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PWYP Ten Year Anniversary Conference

In 2012, Publish What You Pay celebrated its tenth birthday. Over that decade, we grew from a campaign of six London based organisations to a global coalition spanning 700 members in over 60 countries.

To mark the occasion we held our third international conference which gathered 250 participants from 62 countries. The aim was not merely to celebrate, although – with transparency rapidly evolving into a norm, concrete legislative successes and an ever strengthening coalition – we certainly had reason to. 

Beyond celebration, we wanted to reflect on the past decade, recognise the strengths and weaknesses of the coalition and identify the challenges that lie ahead. We launched our new governance structure and strategy – which includes expanding beyond company payments and pushing for transparency along other steps of the value chain.

In order to make the most of having so many of our participants (and the expertise, knowledge and experience that come with them) in one place, two days were dedicated to capacity building workshops. Throughout the week, delegates exchanged lessons learned and experiences – new partnerships, and indeed friendships, were forged.

Participants signed off on a communiqué summarising the event. You can also see photos of the event on our Facebook  pages (thank you Tearfund for taking the photos!). 

Michael Jarvis from the World Bank Institute blogged about PWYP’s birthday over on goxi, while on the EITI website Jonas Moberg (head of EITI Secretariat) wrote a short blog reflecting on PWYP’s achievements and challenges, Without PWYP no EITI. Clare Short (Chair of the International EITI board) also had a message for PWYP in EITI’s short article: Publish What You Pay celebrates its 10th Anniversary.

Publish What You Pay welcomes strong UK Government statement on extractive industry transparency

The UK Government announcement came after a meeting between the Deputy Prime Minister, the Business Minister and singer activist Bono, founder of the ONE campaign which is a member of the Publish What You Pay coalition. Among issues discussed at the meeting were new European Union reporting regulations for oil, gas and mining companies, currently being finalised by Member States and MEPs.

Nick Clegg said: “For far too long, the world’s poorest people have seen no benefit from the vast natural resources in their own backyards. …  There need to be strict new rules about how payments to developing countries from the oil, gas and mining industries are recorded. Shining a light on where this money is actually going will help people hold their governments to account over how this money is spent.”

Mr Clegg added: “The United States Government has raised the bar by publishing tough new rules that will apply to US listed companies. The European Union must now follow suit and the Coalition Government will be pushing for those rules to be matched in Brussels.”

Greeting the UK Government’s announcement, Publish What You Pay International Director Marinke van Riet commented: “Civil society is hugely encouraged by the Deputy Prime Minister’s and Business Minister’s public commitment to achieve a European reporting standard at least as strong as the new rules for extractive companies recently published in the US.”

For more on the story read the full press release on PWYP’s website

French President Hollande also came out in support of strong EU extractive transparency rules

Following a meeting with Bill Gates, Hollande issued a statement in support of several development related initiatives, including the push for transparency laws at the EU level which would oblige extractive companies to publish their payments.

API sue SEC in attempt to overturn transparency legislation

The American Petroleum Institute has filed a lawsuit against the SEC to overturn Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 1504 obliges all extractive companies listed in the US to publish their payments on a country by country and project by project basis and was originally passed by Congress in June 2010. The SEC published the rules governing this provision at the end of August 2012, following two years of work and a consultation with stakeholders. 

This lawsuit is a last ditch attempt in what has been two intensive – and ultimately unsuccessful – years of lobbying by the API to water down these transparency rules in the US. Similar rules applying to EU listed (and large non-listed) companies are currently making their way through the European legislative process, having recently been strongly approved by the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee. Last week French and British leaders François Hollande and Nick Clegg publicly renewed their country’s support of these rules.

For more on the lawsuit, read press releases from Oxfam America and Global Witness. We’ll be posting more on the topic on our site in the near future, so stay tuned.

As several of the API companies have representatives on the EITI International Board, this lawsuit has implications for the EITI board meeting taking place this week in Lusaka. PWYP US members have released a paper outlining their position on the question. Below is an excerpt, you can access the whole document on our site.

