The UK and French governments announced yesterday that they will join the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a voluntary multi-stakeholder approach to greater transparency in the oil, gas and mining industries.
The UK has been one of the EITI’s main supporters since its foundation, but until now has resisted joining as a candidate country. EITI candidate and compliant countries undertake to publish annually the taxes, royalties and other payments they receive from oil, gas and mining companies, while the companies publish their payments to each member country. A multi-stakeholder group of government, company and civil society representatives oversees the process in each implementing country.
Marinke van Riet, Publish What You Pay International Director, said: “The UK’s commitment to become anEITI 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.”
The EITI currently has 39 member countries, of which most are in Africa. Norway is a fully compliant member and the US has committed to joining the initiative. The EITI was the first international response to the Publish What You Pay coalition’s highlighting of the resource curse – a phenomenon where many countries rich in natural resources suffer from poor governance, high levels of poverty and are at greater risk of conflict. The Publish What You Pay coalition has supported the initiative since its launch and has played a key role in raising its reporting standards. These standards have been further tightened at an EITI conference in Sydney, Australia, taking place this week.