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Susan, I commend your sincere opinion towards EITI achievements though I believe their initial strategy and approach was somewhat correct. After a decade of experimenting on EITI implementation and following the many expressions of discontent from societies worldwide due to government resource mismanagement, there is a pressing need to move towards a bolder accountable response from governments.

At this point in time, wouldn’t it be evident that once a government announce its commitment to join the EITI, it would take immediate legal measures to encourage participation from industry and civil society like Nigeria did?

In Peru, the public is pushing for improvement in effective fair distribution of wealth and the industry is vigilant to new mandatory rules hoping they do not drastically change their status quo, attitude that is been reproduced in many countries as in the case of the US with the Dodd-Frank Act...

 I share the views expressed in all comments below. In particular, I share blogger Elisabeth Rosenthal's views as reported by Jared Miller from the RWI. Transparency is certainly one of the enabling factors that may contribute to “better  development outcomes” but it should not be seen as an end in itself as Honorable Clare Short, President of EITI Board pointed out last year during a roundtable in Canada. There are many other factors  conducive of   "better development" outcomes without which transparency is a sterile exercise. Information generated and made available thanks to transparency may not be understood  and therefore not used by all stakeholders to inform decision- making process. A good starting point is to look for a Vision.  Do resources-  rich developing countries have a Vision, a long- term social and economic  planning or strategy that clarifies the contribution that extractive industries is expected to do to overall development of the country? Is that sustainable?  And for how long? How “inclusive” are stakeholders engagement and consultation? How strong are oversight mechanisms? The whole point of Transparency is to improve Accountability that is ...having people with knowledge that can hold their governments to account so that they can ensure EI revenues are spent according to the kind of socio-economic development conveyed by, hopefully, a shared  “Vision” for the future of the  country.  Transparency is one crucial step, but alone can not lead to “better development outcomes”. There is much work to do in strengthening democratic  governance and empowering stakeholders to hold their governments accountable...in developing countries and developed ones as well.
Thanks José for providing the link the WEF Responsible Mineral Development Initiative, I appreciated reading  Building Block 4 and also chapter 4 on the Use of Mineral Developments Agreements..the pro and cons are many..;-).

 

Hi all. The World Economic Forum has recently launched a report on its Responsible Mineral Development Initiative. Transparency appears as one of the key blocks of actions that countries and companies may undertake to make the mining business more responsible. The report mention a number of transparency initiatives, including some of the ones mentioned below (EITI, The Access Initiative) as well as cases study on a country –Liberia- and a company –Rio Tinto- publishing tax and royalty payments. I suggest that you check out chapter 4 of the report. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_MM_Report_2011.pdf

what happens to the revenue generated from this exercise ? ... the whole cycle of transparency applies again and accountability begins ...if AOP is based on projected development agenda then AIP should be based on revenue generation agenda...thus the center of these is ensuring that, the people benefit from it directly or indirectly ... these are the cultural communities, the barangay, the municipalities and the provincial government shares its revenue ... on the demand side the companies, they provide jobs and economic activity at the same time take their profit after tax,  of course if the local government units demands corporate social responsibilities be assume by these companies ...the cycle of transparency is most effective.

having said those ideas ealier, we have made a Local Ordinance of Mining Only as a sole guide for the stakeholders ... thus making it so transparent that everyone knows what the other is doing ...did it help governance stop corruption i say it did by creating a one stop shop to process papers with clear time line when it should be finished, we made our fees expensive so only those responsible companies can affords it because we believed that ONLY THOSE RESPONSIBLE COMPANIES IMPLEMENT RESPONSIBLE MINING PROCESS AND THE PARTICIPATION OF CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS TO MONITOR THESE CONCERNS INSURES THE PROTECTION OF ITS ENVIRONMENT AND ONLY THOSE GOVERNMENT WHO ADVOCATE TRANSPARENCY IN ITS GOVERNANCE SUSTAINS ITS INITIATIVES

I broadly share the views expressed in the other comments -- and would add that i think there is evidence that of corruption becoming more subtle in response to the global drive towards governance. EITI for example seems like a full-on deterrent to suitcases of cash handed over by an IOC to the president's son. But that's rarely how it's played these days. It's morely likely to be in 5% stakes on bidding consortia, cost recovery statements on billion dollar investments, service and procurement contracts. As in many areas, the regulatory environment moves slower than the criminals. I personally also feel that not enough attention has been paid to attempting to interest another key group of stakeholders in transparency - shareholders in the private sectors of producing countries.

thank you for these thoughtful comments.  We should focus more on making information useful and training people to use information..especially vis a vis EITI. but I've been saying this for years! 

