History

In September 2012, we launched our new strategy: Vision 20/20 on the occasion of our ten year anniversary conference.

In 2009 a report on the history and origins of the PWYP was published, Publishing What We Learned

If you would like a physical copy, please contact the Secretariat (info(at)publishwhatyoupay.org).

What are the origins of the Publish What You Pay campaign?

In December 1999 Global Witness published A Crude Awakening, an exposé of the apparent complicity of the oil and banking industries in the plundering of state assets during Angola’s 40-year civil war. It became clear that the refusal to release financial information by major multinational oil companies aided and abetted the mismanagement and embezzlement of oil revenues by the elite in the country. The report concluded with a public call on the oil companies operating in Angola to ‘publish what you pay’.

It was clear however that the lack of transparency in the extractive industries was also a significant concern in other resource-rich but poor countries. Therefore in June 2002 Global Witness along with other founding members, CAFOD, Open Society Institute, Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK and Transparency International UK, launched the PWYP campaign, calling for all natural resource companies to disclose their payments to governments for every country of operation.

The small founding coalition of NGOs was soon joined by others such as Catholic Relief Services, Human Rights Watch, Partnership Africa Canada, Pax Christi Netherlands and Secours Catholique/CARITAS France, along with an increasing number of groups from developing countries.

How has the PWYP coalition grown over time?

From a few, mostly UK-based, groups at its launch PWYP members today span nearly 60 countries, with PWYP national affiliated coalitions more than 35 of these. This growth can be primarily attributed to the great thirst for change in resource-rich developing countries among civil society groups, given the devastating impact of the resource curse. The campaign is largely consistent with ongoing local priorities regarding good governance, corporate accountability and poverty reduction and has thus served as a useful vehicle for local groups to continue to push for greater access to information and accountability. To find out more about what being a member entails, read our PWYP passport.

How has the campaign’s scope evolved since its launch?

PWYP’s call for companies to “publish what you pay” and for governments to “publish what you earn” is a necessary first step towards a more accountable system for the management of natural resource revenues.

However it is not possible to ensure proper management of natural resource wealth by looking exclusively at revenues. PWYP members therefore also call for transparent and accountable management of natural resources all along the so-called extractive industry “value chain”. PWYP has created its own value chain, from the point of and for civil society – view it here.

Throughout PWYP’s history, its members have worked on issues all along the value chain. In order to reflect this, PWYP adopted a new strategic framework in 2012, which illustrates PWYP’s expanded scope. View our members’ strategic priorities in our strategic menu.