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GOXI photo competition – winners announced!

  • Congratulates to Keith Slack for winning the popular vote for his photo, ‘Artisanal miners in Obuasi tailings impoundment’ (see above).
  • And to Jaff Bamenjo for winning the committee vote for his photo, ‘Waiting for Manna’ (see below).

The photos which reached the final ten can be found here.

We’d like to thank and congratulate everyone who participated. It was tricky to choose our top photos and we’d encourage everyone to browse all the submissions for some truly excellent photos.

Keep an eye out for these photos, as we’ll be featuring them on our website and blogs!

In brief

  • Congratulations to Côte d’Ivoire and Togo who became  EITI compliant countries 
  • Honduras was accepted as EITI candidate country
  • Colombia is to apply for EITI candidacy in early 2014
  • A G8 seminar on Transparency for Development  took place in Lille on 21 May 2013
  • Congratulations to Sonny Mulenga , for winning the EITI video competition! (View his film here) And also to Nigeria and Togo for winning this year’s chair award.

Beyond Transparency - EITI Global Conference Sydney

On 23rd – 24th May 2013 more than 1200 representatives from civil society, companies, governments and academia gathered in Sydney for the EITI Global Conference

It was a packed affair, with plenaries and side events, commitments for the future, exploration of new ways forward and even a little protesting. Below are some highlights (by no means comprehensive).

Drop the Suit!

The recent EITI Global conference wasn’t without a bit of direct action, as civil society activists called on big oil companies to drop the lawsuit against Dodd-Frank 1504.

Dodd-Frank 1504 obliges all US listed extractive companies to publish their payments on a country and project basis. Currently, the American Petroleum Institute is waging a lawsuit against the legislation. The API’s request for a stay of the rule while the lawsuit developed was denied and recently the case was dismissed by the Court of  Appeals, to be pursued at the district level.

At the Sydney conference, activists gathered to highlight the hypocrisy of oil companies party to the suit, who utter proclamations of transparency with one hand while seeking to undermine it with the other.

In the past, companies have used their membership of EITI as a badge  with which to flaunt their transparency credentials, while attacking legislation and threatening the very transparency they claim to support.

This not only smacks of hypocrisy but undermines those oil companies who have genuinely made advances towards transparency. Statoil, for instance, have publicly dissociated themselves from the API lawsuit.

The legislation will only serve to strengthen EITI and, as Clare Short writes,  is complementary to the initiative.

So, armed with a banner and placards (well, pieces of paper) saying ‘we agree’, civil society activists waited outside the lunch hall to make their position known to the conference participants.

It was a good-natured stunt, with people gathering to take photos and videos of the activists and a chant that was more musical than threatening. The intent was serious though – if companies are at all genuine in their statements supporting transparency they must drop this lawsuit, which undermines one of the greatest milestones in the journey for an open and accountable extractive sector.

After all, what have they got to hide?

Free the contracts

Meanwhile, another campaign was taking place – free the contracts. Organised by Revenue Watch Institute, this campaign set to encourage countries to include contract transparency in their EITI implementation. We’ll have an update in the next issue about how the campaign progressed, but in the meantime, see if you can spot all the ‘free the contracts’ badges in the EITI photos. (They’re  the orange ones!).

France and UK to join EITI

On 22nd May, French President François Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron announced their intention to join the EITI. They will become the third and fourth OECD countries to join the initiative, after Norway and the US.

The UK and France’s decision to join EITI is a welcome move and reflects that the initiative is for northern and southern countries alike. As David Cameron stated,

“That’s why the UK will sign up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, so that we too play our part in ensuring that people around the world benefit fairly from the natural resources of the countries in which they live. Mineral wealth for developing countries should be a blessing, not a curse. And I urge our G8 partners to champion the same high standards of transparency.”

Marinke van Riet, Publish What You Pay International Director, commented: “The UK’s commitment to become an EITI member is long overdue. The EITI enhances transparency in the way each country governs its natural resources on behalf of its citizens, and it is right for the UK to set itself the same standards that it asks resource-dependent developing countries to meet. We are delighted that France has taken the decision to join the initiative too and call on both countries to raise the bar in terms of EITI implementation.”

PWYP applauds France and the UK’s decision to join EITI, and indeed for their support in the campaign for mandatory disclosure rules at the EU level. The question we ask ourselves now, is will Canada and Australia follow in these footsteps?