“Leading members of the API, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Statoil currently serve as EITI International Board Members, and a large number of EITI Supporting Companies are API members. These EITI Board Members and Supporting Companies have made repeated public statements of support for transparency and the principles and objectives of EITI, and will play a leading role in Lusaka in the critical negotiations on the future of the EITI and its reporting standard through the formal EITI Strategy Review Process.

However, the legitimacy of the EITI Strategy Review Process, and the credibility of the EITI brand are jeopardized if the same companies negotiating EITI disclosure standards in Lusaka support a lawsuit that seeks to overturn U.S. payment disclosure legislation and regulation intended to strengthen the EITI standard.”

European Parliament votes in favour of strong transparency rules

On 18th September, the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee voted in favour of strong extractive transparency rules. These rules, if adopted, would oblige listed companies in the EU (and large non-listed) to publish their payments on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis.

The committee resisted pressure from the extractive lobby – who had been pushing for weaker laws – and voted for a materiality threshold of 80,000 euros and no exemptions. This vote comes less than a month after the SEC published the rules for a similar law in the US.

For more on this topic, you can read an article by the committee’s rapporteur Arlene McCarthy, Key moment in drive for transparency hailed by MEP, or RWI’s press release: EU Pushes for Transparency for Oil, Mining Payments.

Campaigning for transparency and justice – Niger’s story

Niger is soon to become the world’s second largest producer of uranium, yet ranks second to bottom on the world’s human development index. PWYP Niger/ROTAB has been campaigning against this dichotomy for years, seeking to increase transparency in the sector and sensitize citizens on oil and mining issues. This short video follows the work of ROTAB and of Ali Idrissa and shows a snapshot of some of the issues they face today. You can view it on youtube.

Oil workers rights threatened in Kazakhstan

Max Bokayev from NGO Arlan in Kazkahstan has contributed this piece which discusses the violent clashes which took place between oil works and the authorities in late 2011. A recent Human Rights Watch report outlined how workers’ rights are being abused in the Kazakh oil industry. Workers have been prevented from redressing these abuses, as companies have issued mass dismissals of those participating in peaceful protests and authorities have broken up peaceful strikes, leading to clashes.

Below is an excerpt, you can access the rest of the blog on our site.

In June 2012 the Aktau city court (in the Mangistau region of Kazakhstan), found thirteen Ozenmunaigaz company labor activists guilty of organizing and participating in the mass riots which took place in Zhanaozen in December 2011. The activists have been jailed for different terms going up to 6 years. (Ozenmunaigaz is affiliated with JSC Kazmunaigaz EP, an oil company listed on LSE.)

“Repressive laws and abusive practices by the government and some oil companies violate the labor rights of thousands of workers employed in Kazakhstan’s booming petroleum sector” stated a Human Rights Watch report released in September 2012.

Accusations and convictions like the above are not rare in modern Kazakhstan. On October 8, 2012, the court found Vladimir Kozlov, the Kazakhstani opposition party leader, guilty of “inciting social discord”, “calling for the forcible overthrow of constitutional order” and “creation of organized criminal gang”. Vladimir Kozlov has been sentenced to seven and a half years - it should be noted that accusations brought against him hinged on the events in Zhanaozen. Kazakh civil society activist followed both trials and found that charges brought against the accused were absolutely groundless.

Numerous facts point to the fact that the Zhanaozen tragedy was not an accidental occurrence...read the rest of the blog. 

EITI Film Competition

Seeing results from the natural resources in your country?

Your answer to this question could be shown to the Presidents, CEOs and hundreds of participants at the EITI Global Conference in Sydney next year. One lucky person will also come to Sydney to win an EITI Chair Award as well as US$ 5,000.

The EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) invites PWYP’ers and all citizens in resource-rich countries to join the video competition “Seeing results from natural resources”.

What can my video be about?

We believe that your answers will inspire other people to also use EITI data to improve revenue transparency and accountability in their own country.

We therefore want to show the participants at the EITI Global Conference how people and organisations in resource-rich countries are using (or could be using) the disclosed data on the payments from oil, gas, mining to ensure that the sector is well-managed and ultimately is improving peoples’ lives and their communities.

