Lessons from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

  • March 21, 2011

At the beginning of the month, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative held their 5th Global Conference: Transparency Counts.

EITI sets a global standard for transparency in the oil, gas and mining sectors, supporting good governance in resource-rich countries through publishing verified company payments government revenues from oil, mining and gas. Almost a third of the 35 implementing countries are now complying with their standard, and momentum is impressive.

There are some lessons and points of comparison with IATI:

  • Like IATI, the EITI is a multi-stakeholder initiative, bringing together representatives from government, private companies and civil society. This approach has enabled the initiative to gather strong support from all sectors, facilitating swift movement forward.
  • Currently the EITI standard does not request specific disclosure of revenue flows from individual countries, allowing some parties to provide only aggregate figures. At the Conference, Radhika Sarin of Publish What You Pay and the EITI International Secretariat stressed the importance of providing more disaggregated data in future, in addition to increasing the transparency and availability of information about extractive licenses and contracts.
  • The Revenue Watch Institute have done some interesting work on analysing current EITI reports and creating visualisations of data to explain trends (see their analysis here). EITI are considering how to promote accountability at a local level. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Vice President for Africa at the World Bank, opened the session on using EITI data and discussed the importance of making data useful and accessible, cutting through a “mumbo jumbo of numbers”.
  • A communications strategy is an integral part of countries implementing the EITI. They have produced this useful document to support implementers and compliers with their communications efforts.

It is useful to see a transparency initiative that is several years older than IATI in operation, and to consider how some of the lessons learned from EITI’s experience might be applicable to IATI. We look forward to following the progress of EITI.