northern part of the country, this NGO was founded in 2002 to familiarise young people with democratic values and political practices through debate clubs, educational workshops or by training groups of young people to act as observers during general elections, such as those coming up to elect a new Parliament in February 2015.

Raising awareness among the youth about their right to vote and their duties as citizens has been Akmal’s passion since he started studying and became acquainted with critical thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson, to whom he delightfully referred to explain the rationale behind his organisation’s work: “What does democracy mean? It means that citizens are free to develop their independent mind.” Unfortunately, in Central Asia this does not come naturally, Akmal believes, and this is why his organisation’s work is crucial in educating capable and informed citizens. This is also the reason why GIV-Accent decided to affiliate with the PWYP coalition established in Tajikistan in 2011. “We are a very rich country. We have gold, silver, uranium… a lot of water. Tajikistan has a lot of potential” claims Akmal who wants to “open young people’s eyes about our natural resources.”

Indeed, information is key to a healthy relationship between a government and its people because without information, citizens are not able to hold their decision-makers to account and ensure that the latter enact policies that are in the country’s best interest. In a resource rich country like Tajikistan, this particularly applies to the extractive sector. Yet, secrecy has so far prevailed. “Truth must be the priority of a democracy” argues Akmal who supports PWYP’s ambitious Vision 20/20 and initiatives like the EITI, which will allow the Tajik population to know exactly how much natural resource extraction contributes to the state budget. In particular, Akmal welcomes Tajikistan’s decision to take part in the beneficial ownership disclosure pilot, whereby the real owners of extractive companies operating in Tajikistan will be made public: “It’s very strategic, it will allow young people to do their own analysis, to unveil for instance any politically exposed person who owns extractive licenses in Tajikistan. Politicians will become fearful of those who speak the truth.” Living in an age of information, Akmal believes that freedom comes from widening one’s knowledge through access to information: “Smart men run for the truth, not for money.”

Who were the transparency champions of 2014?

A light-hearted look at some of the victors in this year's fight for transparency. This list is not meant to be exhaustive! If you'd like to add anything, hop on over to our blog and say your piece in the comments section. 


The UK and France - The entente cordiale were the first two EU member states to put into effect mandatory disclosure laws that oblige extractive companies to publish what they pay. The UK just pips France to the post though, as it also managed to be accepted as a candidate country to the EITI.

Solidarity - When our members in Niger were arrested last July, PWYP members came together to support them. Whether it was sharing press contacts, making calls to the Quai d’Orsay or spreading the message, this showed how strong PWYP is when united. Our arrested activists were freed.

Azerbaijan civil society - Our members in civil society have continued to campaign in the most difficult of circumstances, we applaud them for their courage and tenacity.

Tullow Oil - An oil company among the transparency winners? We’re not completely biased, and Tullow certainly deserves recognition for having been the first oil company to disclose its payments on a project level basis, placing it ahead of the curve and in good stead for when the EU Directives come into force.

Canada has had quite the year- kicking off with a pledge to introduce mandatory disclosure laws by 2015 and wrapping up with the adoption of the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, which will oblige extractive companies to publish their payments! There's work to do next year to ensure the details of the Act make for a strong rule, but we're looking forward to seeing what 2015 will bring.

Slipping down the table?

The USA, once a leader in extractive transparency, risks losing this status. As countries around the world implement mandatory disclosure rules, the US’ law - which inspired other countries - remains on the SEC shelf. PWYP calls for a swift publication of these laws. 

Relegation zone

API - The American Petroleum Institute continues to wage war against Dodd-Frank 1504, which obliges all US listed oil, gas and mining companies to publish what they pay to governments around the world. This, despite the fact that similar - and in some aspects stronger - legislation has been adopted by Norway and the EU member states.

Shell - A vigorous supporter of the API lawsuit against Dodd-Frank 1504 and suggested to the SEC that the UK could change key aspects of the EU Directive. But, as Global Witness explains, 'The EU's not for turning'. 

Job Opp

Publish What You Pay - Project Transition Manager 

Publish What You Pay/OSF is seeking a Transition Project Manager who would be able to implement the operational aspects of the transition process outlined above, and oversee the entire transition itself through close liaison with PWYP’s International Director, Marinke van Riet, the Transition Committee, an independent consultant and with the various departments within OSF.

For more information visit our website