Philippines accepted as EITI Candidate

On 22nd May, the EITI board accepted Philippines as a candidate country. The Philippines had been making swift progress on preparing for EITI implementation since President Aquino stated their intention to join the initiative in July 2012.

The Philippines is rich in copper, nickel, iron and gold, although mining those resources has not been without controversy, leading in some cases to displacement and conflict. Yet the mixed sentiments towards mining are precisely why initiatives like EITI are crucial, as they empower citizens over the management and use of their natural resources. As Cielo Magno, PWYP’s national coordinator in the Philippines and member of the Global Steering Committee, explains:

“For communities hosting mining operations, EITI can provide the opportunity for these communities to strengthen their rights to participate in the decision making process of mining activities in their communities, to monitor and assess the impact of mining operations of the companies they are hosting.  They can determine whether they are getting the fair share of the natural resources extracted in their area.  EITI can guarantee access to information to enable the communities to exercise these rights.”

To read more about the implications of EITI implementation for the Philippines, you can read Cielo’s excellent article on the EITI website.

EITI adopt new standard

Two years ago, the EITI Board commissioned an independent evaluation of the EITI to assess the impact of the Initiative to date. The Scanteam findings concluded that, in order for the EITI to deliver on its ambition of ‘making natural resources benefit all’ the gap between the EITI standard and principles had to be narrowed.

To this end, the EITI set up a strategy working group to discuss the future of the initiative. Through submissions, proposals, debates and discussion, the EITI board has been hammering out its new reporting standard, which was formally approved at the global conference.

The new standard encompasses a range of far reaching changes and represents a robust reporting mechanism. 

Notably, payments in EITI reports will now have to be disaggregated at the project level. This will provide invaluable information for citizens wishing to hold their governments to account at the local level. This is in harmony with legislation in the EU and the US which obliges listed extractive companies to publish their payments at the country and project level.

In order to make the EITI reports more intellectually accessible, they will include contextual data such as, the  ‘contribution of the extractive sector to the economy, production data, a description of the fiscal regime, an overview of relevant laws, and a description of how extractive industry revenues are recorded in national budgets.’

While countries who choose to go further in their reporting will be recognised, contract transparency unfortunately will be ‘encouraged’ rather than ‘required’. The EITI board is also encouraging countries to disclose beneficial ownership, something which – as this great blog from Open Oil illustrates  – is not quite as complicated as it seems. 

PWYP members look forward to using the data these new reports will generate to hold their governments to account for how their resources are spent.

The campaign for mandatory financial disclosure in Australia

This blog is from our national coordinator in Australia, Claire Spoors.

It was wonderful to have the international Publish What You Pay community descend upon Sydney two weeks ago. To make the most of this rare occurrence I co-opted representatives from the European, US and Canadian coalitions to come to Canberra with me to help convince Australian decision makers of the need to bring in mandatory reporting of payments to governments for Australian based and listed oil, gas and mining companies, in line with the Dodd Frank legislation and new EU directives.

It made a huge difference having our American and European colleagues in the room with ministers and governmental departments to directly tell them the reasons for bringing in this type of legislation and the lessons they had learned in developing it. We also shared information on the civil society-industry taskforce in Canada, which is developing a mandatory reporting framework for the Canadian context, and this had particular resonance with representatives from the Australian mining industry who we also met with. Explaining that 65% of the global extractives market will be covered by payment disclosure requirements (and fingers crossed more soon!) is powerful when arguing that Australia should be part of forming the emerging global transparency standard for the extractives sector.

It was great to be able to leverage the success of the US and EU campaigns and I truly believe that in the last few weeks we have made giant steps in getting Australian decision makers to understand that mandatory reporting is on its way down under. As David Bradbury, the Assistant Treasurer stated, ‘it’s not a question of if but a question of how.’ PWYP Australia is now focused on ensuring such statements are turned into genuine legislative reform, especially as we look to Australia’s chairing of the G20 at the end of the year.

Revenue Watch Institute launch 2013 Resource Governance Index

With thanks to Carolyn Bielfeldt from Revenue Watch for contributing this piece

Trillions of dollars in natural resources lie buried in the backyards of many of the world’s poorest citizens. Oil, gas and minerals can, if managed effectively and accountably, stimulate economic development. Too often, however, secrecy, corruption and weak institutions obstruct this path and keep citizens from reaping the full benefits of their resource wealth.

