1. The Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) met in Oslo on 27th September in the presence of the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erik Solheim. He said “Paradoxically, natural resources have become a curse in many countries. The EITI’s measures to increase transparency in relation to revenue streams are part of what is needed to break this curse”.
2. The EITI has developed the EITI Validation process for countries and companies committed to implementing the initiative. At Thursday’s meeting, the Board agreed that 15 countries are considered candidate countries and can proceed to implementation. These are Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Niger, Nigeria, Peru and Yemen. These countries will now have two years to establish themselves as fully compliant.
For a further group of nine countries, the Board agreed that additional information would be requested by the end of 2007 so that a decision about candidate status can be determined. These were: Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago, and Timor-Leste.
3. The Chairman of the Board, Peter Eigen, described the agreement to move ahead with the 15 candidate countries, and hopefully the nine others by year-end as a “historic milestone” in the development of the EITI. “These Governments have committed themselves to work with civil society and companies in a frank and open ways which has the real potential to change the way this business is done. This can have a major impact on how Governments of resource rich countries allocate those revenues to improve the lives of the millions of poor people”.
At the meeting, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that the Government of Norway will implement the EITI. This makes Norway the first developed country to announce that it will not only support the EITI and the implementation of the initiatives elsewhere, but will also itself implement it. Jonas Moberg , Head of the Secretariat added; “The Norwegian announcement will bury forever the idea that the EITI is a club for rich countries to tell poor countries with lots of natural resources what they should be doing.”
Eddie Rich, EITI Secretariat, +47 22 24 42 09 (office) or +47 909 14064 (mobile)
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. The EITI is a coalition of governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organisations. All these constituencies are represented on the Board, which is chaired by the founder and Chair of the Advisory Committee of Transparency International, Peter Eigen. The EITI Secretariat is hosted by the Norwegian Government in Oslo and was formally opened on 26th September.
2. For millions of people who live in countries with abundant oil, gas or minerals resources, the resources have been more a curse than a blessing. The EITI aims to change this through the full reporting and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining, in resource-rich countries.
3. To achieve candidate status, the host government must issue a public statement of intent, commitment to work with civil society and companies, appoint a senior individual lead, and to produce a fully costed, published workplan agreed with other stakeholders. To become fully compliant, a country needs to sign up, prepare, disclose and disseminate information on all the material revenues received by the Government from the oil, gas and mining sectors with the full engagement of other stakeholders in that country. At present, no country has been formally validated against these criteria, though many clearly have advanced processes. The EITI Validation Guide and other information can be found on http://www.eitransparency.org.