Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

Can't see the email properly?

There have been some issues with newsletter formatting and certain versions of outlook. If the email looks jumbled and garish please read the Web Version. 

Oxfam America files lawsuit against SEC

On 16 May 2012 Oxfam America filed a lawsuit against the Securities Exchange Commission for their delay in the publication of the rules governing Dodd-Frank 1504. The SEC has been in violation of the law for more than a year now, with the statutory deadline for the publication of the rules lapsing in April 2011. Oxfam America wrote to the SEC a month ago, warning them that unless the rules were published within a delay of 30 days, the NGO would find itself obliged to sue.

Dodd-Frank 1504, also known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, obliges all US-listed extractive companies to publish their payments to all the countries in which they operate. It will allow citizens to see, sometimes for the first time, how much money they receive for their natural resources and allow them to hold their governments to account for the ways in which the revenues are spent. However, since the adoption of the Dodd-Frank Act the oil lobby has been aggressively trying to dilute the laws.

“We have been patient, but the Commission’s continued failure to issue a Final Rule implementing Cardin-Lugar frustrates Congress’s intent to increase transparency in resource-rich countries,” said Ian Gary, senior policy manager of Oxfam America’s oil, gas and mining program. “For those living in poverty in resource-rich countries, there’s no time left to wait.”

Gary added, “Oxfam America is simply asking for the SEC to follow the law.”

Read Oxfam America's press release on this issue.

For press coverage on the issue, see articles from the Wall Street Journal, the Hill, Mineweb and Boston Business Journal.

Glencore's first public AGM doesn't quite go to plan

“Publicity-shy” Glencore’s first AGM as a publicly listed company didn’t quite go to plan with NGOs using this day to call for more transparent behaviour from the commodities giant.

In Switzerland five Swiss NGOs called for more transparency and a stronger political engagement by the Swiss government for a better regulated raw materials market. The NGOs’ press release focussed around Glencore as an example of the dangers of an opaque market, citing the company’s pollution of the river Luili in Congo and the non-declaration of its subsidiaries in Colombia, an omission which had led to a fine. Read the press release in full (en Francais).

The same day, Global Witness called on Glencore to ‘explain potentially corrupt deals in Congo’ and provide more information about its deals. According to the NGO recent mining acquisitions by the company have taken place amid ‘opaque dealings involving the Congolese government, Glencore and its longstanding partner Dan Gertler, an Israeli businessman who is a close friend of President Joseph Kabila.’

Since 2010, the Congolese government is said to have sold off six mining stakes - in secret and for potentially far less than their worth – to offshore companies connected to Glencore’s friend Mr. Gertler.  Global Witness highlighted in particular three deals – concerning the Kansuki and Mutanda stakes – that have raised concerns of corruption.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of natural resources, yet its population remains one of the poorest with four out of five people living on less than a dollar a day. Deals shrouded in secrecy lend themselves to abuse (as well as fostering suspicion) and ensure that citizens do not profit from the wealth that lies beneath their feet.

“Congo’s natural resource wealth should benefit the country as a whole,” said Global Witness’ Balint-Kurti. “Yet hugely profitable deals are being struck in Congo by secretive offshore companies and multinationals; the Congolese state is getting peanuts and we are extremely concerned that the Congolese people are being deprived of billions of dollars.”

To find out more, read Global Witness’ press release in fullQ +A and briefing to Glencore’s shareholders. There was also press coverage of the issue in the Guardian, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.

For an in-depth expose on Glencore read Ken Silverstein’s Foreign Policy piece, “A giant among giants”.

Sign the petition for the release of Mr. Gulaliyev

In our last issue we wrote about Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev, a transparency activist arrested in Azerbaijan. Since then the NGO coalition for the transparency of extractive industries has set up an online petition for the freedom of Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev, you can sign it here.

For more information see our press release:  Publish What You Pay calls for the immediate release of transparency activist Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev.


PWYP Regional Workshop - Eastern and Southern Africa

On 8-11th PWYP Mozambique hosted a regional workshop for publish what you pay members from Eastern and Southern Africa, which was attended by forty participants from twelve countries.

With a recent spate of natural resource discoveries in the region, civil society members are keen to ensure that their countries’ resources are managed in a transparent and accountable manner. They gathered in Maputo for three days of trainings and exchanging of experiences and lessons learned. 

A whole day was dedicated to EITI and training sessions.  Participants from non-EITI countries were introduced to EITI and civil society’s role in the initiative, while members from EITI implementing countries discussed how to go beyond EITI compliance.

The future of the EITI and the current work by the Strategy Working Group were also discussed and participants gave in their inputs as to how to improve the initiative. All participants agreed that the EITI should broaden its scope to go beyond revenue transparency.  

Participants also commented and gave feedback on PWYP’s on-going strategy development process, including PWYP’s proposed new governance system and coalition standards. These will be publically presented and validated at PWYP’s ten year anniversary in September 2012.

Coalitions and members developed their national work plans for the coming year. Regional and continental opportunities for advocacy, including the Africa Mining Vision, were also debated.

The workshop closed with the adoption of the Maputo Declaration, which highlights a series of recommendations to African governments; extractive companies; civil society and to the EITI process.

You can read the Maputo Declaration in full on our site

Mozambique publishes second EITI report

On 30 March 2012 Mozambique published its second EITI report (em Portugues), covering data from 2009. CIP, the Centro de Integridade Publica, in Mozambique, has assessed this report  as well as evaluating general extractive transparency in the country.

Mozambique’s second EITI report covered more companies and more payments than the first. The materiality threshold was lowered, which increased the number of companies’ that had to report and payments such as Institutional Capacity Building and Social Project Funds were included.

Yet only 31 out of the 36 companies approached for information returned their survey. In light of this, the CIP report recommends that the Mozambican government legislate the EITI. This would make it harder for companies to evade their reporting duties. It would also ensure an integration of and adherence to EITI that goes beyond the will of particular decision makers or companies.

Overall, the fiscal contribution of extractive companies to GDP was very low (2.25%), considering the strategic importance of the sector. With Mozambique’s recent gas discoveries it is crucial that the country receives the best deal possible for its resources and the report suggests that contract renegotiations could be an option.

Outside of EITI, the report calls for the publication and transparency of contracts. This would offer more information on the Institutional Capacity Building figures and the Social Project Funds and would enable the monitoring of the agreements.   

Read CIP's report, Advances and stagnations of transparency in the extractive sector in Mozambique. 

Mozambique was admitted as an EITI candidate country in May 2009 and published its first report in February 2011. In August 2011 Mozambique had its candidate status renewed and now has until February 2013 to reach compliant status. Visit Mozambique's EITI page. 

An eye on disclosure: finding out more about Canadian companies

PWYP Canada has written a manual to help civil society organisations access and use information about Canadian extractive companies.  It explains what information is available about Canadian-listed extractive companies’ activities and how to access them.  

While the information currently available is not sufficient for true accountability, it could nevertheless yield some helpful data. PWYP-Canada looks forward to working with coalition members to identify and use the information in effective and innovative ways. If you have any comments or feedback, please email Kady Seguin kseguin@pwyp.ca.

You can access the manual on PWYP Canada's website.