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In Brief

Vote for Ali Idrissa as Best Activist! 

Our PWYP Niger coordinator Ali Idrissa has been nominated by the ONE Campaign as Best Activist in the Honesty Oscars. You can help make sure he wins by voting for him here!

Analysing EITI Reports - The EITI website has released a series of articles highlighting some of the key findings from the latest batch of EITI reports. Explore them here. 

News from NRGI - You can read the latest NRGI newsletter here 

Photo by Jon S available under a Creative Commons License

Preparing to surf the data wave!

‘Avalanche’, ‘deluge’, ‘tidal wave’ – there’s been a range of monikers for the amount of extractive data that is to come out over the next few years. By 2016, the EU Transparency and Accounting Directives will have yielded all the payments by project-level for all the extractive companies listed (and large companies non-listed) in the EU. That’s a lot of projects, and a lot of data – without even mentioning the information that will come out of the EITI reports that include project-level reporting, or the disclosures through regulations in the US and Canada. This is fantastic news for transparency campaigners, but a little daunting too – it’s perhaps no surprise that our monikers evoke awesome, rather than purely positive, forces.

What civil society keeps saying, and keeps getting told, is that we need to prepare for this avalanche. That activists need to be ready to use the data. As it happens, quite a few of the PWYP coalitions have been using the data all along. Ahead of ‘Open Data Day’ this Saturday, we've give a 'Using the Data' twist to our newsletter! To begin with, here is a round-up of some of the ways PWYP coalitions have been gearing up for the avalanche...

PWYP Congo Brazzaville

Transparency successes such as implementing EITI helped provide important information about what Congo B was getting for its oil. But what the PWYP coalition also wanted to find out was what the country was doing with its oil monies - earlier this year, the coalition examined the country’s health budgets and followed the money to see whether funds were being disbursed to the projects, and whether projects were being realised. PWYP Congo-B revealed that in a great many cases, the money was not reaching its intended destination and that projects were not being properly executed. You can read more on the report and the coalition’s findings here.

PWYP Indonesia

PWYP Indonesia has been incredibly active both in using data but also in engaging with the field of Open Data. The coalition hosted a school of data fellow who has helped them develop the skills and knowledge for how to use data. PWYP Indonesia recently conducted a study - along with the Anti-Mining Mafia Coalition - that calculated how much potential mining revenue had been lost in 13 different provinces due to the lack of a transparent and effective tax collection system and created infographics from the findings to support their advocacy. Earlier this week, the coalition hosted an event where they shared their experiences and thoughts on open data's potential for Indonesia. 

PWYP Niger

Using data doesn’t always have to come in the form of fancy visualisations or spreadsheets – it is often as simple as using key data as evidence to back up your advocacy. This is precisely what PWYP Niger did when they wanted the government to renegotiate a better deal for its uranium with AREVA. Using the EITI report covering data from 2010, the coalition gleaned that although uranium made up 70% of Niger’s exports, it contributed less than 6% to the country's GDP. PWYP Niger propagated this figure through speeches, debates, songs, marches and press releases. When the Niger government publicly announced it would seek to ‘rebalance’ its relationship with AREVA, it was PWYP Niger’s figure that they used! Used effectively, data can support strong messaging.

Photo by Arturo available under a Creative Commons License 

Just model it! How PWYP members can develop a presentation of any oil project in 30 minutes

By Johnny West, Open Oil. 

How much money will Chad see from its oil production and when? How sensitive is that to the wild fluctuations of market prices? And how does the money the government gets compare to what the oil companies get?

These are some of the questions PWYP member GRAMPTC and the Berlin-based publisher OpenOil will address in an innovative workshop next week to launch financial modeling of extractives projects for civil society.

Up to 30 participants will learn how to use a model developed by OpenOil of Glencore's project in the Badila and Mangara fields. Any and all statements about how much money the project can earn Chad can be tested using the model, providing civil society for the first time with an easy-access tool which is completely editorially independent.

The workshop will also be a key place to refine the methodologies used in the model (which has been developed using standard oil industry techniques), to ensure that they meet local need: is there, for instance, a need to break out a separate calculation for the 5% of funds owed to the communities in the Doba Basin where the fields are located? Do Chadian activists need more investor metrics, to be ready if there are company claims that falling oil prices mean the contracts must now be sweetened?

Read the rest of the blog on our site...

