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Africa Mining Vision - not just another initiative

The Africa Mining Vision turns five this year, but it remains an under-used initiative. Adopted in 2009 by African Heads of State and Governments, the AMV is a home-grown, continent-wide attempt to change the paradigm according to which Africa’s natural resources are mined. The vision is for ‘transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources’ and a move from the ‘extract-and-export’ model, which has its roots in colonial times, to one where the country accrues more benefits from mining, and not solely in the form of more revenues.

So far, so ambitious. But how has it fared? Since 2009 there has been the development of an Action Plan (2011) for the Vision’s implementation as well as the establishment of a body, the African Minerals Development Centre, to lead that implementation and provide strategic operational support. However, there hasn’t been local ownership on a large-scale by national governments - or indeed civil society - of the initiative and it isn’t meeting its scheduled targets. Is the AMV just another initiative, or could it play an important role in improving the continent’s natural resource management? Could it become an important advocacy tool for PWYP members to leverage as they push their governments to adopt a more transparent and open management of natural resources?

In this brief, PWYP Zimbabwe’s national coordinator Gilbert Makore highlights the need for PWYP members to use the AMV as an advocacy opportunity and examines the success and failures of the Vision in its five-year history. Mr. Makore authored the brief having attended a conference organised by Third World Network-Africa, Southern African Resource Watch and the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union (ITUC-Africa), in mid-November, that gathered 60 civil society activists and trade unionists working on AMV. The conference, held immediately before an Extraordinary Conference of African Ministers of Mineral Resources in Victoria Falls, aimed to evaluate the AMV and its implementation and discussed how to strengthen pan-African networks and increase collaboration among CSOs around the realisation of the AMV. 13 PWYP members from eight countries attended the conference. 

Campaign milestone as extractive transparency rule comes into force in the UK

On 1st December 2014, legislation came into force in the UK that obliges oil, gas and mining companies to publish what they pay on a project level basis. It derives from the EU Accounting Directive and represents the culmination of a coordinated campaign by Publish What You Pay members around the world.

This legislation means that by 2016, civil society around the world will have access to detailed payment figures that will help them follow the money - whether that takes the form of ensuring that the community local to extraction receive their allocated portion of revenues or using the information to assess whether the country is receiving a fair deal for its resources. Civil society from EITI implementing countries will gain access to complementary data that will help them make better use of EITI reports, while citizens in non-EITI countries will discover, perhaps for the first time, exactly what their government has received for their natural resources.

The UK is the first of 27 EU member states to put the EU Directive in force but other countries should follow swiftly, and have until the summer of 2015 to complete transposition. In Canada transparency rules are also on their way and project-level reporting disclosure was adopted in Norway earlier in 2014. Ironically it is in the US, where it all started with Dodd-Frank 1504 in 2010, that legislation is being slow, as the American Petroleum Institute waged a lawsuit against the rules issued by the SEC. This move by the UK shows just how out-of-touch the API is.

For more information see the PWYP UK press release and an op-ed by former MEP Arlene McCarthy.

Photo by jo_sal77 available under a Creative Commons License

How effectively is oil money being spent? PWYP Congo B investigates

For more than a decade, despite arrests and intimidations, PWYP activists in Congo-Brazzaville have been campaigning to find out how much the country receives from its oil. Despite being in the top five oil producers of Sub-Saharan Africa, almost three quarters of the population are thought to live on less than $2 a day - for PWYP Congo B, this just doesn’t add up.

The coalition has enjoyed important successes in terms of accessing and disseminating extractive data. However, although it continues in that campaign, that aspect has always been just one side of the coin. The other has been to follow the money and find out where the revenues have been going and why, if the government reports high oil revenues each year (extractive revenues make up more than 90% of the government’s revenue), the living conditions of Congolese citizens haven’t improved.

In a report launched on 3rd December, PWYP Congo-Brazzaville examined the health budgets of 2011, 2012 and 2013 and followed the money to see how proposed projects were being realised. Between December 2013 and October 2014, PWYP Congo B undertook eight field visits covering 192 projects.

The key findings made for sober reading…

  • Overall, only a small percentage of projects were complete (16%) and only 9% were functioning - buildings had been constructed but either had not yet been equipped or did not meet required standards.
  • More than half (56%) of projects listed in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 budgets had not been started.
  • 16% of projects had been abandoned and were not salvageable.

The report also highlights several important findings about the way in which the projects were decided and executed, including:

The need for an open and participatory budget process - During its investigations, the coalition discovered that 80% of projects were decided without there having been a feasibility assessment, which meant that projects were being proposed by ministers at a central level without there being enough information on how realistic the project was or whether it responded to a specific, and genuine, need. This resulted in projects that were not fit-for-purpose or top priority, for instance in Kouya the construction of a general hospital as well as a health centre, despite the fact that there are not enough people in the locality to warrant such infrastructure. The lack of feasibility assessments makes it very difficult for projects to be realistically costed and, according to PWYP Congo B’s research, the allocated budgets were often well above what the project would actually cost which begs the question of what happens to the excess in allocated funds.

