This year marks a significant milestone for the EITI as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. This pivotal moment was also marked by the release of the 2023 EITI Standard, which places emphasis on using data and dialogue to navigate the energy transition, address corruption risks, promote gender equity and strengthen revenue collection.
Leaders from more than 60 countries came together for the 2023 EITI Global Conference in Dakar, Senegal, to welcome the opportunities presented by the new EITI Standard and, and doing so, reaffirmed their commitment to promoting transparency in the extractive industries. From Kazakhstan to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Tanzania, these leaders announced commitments on a range of issues, ranging from anti-corruption efforts, to local development and the energy transition.
Transparency and accountability are regulated with a view to benefit the country and investors in a win-win situation.
The 2023 EITI Standard offers opportunities for countries and companies to use the EITI platform to identify and address corruption risks in the management of natural resource wealth. It presents stronger provisions on disclosing beneficial owners and contracts, while also integrating anti-corruption into the objectives of many disclosure requirements.
Several countries have already started using EITI processes and reporting to identify corruption risks, while others recently committed to taking action:
The Central African Republic committed to publicly disclose extractive contracts and licenses and establish a legal basis for disclosing beneficial owners.
The Dominican Republic committed to verify the beneficial owners of companies in their process of awarding extractive licenses.
Honduras committed to use the EITI to showcase international best practices as part of its national anti-corruption strategy.
Kazakhstan committed to disclosing beneficial owners of extractive companies.
Local development and impact
Over two decades of EITI implementation across more than 50 countries has fostered improved dialogue and trust among national stakeholders, as evidenced by an independent evaluation of the EITI. But translating EITI disclosures into local development has been a significant challenge for many countries. To this end, several EITI countries and companies stressed the importance of strengthening their engagement on local issues and with communities:
The Central African Republic committed to empower local authorities and civil society in using extractive transparency for promoting local development.
Colombia stressed the role of governments in using the EITI to safeguard community rights and to monitor company commitments.
The Democratic Republic of Congo committed to strengthen mining production to bring sustainable development in line with social and environmental goals.
TotalEnergies highlighted the need to develop sustainable projects which provide local jobs and drives economic growth at the local level, and reiterated its commitment to contract transparency and multi-stakeholder dialogue.
Under the theme “Transparency in transition”, the EITI Global Conference tackled how the context for extractives transparency is evolving amid the energy transition, and what this means for EITI implementation. Several EITI countries are looking to use the EITI platform to identify and navigate the opportunities and challenges presented by the energy transition:
Mauritania committed to collaborating with other EITI partners in developing standards for the renewable energy sector and environmentally sustainable natural resource management.
Senegal – the hosts of the Global Conference – stressed the importance of the EITI in contributing to fair remuneration for future energy resources, developing local content policies and promoting an equitable energy transition.
A dedicated session also saw a diverse range of stakeholders emphasising the need to strengthen transparency and accountability in the renewable energy sector, with participation from renewable energy company Statkraft, Savannah Energy, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and the Transparency and Accountability Initiative.
Sustaining momentum, expanding the EITI family
The past two decades have seen the EITI evolve to respond to the changing context of the extractive sector. Yet its fundamental principles of contributing to sustainable development and poverty reduction remain as relevant as ever, as emphasised by H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of Tanzania, in her video address at the EITI Global Conference. Other leaders also reaffirmed their support for the EITI’s mission, Including H.E. Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway, and Sir Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who emphasised that extractives transparency has been and continues to be a central component of a broader accountability agenda:
H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of Tanzania, said: “We are committed to EITI implementation because it is aligned with our policy of promoting transparency and accountability in the management and use of our natural resources. […] In Tanzania, transparency and accountability are regulated with a view to benefit the country and investors in a win-win situation.”
H.E. Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway, said: “Norway has had the pleasure of hosting the EITI International Secretariat in Oslo since 2007, and I am pleased to say that our support will continue,” adding that “I am glad that the initiative is still […] moving forward, learning and adapting as we go.”
Sir Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said: “The EITI continues to make a real impact on people around the world. We should use today as a celebration, but also as an opportunity for everyone to discuss where we want to be in the 20 years from now, and what we need to do to get there.”
Moreover, support from like-minded organisations continue to be vital to the EITI’s success. Suneeta Kaimal, President and CEO of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, underscored the importance of ensuring that civil society engagement underpins EITI dialogue. On the industry side, Rohitesh Dhawan, CEO of the leading global mining association ICMM, highlighted that its member companies continue advance best practices in line with the EITI Standard, such as contract transparency, country-by-country tax transparency, and reporting on social and environmental impacts and contributions.
As the EITI moves into its third decade, it will seek to expand its mission to an ever-growing community of stakeholders dedicated to open and accountable natural resource management. Several countries have expressed their interest in joining this movement. Notable commitments came from Chile, reaffirming its government’s commitment to implementing the EITI, and South Africa, with its willingness to explore EITI membership and the role of the African Union in promoting best practices. The 2023 EITI Standard presents an opportunity for these and other non-EITI implementing countries to consider how EITI implementation could strengthen disclosures and dialogue in the face of a rapidly changing sector.