Data from Timor Leste - Transparency Initiative gets a little more opaque

This is a blog post by Charlie Scheiner from La'o Hamutuk. Read the full version here. 

Earlier this month, Timor-Leste published its Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Report for 2012. The report was celebrated by the global EITI Secretariat and the government of Timor-Leste as an advance in public information about oil and gas revenues "including more comprehensive information than ever before." Unfortunately, it is actually a step backwards from the amount of transparency in the 2010 and 2011 reports. Although it has more already-public general information on oil and gas projects in Timor-Leste, it has much less on the specific payments by the companies to Timor-Leste's government, which is the principal purpose of EITI.

The previous two reports contained more detailed data than the companies wanted, and they were outvoted when the Multi-Stakeholder (companies, government and civil society) Working Group decided to publish them. When the framework for the 2012 report was being discussed, civil society urged that it again be disaggregated by product and revenue stream -- but unfortunately the companies prevailed this time.  At the report's gala launch in Hotel Timor on 6 February, ConocoPhillips representative Jose Lobato was delighted that it responded to company wishes, unlike previous reports. Global EITI Chair Clare Short spoke about how important EITI is in other countries, and how Timor-Leste has been a leader for them.

Timor-Leste published its EITI report for 2012 five weeks late, according to EITI rules. The latest report contains significantly less information than the 2010 and 2011 reports, with FTP (royalty) combined for all products (gas, condensate and LPG), and each company subsidiary's payments given as one lump sum. In most cases, it contains less revenue data than Timorese agencies had published more than a year ago...

Read the rest of the blog 

Photo by United Nations Photo available under a Creative Commons License

Mauritania to include the fishing sector in its implementation of EITI

By Saidou Arji, Francophone West Africa Coordinator

The fishing sector will now be included in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The official announcement was made by the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Mr Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, on 19 January 2015 in his opening speech at the high-level conference on “Transparency and Sustainable Development in Africa”.

According to statistics from the Mauritanian Ministry of Fishing and the Maritime Economy, the fishing sector represented 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009. In 2010, the sector generated 16% of the country’s revenues and 13.3% of export revenues.

In terms of their fishing potential, Mauritanian waters are some of the richest in the world, with catches of around 900,000 tonnes a year.

The sector is also a significant source of jobs. In fact, over 30,000 people earn their living from fishing and “the sub-sector of small-scale fishing is by far the leading source of direct job creation,” explains the Ministry. The majority of revenues recorded in Mauritania come from foreign companies with operating licences, mainly based in the European Union, which has a fishing agreement with Mauritania. Under the terms of the agreement, the European Union pays the country a sum of money each year so that its trawlers can fish in Mauritanian waters. Under the agreements signed for 2008-2012, the European Union paid Mauritania €86, €76, €73 and €70 million respectively for the first four years. This is in addition to the fees paid by European fishing vessels.

Mauritania’s decision to extend the scope of the EITI to fishing is seen as the result of advocacy by civil-society organisations in general and the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) coalition in particular.

Read the rest of the blog online 

Photo by Christine Vaufrey available under a Creative Commons License

Tunisian civil society unites for a better tomorrow

Tounsi Ben Tounsi

By Diana Kaissy, MENA Coordinator

The revolution of 2011 in Tunisia overthrew the government, coined the term ‘Arab Spring’ and spread revolutionary sentiment across borders. Another, perhaps less obviously dramatic, consequence of the Tunisian revolution has been the increase and strengthening of civil society organisations in the country. Prior to January 2011, CSOs were namely composed of organisations that acted as instruments in the hands of the national government, and therefore were hardly in tune with the reality of societal problems. After the revolution, associations focused their interest on different areas, especially that of human rights and good governance across sectors which had been neglected under the former regime.

CSOs, including associations, charitable organisations and other grassroots initiatives became involved in the national debate that followed the 2011 revolution. An important question in this national debate was that of natural resources, and several CSOs began lobbying for more transparency in the extractive sector. A group of organisations, namely led by ATTEM ( Association Tunisienne de Transparence dans l’Energie et les Mines) successfully reached out to the Prime Minister Jebali in 2012 and encouraged him to announce in June of that year the Tunisian government's intention to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Further progress on natural resource management was made with the adoption of Tunisia’s new constitution that included several provisions on transparency in the extractive sector.

Read the rest of the blog on our website...

Photo by Tounsi Ben Tounsi available under a Creative Commons License