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Launching the world cup blog!

Photo by Bartek Langer​, available on Flick under a creative commons license

For some of us, following the World Cup mainly consists of a lacklustre start, followed by a come-back that makes you think that this time, we just might make it, before eventually - and ever so inevitably - crashing out on penalties.

So, bored of trying to figure out just how many ‘years of hurt’ it’s been, we’ve* decided to hold a World Cup blog festival. After all, it’s not like football and our field are miles apart - in fact, judging from recent events it’s probably time FIFA was the target of its own Publish What You Pay campaign. (Or rather, Publish How Much You Received).  In Equatorial Guinea, President's son Teodorin Obiang - widely accused of siphoning extractive revenues into his own pockets -  offered the national team $1 million if they beat Libya in the 2012 Cup of African Nations. Wherever his funds did come from for that offer, it shows a skewed priority in a country where - despite having a GDP per capita higher than Portugal - one in five children die before their 5th birthday.

Meanwhile, footballers are venturing into mining and miners are becoming football mascots. Cameroon’s football team refused to board the plane to Brazil, complaining about poor bonuses and a lack of transparency over where sponsorship revenues had gone.

On a less flippant - and perhaps also less contrived -  note, we mainly wanted to use the opportunity of the World Cup as a way to spark discussion and swap stories about natural resource governance around the world. We don’t often showcase the work from our members in Algeria or Mexico so we wanted to take this chance.

So, as of tomorrow, we’ll be posting a blog per day about one of the countries playing that day, whether it is Cameroon, the US or Chile. Please share the blogs, comment on them and don't forget to 'like' them, as the most popular blog wins a prize!

* Before you get the wrong idea, there’s actually only 2 ½ English members in our team of 10!

In Brief

Photo by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE, available on Flick under a creative commons license

PWYP Togo called on its government to fulfil the commitment it made in May 2013, and publish the country’s mining contracts. The coalition called for the contracts to be made available on the website of the ministry of Mines and Energy. To read PWYP Togo’s press release in full (in French only) visit our website.

New name. New logo. Same passion - The Natural Resource Charter and Revenue Watch Institute have merged to become the Natural Resource Governance Institute. To read the letter from NRGI’s President Daniel Kaufmann introducing the merger, click here.

The coalition is King!

Image by Evonne available on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Or the story of how civil society in Canada, Zimbabwe and Cameroon joined forces in the fight for transparency 

A coalition is commonly described as an alliance of actors united by their common goal. Their composition, life-span and synergies vary widely, but what makes a coalition work? We always put forward that as a coalition our strength lies in our members. No one entity on its own can take on companies and governments to ensure transparency in the extractive sector. But if we work together, each playing to our own distinct strengths, we become more than the sum of our parts and can take on the most opaque and powerful of actors. 

This phenomenon has been particularly evident in the campaign for mandatory disclosures – to oblige extractive companies to publish their payments to governments - and in PWYP Canada’s relationship with other members in Africa.

Canada’s role in the extractive sector is a large one indeed: it is home to almost 60% of the world’s mining companies and their activities span the entire globe. The country – and its civil society – has a responsibility to ensure a more open extractive sector.

Canadian civil society responded to the call. Today – ten years after the launch of the coalition - the collaboration between PWYP Canada and other PWYP coalitions in Africa goes from strength to strength.

To find out more about collaboration between Canada and PWYP coalitions in Africa, as well as how relationships have supported the campaign, read the whole article.

Strengthening civil society engagement in EITI – a look at DRC

The Publish What You Pay coalition in DRC has been organising quarterly workshops since 2011, in order to assess the quality of EITI implementation in the country. The workshops gather around 30 participants from each province and have become an institution for civil society members who are interested in extractive industry  transparency. These workshops have helped establish an ongoing dialogue between the civil society representatives who sit on the EITI Steering Committee and their peers, significantly widening the range of organisations involved in the EITI at both a national and local level.

The workshops are a textbook example that other PWYP coalitions can draw on, in order to strengthen their own participation in the national implementation processes. A full case study is available on our website, but below are some of the key lessons learned and the benefits of these sessions.

A more united civil society: meeting regularly and having the chance to express a range of critiques helped to significantly reduce tensions between members of civil society. In offering a (sometimes heated) space for sharing ideas, the workshops have been essential in facilitating the reaching of a consensus on issues related to EITI implementation. Whilst previous divisions had brought some discredit on civil society as a constituency, the establishment of a common position has now helped civil society to have its voice heard clearly. Above all, civil society is less likely to be a victim of attempts to divide and destabilise it by other actors who are keen to blur its message.  

The views of civil society representatives are legitimised and heard within the EITI Steering Committee: the communiqués signed by all participants on behalf of their organisations at the end of the evaluation workshops give the delegates a degree of authority that other stakeholders cannot ignore. Their views are seen as not only more authoritative but also more legitimate, insofar as the workshops are also designed to ensure representatives are accountable for their performance on the Committee. In addition, the workshops allow delegates to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the various provinces and learn from the range of expertise available. As a result, delegates are able to draw on multiple arguments and examples during Committee debates, ensuring their contribution has more impact.  

Visit our website for more lessons learned and the full case study.

Bravo Québec!

Photo by Lucas Richarz, available on Flick under a creative commons license

Québec has announced that it is taking up the federal government on its call for provinces to start implementing extractive transparency reporting rules.

It stated, in its budget work plan, that, in order "To facilitate public access to information on this sector, the Québec government will participate in the federal government’s initiative on mandatory reporting standards for extractive companies."

In March 2014, the Canadian government announced that it would implement federal wide mandatory disclosure rules by April 2015, but had called on the provinces to begin implementation for their own exchanges. PWYP congratulates Québec for having become the first province to do so.

For more on this story, see the Globe & Mail’s coverage