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Publish What You Pay 

Email Update February 22nd 2012
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Fighting for transparency - a week of activism! 

PWYP members in the US have been incredibly busy these past couple of weeks, ramping up the fight against big oil in the battle for transparency.

Why this concerted flurry of activity? In June 2010 - a year and a half ago - President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law. Section 1504 of the Act, also known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, obliges extractive companies listed in the US to publish what they pay to the governments in which they operate. However, the rules for this provision have still not been published, despite a deadline that passed 301 days ago. Worse still, oil and gas companies are lobbying hard to water down this legislation and the American Petroleum Institute - of whom companies like Shell and ExxonMobil are members - have even threatened to sue the SEC if they publish effective rules.

PWYP members in the US decided to tell big oil that enough is enough. In fact, a massive round of congratulations is in order for each of our colleagues in the US. Their spectacular stunts, blogs and ads have dominated the last couple of weeks, with new articles and letters to the SEC constantly flooding in. To see what you can do to help, see the list of actions below. 



Love is in the air? Washington DC

“Are oil companies asking for a sweetheart deal from the Securities and Exchange Commission?” On 10th of February, Oxfam America activists staged an event in Washington DC.  Three activists, dressed in rather debonair pyjamas, clutching roses and champagne flutes, posed in a bed outside the building wearing logos to represent ExxonMobil, Chevron and the SEC. The event generated a good amount of coverage, as well as on the radio during the morning commute. View more photos here. 


Monkeys in a barrel - Houston

On the 15th of February, Oxfam America activists gathered again to stage an event – this time outside the Chevron tower in Houston.  Dressed up as the ‘see no evil, do no evil’ monkeys – also bearing the company logos of Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil – the three ‘monkeys in a barrel’ were there to remind that “Transparency is Not Monkey Business”! You can see more photos here.

As well as staging events, Oxfam America and other PWYP members took out a 6 figure ad campaign to highlight big oil’s battle against transparency. There was a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal as well as online banners in the Huffington Post, The Hill, Politico and Washington Post.

Bill Gates writes to SEC supporting transparency law

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates wrote to the SEC to support “strong and robust rules” for Section 1504. Gates emphasised the importance of project-level reporting and stated that “any exemption from reporting payments to governments that object to such disclosure would defeat a primary purpose of the law”.
Bill Gates was not the only powerful voice to press the SEC to publish effective rules for Dodd-Frank 1504. Fourteen House Representatives, led by Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), also wrote to the SEC, expressing their concern at the delay in the rules publications. The Representatives urged the SEC to “resist this [company] pressure and promptly release a strong and effective final rule” 

              activistsallstuntBIS 2

Love truth, love transparency - London

Activism for transparency wasn't just happening in the US this week. On a cold Monday morning Publish What You Pay activists from CAFOD, ONE and Tearfund in London gathered outside the Ministry of Business to demonstrate their support for transparency in the extractive sector. Dressed up as miners, activists handed out Valentine themed campaign leaflets (which combined “tips for a healthy relationship” with the importance of transparency in the extractive sector. To find out how see the leaflet here) and posed with a giant ‘love truth’ love heart.

The coalition members were calling on the support of the new lead Minister, Norman Lamb MP, who will be representing the UK in Brussels during negotiations on transparency rules for extractive industries. These new transparency regulations were first proposed by the European Commission in October 2011, and would oblige all European listed (and large non-listed) extractive companies to publish what they pay in each country where they operate. This will allow citizens from resource rich countries to see – often for the first time – what payments are being made for their resources. They can start to track the money, holding their governments accountable to ensure that the money goes towards education and health, rather than being lost to mismanagement and corruption.


What can you do?

The past couple of weeks have seen a flurry of activity and there are many opportunities for people to join in our campaign and help ensure effective transparency laws are passed. To make sure you don’t miss out, the various actions are below:

Tell big oil companies: it’s time to come clean.
Oil companies including Chevron, Exxon and ConocoPhillips have threatened to sue the SEC to stop strong transparency rules being passed. With enough outcry we can stop this. Sign Oxfam America’s petition now

Ask the SEC not to bow down to pressure from big oil
Tell the SEC to approve the final rules for the crucial Cardin-Lugar amendment, with no exemptions and no loopholes. Sign ONE’s petition now.