Transparency is necessary if accountability is a must ....then sustainability can be attained.  Developing Country just like ours need Local Initiatives like Ordinances on Extractive Industry be made to inable the stakeholders understand their role, responsibilty and accountability to Governance, Company and Society in general...these means governance advocacy on responsible mining is in place, taxes and tariff are clear too...the civil society groups monitors the industry on issues raised base on protection of the environment and the implementation of its mitigating policies which governance advocated,,,the companies conduct their business with clear understanding of Laws, Ordinances and its Accountabilities...Thus making it Sustainable

 

 

 

 

Some have argued that transparency is good in and of itself. That "sunshine" is the best disinfectant. However, there is increasing demand for some empiricism to support these assertions.

Information has to be actionable, and the more I study corruption, the more I wish I understood trust, which also seems to play a role in how people use information to hold governments and firms to account. In this regard I recommend the work of bo Rotstein at the Quality of Governance Institute in Sweden.

Blogger Elisabeth Rosenthal raises a simple but vital point in this week's NYT "Sunday Review": As governments, watchdogs, the media and regular citizens embrace transparency as an increasingly important value, how do we ensure that information prompts action, and does not become an end in itself?

Using examples including restaurant grading in New York, risk assessment for loans and carbon emission reports, Rosenthal warns that:

... disclosure requirements merely get information onto the table, but themselves demand no further action. According to political theory, disclosure is both a citizen’s right and a tool to ensure good government and consumer protection, because it provides information that leads to informed decisions. Instead, disclosure has often become an endpoint in the chain of responsibility, an act of compliance with the letter of the law rather than the spirit of transparency. ...

Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis famously wrote in 1913 that "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." But in the cynical world, companies and political groups often deflect that light or diffuse it into 1,000 incomprehensible components.

Like the raw materials that become energy, disclosed information often needs refinement and a functioning infrastructure of expertise, analysis and advocacy before it becomes "combustible" fuel for change. Otherwise, as scientist Kevin P. Weinfurt, says in the article, "No one knows exactly what to do with the information once they get it." Archon Fung, head of Harvard's Transparency Policy Project and an RWI colleague, agrees that sometimes disclosure “is ineffective because there’s no way to act on it."

Professor Fung and his team work with RWI in the Transparency and Accountability Initiative, which is named in explicit recognition of the dilemma in Rosenthal's article. Without action, transparency may not create accountability, and without accountability, through new laws, new economic policies and sometimes a new government, information is just an endpoint, not a turning point.

Jed Miller is Internet Director at the Revenue Watch Institute.

By the numbers—the fight for oil and mining company transparency

1504   Section in Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act requiring companies to disclose taxes, royalties, and other payments made to the US and foreign governments
 
1.5 billion  People living on less than $2 a day in “resource-rich” countries
 
$30 million  Value of Malibu mansion owned by Teodoro Nguema Obiang, son of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea’s dictator
 
1    Number of white crystal-covered ‘Bad Tour’ gloves in Teodoro’s Michael Jackson memorabilia collection valued at $3 million (See “U.S. vs. One Crystal-Covered ‘Bad Tour’ Glove” court filing.)
 
270   Days after enactment that Congress required the SEC to issue a final rule (regulation) to implement the law
 
559   Days since Dodd-Frank enacted into law by President Obama
 
289   Days that the SEC has been in violation of the law
 
13    Months after Dodd-Frank that the European Commission issued a legislative proposal that would place a similar requirement on oil and mining companies
 
0    Host country laws oil companies have been able to cite that would prohibit disclosure of payment information as required by Dodd-Frank
 
3    Commissioners eligible to vote on the final rule (Chairwoman Schapiro and Commissioner Paredes are recused because of conflicts of interest.)
 
$50 million  Estimated amount Exxon says that it would cost to comply with law, even though it provides no backing data for the estimate and presumably already collects and tracks payment information
 
$41 billion  Exxon’s 2011 profits—a 35% increase over 2010
 
$100,000  Cost Barrick Gold, world’s largest gold producer, says it would cost them to comply
 
$1.2 trillion  Approximate combined assets under management of investors who have told SEC to issue a strong final rule
 
3   Companies and industry associations (Shell, Exxon and API) who say that payment disclosure “could allow terrorists” to target a project
 
2  Nigerian oil workers unions who say it would actually make them safer
 
5  Companies who met SEC Commissioner Gallagher on December 2, 2011, to lobby for a weak final rule—Shell, Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Occidental
 
15  Oil and mining companies who “support” the voluntary Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) program who are also members of American Petroleum Institute (