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Companies in the EU to publish their payments to government!

On 9th April 2013, the EU agreed to an historic law which will oblige all EU listed (and large non-listed) extractive companies to publish their payments to the governments in which they operate.

This will be done on a project and country basis, meaning that communities will – sometimes for the first time – be able to see just how much revenue local extraction generates. With this information activists, journalists and local representatives will be armed with the tools to ensure their community receives a fair share of the benefits. They will also be able to ensure that these revenues are responsibly spent, to the benefit of all citizens rather than the few.

Companies will be obliged to publish any payment over €100,000 and there will be no exemptions.

These laws follow on the footsteps of similar legislation in the US, Dodd-Frank 1504, which covers US listed companies. Between them, the EU and the US cover 73% of the global value of extractive companies. Important new frontiers in the pursuit of global mandatory disclosure rules include Australia and Canada.

Publish What You Pay was launched ten years ago with the express design of obliging companies to publish what they pay. This deal brings us closer to that goal, and closer to better natural resource governance around the globe.

The EU legislation will be officially passed in the next couple of months and payments should start being published in 2015. Our members are preparing themselves for the release of this information, so they can use it judiciously to translate transparency into accountability.

We would like to thank all our members for their tireless campaigning and hard work. This fantastic outcome shows us just how much is possible when you work as a coalition!

What to find out more about the legislation? Read our Q & A

You can also read our press release as well as press releases from our members, including Global WitnessCAFOD and Global Financial Integrity (this is only a small selection of the press releases!)

Media round-up

VIEWPOINT: Transparency laws will release money to tackle poverty (TrustLaw)

INSTANT VIEWS: EU lawmakers back strong extractive transparency law (TrustLaw)

European Union reaches deal on tough oil, gas anti-corruption law (Reuters)

EU seals deal to boost transparency of oil, gas and logging firms (The Guardian)

EU Agrees on Rules for Oil, Mining Companies (Wall Street Journal) 

Sen. Cardin: EU oil, mining disclosure rules create unity with US (The Hill)

The extractive industry - what impact on women?

While many of us are familiar with the narrative of the resource curse – lost opportunities for growth, corruption and even conflict – we are not always aware of how the extractive sector has a unique impact on women. Women tend to be affected by the sector in different ways to the rest of society. As land is used for extraction rather than agriculture, they lose their livelihood and do not benefit from the jobs created by the project .

Women are also put at risk of violence and sexual diseases with the influx of transient workers with new levels of disposable cash.

But women aren’t victims sitting on the sidelines. They react to the arrival of extractive industries, adapting where they can. When they lose their livelihood, they adopt other income generating activities.

Yet it could be so much more. Women are currently excluded from having a say in the management of their natural resources. They do not have a seat at the table in negotiations, so are unable to voice their concerns and have their interests defended. In compensation schemes they are often left out, as companies deal with males in the community.

How can we even think of improving natural resource governance if half of the population is not involved?

There has been some stellar work done on this question, carried out by among other Oxfam Australia and the World Bank. Recently, Publish What You Pay has – in partnership with UN women – also decided to work on the issue.

Gender plays an important role in the promotion of transparency and accountability. When we talk about disseminating and using information, we need to ensure that women citizens too are the users of that information. That they too have access to the data and are empowered to use it.

The first step in the UN Women and PWYP partnership was a ministerial level workshop in Dar Es Salaam in the first week of April. Representatives from civil society, governments and the United Nations met to discuss how to integrate gender issues with good governance of natural resources all along the value chain.

You can read UN Women and PWYP’s joint press release  on the topic

For press on the event, see this article from Voice of America Tanzania Meeting Focuses on Protecting Women from Natural Resource 'Curse '

Joining hands: UN Women and PWYP to fight the resource curse together

This photo came from photobucket

This blog originally appeared on Trust Law

When we think of the extractive industries, what comes to mind?  A discovery of untold wealth, changing lives overnight? Young male workers, flying in to remote locations to earn big salaries on oil rigs or down mine shafts?

Or instead, corruption, civil war and conflict diamonds - the misery of the resource curse. These images are seared into the public consciousness, but the truth is that the vast majority of people directly affected by extractive industries aren’t Texan billionaires or despots in dark sunglasses. They are women and their children.
Publish What You Pay and UN Women have formed a partnership to address the unique and specific impact of extractives on women. While natural resources can be a blessing, for many women they fail to deliver.

Extractive projects often take up land that was originally used for farming. As women represent over 70 per cent of the agricultural workforce in sub-Saharan Africa, they are exceptionally vulnerable to these changes.

This is often exacerbated by a surge in the price of basic products. Many of us have read about how the extractive industry drives up prices in cities, from Luanda to Perth, but the issue takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to communities and families local to extraction

For more information on the partnership and on the event, you can read this blog from UN Women and PWYP.

.. . click here to read the rest of the blog

Publish What You Pay denounces the verdict against Marc Ona

Publish What You Pay’s Global and Africa Steering Committee members are concerned and outraged at the court’s verdict in Gabon of a six-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of five million CFA (approximately U$10,000) for Marc Ona Essangui. Marc Ona was accused of defamation following a complaint from Mr. Liban Soleman, the Chief of Staff serving HE Mr Ali Bongo, President of Gabon.

Marc Ona is an environmental activist and lifelong campaigner for transparency and good governance. As Executive Secretary of Brainforest, an environmental NGO in Gabon, Marc was awarded the prestigious Goldman Prize in 2009. Marc is the national coordinator of the Publish What You Pay coalition in Gabon, and an elected member on the PWYP Global Steering Committee. It is in these capacities that Marc denounced the proximity between the Gabonese government and a Singaporean natural resource company, Olam.

The harsh sentence represents the latest incident in a series of attacks on civil society’s freedom of expression in the wake of a wave of popular protests against the government. The intimidation was particularly targeted at activists campaigning for transparency and a responsible natural resource management. These attacks violate democratic rights which are essential to an open debate on natural resource management, rights which are furthermore enshrined in the Gabonese constitution. The recent delisting of Gabon from the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) can be seen as related to the ongoing harassment and intimidation of civil society. The EITI is a multi-stakeholder initiative between government, industry and civil society where the full and free participation of civil society is a requisite.

… read the rest of the statement here