The importance of a better contracting process...

Read the rest of the blog online 

Photo by Jbdodane available under a Creative Commons License


What should German implementation of EITI look like?

PWYP International Director Marinke van Riet spoke at the launch of Germany’s EITI - here is an adapted excerpt of her speech.

PWYP welcomes the adoption of EITI by Germany - it shows the world that EITI is not only for southern, but also northern countries. Moreover it is an important complement to the recent EU Transparency and Accounting Directives; not only does the EITI multistakeholder setting provide an important mechanism to discuss the domestic payments disclosed under the directives, but revenue transparency - as covered by the EU Directives - is only one part of the EITI puzzle. EITI reports disclose important contextual information. The US decided to adhere to EITI after Dodd-Frank 1504 had already been adopted by Congress.

The EITI Standard offers countries a range of different ways to implement the initiative. Here are a few recommendations for how Germany could push the EITI further:

  • In line with the UK’s implementation of EITI, Germany should make project level reporting an integral part of D-EITI. As far as PWYP is concerned this is a live requirement in the EITI Standard and we look forward to seeing project level payments being part of the first report in line with the EU directives’ definition of project.
  • Align the materiality level to that of the EU directives which is set at Euro 100,000 for the first report.
  • The UK EITI is working on a reporting template that can ideally be used for both purposes: EITI and the EU Directives. It would be great if D-EITI followed suit. 

Naturally we expect these data to follow the open definition. We are especially excited to have Open Knowledge Foundation on the MSG in D-EITI and hence have high hopes that this will indeed be the case.

Finally I heard the acronym D-EITI a couple of times today. I am aware it is spelled with a hyphen, but just for the sake of word play I looked up the definition of deity.

There are three:

  1. A god or goddess
  2. Divine status, quality or nature
  3. Creator or supreme being

In short that is one tall order D-EITI has set itself up for and this successful launch is a step in the right direction. We are looking forward to working with you in making D-EITI a success  and PWYP is ready to especially support civil society in Germany to make the EITI process fit for purpose in Germany!

Photo by zoetnet available under a Creative Commons License

A regional solution to the resource curse? ASEAN framework launched

The past decade and a half has seen a growing demand for raw commodities, rising prices and a mining boom. In Asia-Pacific this has led to a significant growth in mining with the sector being seen as a potential driver for economic development. However, it hasn’t been a straightforward case of simply getting resources out of the ground - if mineral resources are to benefit citizens, policies need to be in place for a better management of natural resources and a more transparent and accountable sector. Sometimes this might even mean leaving resources in the ground, particularly as Asia-Pacific is home to many bio-diverse and protected areas.

How should this challenge be tackled? For some years, civil society has been campaigning for more openness and, as well as helping communities get a better say over how their resources are managed, engaging in national level advocacy. This has resulted in various policy changes including the fact that several governments are now implementing EITI - in some cases, such as Indonesia, they are pursuing quite an advanced form of EITI.

Advocacy efforts directed at the national level, however, may not be enough. This is why IESR - in collaboration with other civil society organisations from the region including Bantay Kita from the Philippines and Publish What You Pay Indonesia - has been working over the past two and a half years to produce a regional framework on extractive governance. “ASEAN member countries need a strong regulatory and institution framework that ensures the management and utilisation of their resources will bring benefits for the countries and its people. These resources should be able to improve human development" explained Fabby Tumiwa, director of IESR and one of the authors of the framework.

The framework, which aligns with existing legislation produced by ASEAN, is based on four pillars: the protection of the environment, the respect and protection of human rights, adoption of transparent and accountable practices and a sound fiscal framework. The framework is intended to be adopted by ASEAN and at the country level, where multi-stakeholder groups will draw up and implement an action plan. Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR and Chair of PWYP Indonesia explained that, “We are expecting two or three country assessments to be started by next year so we can report the results and share lessons learned to the upcoming ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Mineral (AMMIn) by the end of 2015”. Watch this space!

The framework is available here in English. 

Job Opps

Publish What You Pay - Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinator

Publish What You Pay seeks an Asia-Pacific Regional 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. In doing so, the Asia-Pacific Coordinator will work closely with national coalitions to reinforce their strategic and organisational capacities, their advocacy approaches and their ability to engage constructively with governments, parliaments, companies and other civil society groups to advance PWYP Vision 20/20 and in particular, to implement the regional advocacy strategy.

Deadline: 15 January 2015

To find out more visit the PWYP site


Global Witness - Executive Director

Global Witness is seeking an Executive Director to run the organisation and its pioneering investigations and campaigns.
This is a full-on, full-time role for an exceptional leader who, in conjunction with an excellent senior management team, can blend outstanding management of campaigns, finance, fundraising and communications to run an extraordinary and impactful organisation.
You will have experience of dealing both in high-level advocacy on an international stage, and in managing either an international NGO or a significant part of a large international NGO.

Deadline: 5 January 2015

For more information, please visit the Global Witness website.