How can I submit my answer?
If you have a laptop or a mobile with a camera and Internet access, you have all the equipment you need. Just go to http://www.youtube.com/my_webcam and record your answer. The link to your YouTube video must be submitted before 31 December 2012.

The videos will be judged on the quality of the story they tell, not the sophistication of the equipment used.

Learn more

If you would like to know more about this EITI video competition, go to www.eiti.org/public-video-competition or contact Helene Johansen at the EITI International Secretariat.


Resource Revenue Transparency Group launched in Canada

On September 6th, 2012, PWYP-Canada, along with the Revenue Watch, Mining Association of Canada, and Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, announced the launch of the Resource Revenue Transparency Working Group.

The group aims to develop a framework for the disclosure of payments to governments for Canadian oil and mining companies operating domestically and internationally by June 2013. Once complete, the working group will make policy recommendations to federal government policymakers and/or provincial security regulators for the Canadian adoption of mandatory disclosure requirements based on the framework.

The working group has been formalized by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which clarifies the objectives and procedural elements of the group. To view the MoU, click here.

The working group will regularly post updates regarding its progress, along with summaries of its discussions. The first meeting of the working group was held on September 14th, 2012.

For more information visit PWYP Canada’s website.

PWYP Canada’s Director, Claire Woodside, has blogged about this issue on ONE’s website.

How to read a contract – Open Oil organise book sprint

At the end of October Open Oil will be gathering oil experts and professionals to partake in a booksprint for a manual on how to read oil contracts. The final result, published under the Creative Commons License, will be available for free on the internet. To pre-order your copy, please visit Open Oil’s website.

Open oil have published several blogs on contracts, transparency and negotiation in the run up to the book sprint.

In Brief

PWYP member in Mozambique CIP (Centro de Integridade Pública) has published a report evaluating Mozambique’s progress through the EITI process as the country nears compliant status. Read the full report, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative: Mozambique moves towards Compliant Status, on our website.

On 21-23 August 2012 PWYP members from Central-Asia met in Almaty, Kazakhstan for a regional meeting and consultation on PWYP’s new strategy: Vision 20/20. 

PWYP Central Asia members will be meeting again next month in Tajikistan.

The EITI international board will be meeting this week in Lusaka.

Hollande en Afrique

Lors de sa visite en Afrique, Président Hollande s’est déclaré fortement en faveur de la transparence du secteur extractif.

A Dakar, il a dit que "La transparence, vous avez raison de l'exiger de toutes les entreprises qui viennent investir chez vous ou occuper des positions, et notamment dans le secteur minier et forestier.(...) Nous voulons permettre aux États africains de négocier de meilleurs contrats avec les multinationales étrangères, par exemple dans le secteur minier. C'est pourquoi la France mettra en place, avec la Banque mondiale, une facilité financière pour renforcer l'assistance juridique aux pays africains dans la négociation de leurs contrats. Il s'agit de permettre aux pays africains de percevoir un juste prix pour leurs ressources. Nous soutiendrons donc un renforcement de la réglementation européenne en faveur de la transparence des comptes des entreprises extractives. Une transparence réelle, avec des comptes publiés pays par pays, et projet par projet."

A Kinshasa, il a soutenu le projet de règles européennes : "La France défendra, au niveau européen, la publication des comptes des entreprises minières, extractives, forestières pour que, pays par pays, projet par projet, sans exception, nous puissions être sûrs qu'il n'y a pas de prédation dans les pays d'accueil, de façon à ce que nous puissions lutter, plus efficacement encore, contre la corruption et le pillage des ressources naturelles."

Appelez les dirigeants européens à imposer la transparence dans le secteur extractif!

Prenez deux minutes pour signer cette petition Avaaz, qui appelle aux dirigeants européens à promulguer « Des règles européennes ambitieuses (qui) permettront de mettre fin aux pratiques opaques des grands groupes et gouvernements corrompus qui favorisent les intérêts privés au détriment des populations maintenues dans la pauvreté »