Ask your MEP for strong transparency rules for oil, gas and mining companies

Last October, the European Commission published proposals which would oblige extractive companies in the EU to publish what they pay to the governments where they operate. With this information, communities will be able to follow the money and have a say over how it is spent, finally benefiting from their own natural resources. These rules are going through the European legislative process, it is crucial that they are strengthened and adopted. Sign Tearfund’s pan-European petition and act now.

Tell European leaders to stand up to corporate pressure to reduce transparency

Multinational companies have been lobbying hard against effective new transparency measures in the European Union. Sign ONE’s petition and call on European leaders to stand up to corporate lobbying and end the secret deals.

Ask Chancellor George Osborne and Norman Lamb MP to open up the books

Join CAFOD’s action and ask Chancellor George Osborne and Norman Lamb MP to support strong transparency legislation at the EU level.

Saying one thing and doing another? Civil society highlights companies’ hypocrisy

How can companies consistently show off their transparency credentials (whether through articles or in emphasising their EITI membership), while undermining transparency legislation? How can they sit at the EITI table and at the same time sign a letter threatening to sue the SEC if it publishes effective transparency rules?
Two blogs this week explored this issue, Transparency: the hypocrisy of big oil by Oxfam America and Transparency is for life, not just for PR, by Publish What You Pay.

PWYP Zimbabwe strategy meeting

The PWYP Zimbabwe Chapter, established in August 2011, held a two day Strategic Planning meeting on the 15th - 16th of February. The meeting was attended by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on environment, mining, debt and development and human rights.  Other stakeholders included the Zimbabwe Mining Revenue Transparency (ZMRT) Initiative Secretariat, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Community Based Organisations (CBOs) from mining districts and media representatives and PWYP Tanzania representative.
The objectives of the strategic planning were : to understand the problems affecting the mining sector in Zimbabwe as a result of limited transparency and accountability ; to develop strategies that will enable the PWYP Zimbabwe Chapter to become operational and to develop a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to govern internal and external norms and procedures
The meeting achieved these goals and more, as the coalition has now been operationalized with a draft Vision, Mission Statement and Advocacy Issues and Strategies. A committee will be set up soon to develop an MOU for the Chapter. The coalition will be used as a vehicle for training and capacity building, awareness raising and mobilization of stakeholders to help with the implementation of the ZMRT Initiative and eventually the EITI.
The Government has launched the Zimbabwe Mining Revenue Transparency (ZMRT) initiative, which is a localized version of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and based on the EITI principle.  The ZMRT Oversight Group will be meeting on 23rd of February to set up the Multi Stake Holder Group (MSG). CSOs and CBOs who are members of the PWYP Zimbabwe Chapter will be allocated three seats on the MSG.

Thanks to Mutuso Dhilwayo for his contribution!

19th EITI Board meeting

Sussex - On 14th – 15th February, the EITI held its 19th board meeting in Sussex in the UK. Peru and Mauritania were declared compliant countries, while Cameroon and Kazakhstan had their candidate statuses renewed for 18 months.

Clare Short, Chair of the EITI Board, congratulated Peru and Mauritania stating that : “Peru is a leader in natural resource transparency in Latin America, in particular in disclosing payments at the local as well as at the national level. Mauritania has overcome challenging circumstances and demonstrated sustained commitment and leadership in their EITI. I would like to congratulate the government, civil society organisations and companies that have driven the processes in both countries. I welcome Peru’s commitment to advanced transparency regionally, and Mauritania’s plans to expand their EITI into fisheries.”

You can find out more by reading this press release from the EITI Secretariat.

EU-Africa High Level Meeting – what the experts said

On 26th January 2012 a high-level conference took place in Brussels. Organised by the EU-Africa Partnership on Raw Materials, the focus was on how to translate mineral resource wealth into real development for Africa.
A group of experts on the topic gave their recommendations; we’ve highlighted a couple of points below and you can go to our website to read the whole document.
They reminded that the benefits of transparency went beyond anti-corruption, and was also “a means to ensuring increased revenue for governments and providing a level-playing field for investors”. Transparency should also be fostered along the whole extractive industry chain and that “the EITI should consider expanding its scope in this regard”
Regarding contract transparency experts stated that “standard mining contracts should be publically-available” and that “the awarding of contracts… through open competitive tendering processes” would be a way to ensure transparency.