Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

What is the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative?

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a multi-stakeholder initiative comprised of governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organizations. It is a voluntary initiative that is implemented by countries whose governments sign-up to do so.

Before being accepted as an EITI ‘candidate country’, governments must meet five sign-up criteria. Implementing the EITI involves a range of activities, but in essence it boils down to governments publishing what they receive from extractive companies and the latter publishing what they pay to governments. These figures are then matched up – or not, as the case may be. A country is deemed ‘compliant’ once it has been assessed through the validation process.

The EITI recently adopted a new reporting standard, considerably more robust and comprehensive than before.

The EITI Board oversees the initiative in between global conferences, which take place every two years and bring together all of the EITI stakeholders. For more information on the governance of EITI please visit their website.

To view the initiative’s global progress to date, see the EITI candidate and compliant country lists.

Why does PWYP focus on the EITI?

If companies disclose what they pay, and governments disclose the receipt of such revenues, then civil society in resource-rich countries have a greater chance of comparing the two and thus holding their governments accountable for the management of this valuable source of income.

The new EITI standard has now expanded to cover even more areas of the value chain. For instance, governments will now have to publish their transfers to local governments and payments for infrastructure investments. This will provide crucial information with which PWYP members can ensure extractive revenues are reaching their destination and being wisely used, both objectives under the pillar "publish what you spend".

Other reporting aspects, such as the publication of contracts, remain 'encouraged' rather than 'required' under EITI reporting rules. However, PWYP will be working to encourage countries to integrate contract disclosure in their reporting.

The multi-stakeholder nature of the initiative at both national and international levels has provided a valuable space for civil society representatives to engage in dialogue with their government and company counterparts.

Due to the voluntary nature of the EITI however, PWYP recognizes that the initiative’s principles will not capture all key resource rich-countries around the world. PWYP thus also advocates for mandatory mechanisms to require revenue disclosure, through, for example, accounting standard reforms and stock market listing regulations.

PWYP’s work on the EITI

PWYP was instrumental to the creation of the EITI and since its inception plays a crucial role in shaping the initiative – pushing for more rigorous policies and processes to ensure the global standard (and reputation) is upheld.

PWYP members at the national level are also very involved in EITI. National coalitions support the implementation of the initiative and act as watchdog to ensure it is being done effectively. In many countries, PWYP coalitions help with the dissemination of the information contained within EITI websites, whether by analysing the reports or going to citizens with the information. Some members also serve as civil society representatives on the national multi-stakeholder groups responsible for EITI implementation. To learn more about what PWYP national coalitions are doing to engage in the EITI, please visit the individual country pages.

At the international level, the civil society representatives on the EITI board are currently all PWYP members. PWYP's International Director, Marinke van Riet, serves on the board. You can view the list of EITI board members details online. The Publish What You Pay Secretariat in London helps coordinate members to act as the civil society watchdog of the initiative.

In 2011, the EITI Board launched a strategy review and set up a strategy working group to discuss the future of the initiative.

Publish What You Pay members from all over the world submitted their views on the new standard, calling for it to include contract transparency and project level reporting among other aspects. PWYP members lobbied at the international board meetings for such propositions to be accepted, and in May 2013 the EITI board launched the new reporting standard.

The new standard encompasses a range of far reaching changes and represents a robust reporting mechanism.

Notably, payments in EITI reports will now have to be disaggregated at the project level. This will provide invaluable information for citizens wishing to hold their governments to account at the local level.

A lucid dream

Fat Rat Films made this video, about our coalition in Niger, for the EITI film competition.

For more information please contact Marinke van Riet, International Director by email
or on +44 20 7031 0716.