Civil society workshop on implementation of D-EITI and EITI in Europe

Am 4. November trafen sich Vertreter/innen der deutschen sowie europäischen Zivilgesellschaft, um über die bisherigen Erfahrungen im EITI-Prozess zu diskutieren und Anregungen für den deutschen Prozess mitzunehmen. Mona Thowsen berichtete über die Vorreiterrolle Norwegen, das als erstes OECD-Land EITI implementiert hatte. Im Anschluss diskutierten wir mit Miles Litvinoff (PWYP UK) und Martin Willaume (Oxfam France) über die Umsetzung von EITI in Großbritannien und Frankreich. Dabei ging es nicht nur um die Motivation und den Umfang, sondern vor allem auch, wie sich die Zivilgesellschaft in den jeweiligen Ländern selbst organisiert. Ein Bericht von Miles Litvinoff findet sich auf der Seite von Publish What You Pay, den wir hier freundlicherweise wiederveröffentlichen dürfen.

November 6, 2014 – 09:45

Author: Miles Litvinoff

It was good to meet with colleagues from German civil society, and from Publiez Ce Que Vous Payez France and Publish What You Pay Norway, this week in Berlin to discuss implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Europe. Our workshop was organised and hosted by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and PowerShift to share experience and insights from our countries’ national EITI processes.

Norway is already EITI compliant and has published five EITI reports since 2008. The US was the next OECD country to follow Norway and is due to publish its first EITI report by March 2016. In the EU, France, Germany, Italy and the UK committed in the June 2013 G8 Leaders’ Communiqué to implement the EITI,[1] as well as to quickly transpose into national law the extractive industry disclosure requirements of the EU Accounting and Transparency Directives. The UK’s EITI candidacy was approved by the EITI’s international board at its October 2014 meeting in Myanmar, and the UK is required to submit its first report by April 2016.

It is right that more Northern countries walk the talk in relation to the EITI. We need to dispel the view that the EITI is an asymmetrical or even neo-colonial arrangement imposed by developed on developing countries. Instead, it must become a genuinely joint enterprise uniting North and South in ensuring that citizens have effective oversight over their countries’ stewardship of natural resources, and that the exploitation of oil, gas and minerals worldwide results in outcomes that truly benefit the public interest. Let’s hope Australia follows soon.

Considerable time commitment on the part of government, industry and civil society stakeholders is needed to implement the EITI effectively, and this was one of the aspects we discussed in Berlin. For Northern civil society organisations it is often a challenge to find the human and financial resources needed to participate in the process, unlike our Southern counterparts who have benefited from the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund.

We also shared views on how best to constitute the EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) that takes responsibility for the EITI process in each country; engaging wider civil society in the process; civil society decision-making within the MSG; working with parliamentarians; areas of potential disagreement between civil society, industry and some governments within a national EITI process; public subsidies to the fossil fuel industry; making use of EITI data; the strengths and weaknesses of the current EITI Standard; and the degree to which the EITI can address issues of environmental sustainability and the need for an energy transition from carbon-intensive fossil fuels to renewables.

An idea that appeared to have good support was that national parliaments be required to debate each country’s EITI report, and associated matters of natural resources governance and energy and raw materials policy, every year.

Payment and revenue transparency is necessary but not sufficient in itself to hold companies and governments to account for their stewardship of non-renewable natural resources and of the very large sums of money oil, gas and minerals can generate. Ultimately, we need to go beyond the EITI to fully audited all-sector company-by-company, country-by-country reporting of a wider range of data including production volumes, sales, costs, assets, employment levels and profit, as argued by colleagues in the Tax Justice Network, and to more comprehensive action on the extractive industries, sustainability and human rights. In the meantime, however, strong EITI implementation by many more countries is clearly a step in the right direction.

Miles Litvinoff ( coordinates the Publish What You Pay UK coalition and the UK EITI civil society network and is a member of the UK EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group.

[1] Germany initially stated an intention to test the EITI on a pilot basis but has since decided on full implementation.

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