We need to deal with the systemic causes of poverty and inequality and the extractives sector is the obvious place to start. The extractives sector needs to be accountable, not just in terms of the use of its revenues but also regarding its impacts on human rights, the environment and society for instance. Transparency is about pulling back the curtain to find out what’s happening, expose this to the world and hopefully improve the lives of people on the ground.
I’m really passionate about climate change and – although that may seem a strange link – I believe we can make better strategic choices if there is greater transparency around the economic benefits of mining (or lack thereof). We need to use natural resource revenues to prepare for a future once these resources run out.
Transparency can also be a way to begin to mitigate the chances of conflict occurring. Transparency is not the answer to all these issues but it is certainly part of the solution.