The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’s (EITI) flagship event in extractive resource governance, which takes place every two years, was held from 24th to 25th February in Lima, Peru. EITI is a global standard that seeks to promote open and accountable management of natural and extractive resources. It brings together business, government, civil society organisations and community based organisations. This was the 7th EITI Global Conference. The EITI Global Conference was preceded by the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Global Assembly that was held from the 22nd to 23rd of February 2016.
Stakeholders from all over the world convened at the global conference to discuss the latest developments in governance of the oil, gas and mining sector to determine the reforms that need to be undertaken by both government and business to ensure that citizens benefit from the extraction of natural resources.
This year’s discussions were centred on a more effective use of data to shape the public debate and to strengthen countries’ governance mechanisms within implementing countries to achieve better management in the sector. The theme for this year’s event was: From Reports to Results. For the past decade, EITI has allowed global public opinion to massively criticise the data on payments and revenues generated in the extractive industry. However, the impact of this data on poverty reduction leaves much to be desired. In this light, the conference deemed that the EITI reports need government’s commitment for necessary reforms in governance to significantly reduce poverty in countries richly endowed with natural resources, yet which in spite of this wealth remain poor. Civil Society Organisations were also challenged to use the information emerging from the EITI reports to promote service delivery. In the long term, openness in extractive industries should not solely be confined to EITI reporting, but should form an integral part of the manner in which governments administer the sector. Countries are increasingly publishing information on the oil, gas and mining sector through government and business reporting systems which include databases, internet sites and portals. This integration also supports improving the turn-around time of the data and its usage. The global conference presented an opportunity to discuss way of improving the sustainability of openness. The discussions also helped improve the EITI standard as a way to strengthen the implementation process on topics such as: openness in contracts, true ownership in extractive industries as well as the impact of such revenues on populations.
Government, extractive companies, civil society and international organisations convened to share experiences on this crucial area in the global economy at a time where the oil price is not faring well which threatens the economic well-being of the majority of oil producing countries. Hence the need to effectively manage available revenues given that extractive resources are finite. Amongst the participants from the civil society represented at this forum were three ACCA Steering Committee members which included: le Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer dans les Industries Extractives (Cote d’Ivoire), the organisation Rencontre pour la Paix et les Droits de l’Homme (RPDH) [Congo Brazzaville), and Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) [Zimbabwe].
There were elections for both the PWYP Global Council and the EITI Board of Directors. One of the distinguishing factors of this year’s global conference was the election of former Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt (2008 to 2014), as the new president of EITI Board along with General Assembly members electing a new board of directors consisting of five members representing civil society. Four countries out of the 49 implementing countries received prizes for the quality of their EITI processes. Countries within this group included: Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mongolia and the Philippines. The new EITI Standard was also adopted.
- Michel Yoboue, Christian Mounzeo and Mutuso Dhliwayo.