sharing in governance of extractive industries

What's the Point of Transparency? A new study of the EITI

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is about to adopt new rules which will expand the scope of its reports on extractive revenue flows and require them to be linked to wider national objectives in each EITI country. But what has the EITI achieved in just over a decade, and what might it achieve under the new rules?

I’ve been studying these questions as an Open Society Fellow, drawing on my three years of experience as a civil society member of the EITI Board and field research in Liberia and Timor Leste. My new report, What's the Point of Transparency? suggests that EITI reporting should be tailored to identify specific problems of natural resource governance, while openly recognising that their solution depends largely on other factors than transparency itself, notably on the political will of the government concerned.

The report argues that the EITI Board needs to make much more use of its power to confer or withdraw reputation, by creating new incentives for EITI countries to build on the minimum requirements of the initiative, and by speaking out in favour of those governance reforms which its reports reveal to be necessary. The report concludes by suggesting, as Lutz Neumann argued on this site last year, that we need to rethink the concept of “resource richness.”

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