To advance the understanding of this challenge, the Revenue Watch Institute launched the 2013 Resource Governance Index, a collection of research, rankings and analysis that measures the quality of governance in the oil, gas and mining sector of 58 countries, on May 15 in Washington, D.C. Together, these nations produce 85 percent of the world’s oil, 90 percent of its diamonds and 80 percent of its copper, generating trillions of dollars annually. The future of these countries, both developed and developing, depends on how well they manage their resources.

Yet, in 47 of the 58 Index countries, governments have yet to embrace openness and accountability. Only 11 nations received satisfactory scores overall and it is evident there is room for improvement in every nation, from the wealthy, highly ranked countries like the United States to the low-ranking, resource-dependent nations of the Middle East.

Resource governance is clearly a universal issue and arguably the development challenge of the decade. On the day of and the days following the worldwide launch of the Index, Revenue Watch debuted global, regional and country-specific findings in nine major international cities, ranging from London to Accra to Jakarta, to demonstrate the scope of this problem and engage key players on the ground to take action. Revenue Watch will continue to work closely with the 58 Index nations hosting trainings and workshops on how to use the Index as a tool to hold governments accountable and work together toward a more transparent, effective approach to resource management.

Natural Resource Charter holds third annual conference

With thanks to the Natural Resource Charter Team for contributing this piece

The Natural Resource Charter recently held its Third Annual Conference at the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) in Kuwait. Bringing together senior international experts such as Clare Short (Chair, EITI), Natty B Davis (Chairman, National Investment Commission, Liberia), Rafael Benke (Global Head of Corporate Affairs, Vale) and Mohammad Al-Sabah (Former Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait)  to consider the challenges and opportunities of investing natural resource revenues for sustainable prosperity.

Topics of discussion this year included multi-user infrastructure, economic diversification and managing resource revenue volatility. The conference provided an opportunity to reflect upon these issues in the context of the Natural Resource Charter, which has grown to become an internationally recognized standard in effective natural resource governance. Looking ahead, this year the Natural Resource Charter looks forward to the publication of the second edition of the Charter’s 12 Precepts and the deployment of an assessment framework to help resource-rich countries analyze and build strategies to manage their resources effectively, using the principles of the Charter.

For the speaker slides, session briefs and further information, go here.

Shine a light!

One of the side events at the EITI conference was our ‘shine a light’ panel exploring the emergence of a global reporting norm.

With the US and the EU having legislated for similar mandatory reporting rules for extractive companies, the momentum is building for other regions to follow suit.

Obvious next candidates are Australia and Canada, both home to a wealth of extractive companies. If they were to introduce rules similar to Dodd-Frank and the EU Transparency & Accounting directive almost three quarters of the world’s extractive companies would be subject to financial reporting measures.

However, it’s not just Australia and Canada. Hong Kong already have some level of mandatory reporting mechanism in their stock listing, as they oblige newly listing extractive companies to publish their payments in a one-off statement.

The panel featured US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Robert Cekuta, whose statement can be found here.  He expressed his pleasure that the EU has introduced legislation similar to Dodd-Frank in the US:

“These disclosure requirements will help people all over the world understand what their governments are receiving -- and their impact will increase to the extent other major financial jurisdictions implement similar requirements.”

In his video statement, French development minister Pascal Canfin strongly supported these reporting rules, stating that they should become a global standard.

Faith Nwadishi, our national coordinator in Nigeria, explained why mandatory legislation is so critical for resource-rich countries.  “After all”, she asked, “How can you calculate that a community received their 10% of revenues, if you don't know what companies paid?”

Ms Nwadishi illustrated the scale of what is at stake and the sheer waste that mismanaged natural resources represent:  

“From 1999 - 2008, the Nigeria government received $269b from oil and gas. How is Nigeria not one of the most developed countries?”

But transparency isn’t only of benefit to governments and civil society. Ken Ramsey, representative for the mining company Newmont, highlighted it also benefits companies, “we believe that when being transparent and open, you begin to engender trust with the communities”. As for investors, Anne Byrne from Australia’s Council of Superannuation Investors reminded us that "corruption costs investors money”.

Whether we are talking about stock exchange rules in the US, directives in the EU, or future rules in Australia the ask to companies is a simple one. As Ms Nwadishi put it: “we have asked you to show how much you have paid, for what you have taken”.