As Publish What You Pay is gearing up to actively participate in the next Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit in Paris 7-9 December 2016, we have submitted our commitments to the OGP Paris Declaration.
The Paris Declaration, drafted by the OGP Summit and the French Government, is the main output of the Summit will be an official Declaration. It consists of several actions that governments and civil society are encouraged to sign up to. PWYP has identified three actions that are particularly relevant to the PWYP network:
Action 2: Ending abuse of anonymous companies
We will reduce the opacity around corporate ownership, limit fraud and minimize conflict of interest by collecting accurate, adequate, and timely basic and beneficial ownership information (including legal ownership information and trusts), and making it available and fully accessible to law enforcement and those who have a legitimate need for it, including those working to help prevent abuse. Countries may choose to achieve this goal through the creation of public registries of beneficial ownership that are open and free for use by all. We will encourage and support other countries to implement beneficial ownership global standards, as promulgated by the Financial Action Task Force, and best practice. This will contribute to increased competitiveness, a level playing field for business, and to transparency. Timely access to beneficial ownership information should be arranged in a way that does not compromise law enforcement investigations. We will work to ensure that beneficial ownership information can be used effectively to detect and fight corruption.
PWYP members commit to advocate for beneficial ownership disclosure in the extractive sector through the effective implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Standard. For that purpose, the PWYP Secretariat will ensure that its members have access to training and guiding material on how to campaign for beneficial ownership and on how to verify and use beneficial ownership information.
In Indonesia, the PWYP coalition is committed to supporting the Government’s efforts following the announcement at the London Anti-Corruption Summit in May that it will implement cross-sectoral beneficial ownership transparency. PWYP Indonesia is involved in the development of a national roadmap for beneficial ownership disclosure and is particularly active in pushing forward the publication of beneficial owners in the extractive sector through the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative. In addition, PWYP Indonesia will be publishing soon consolidated findings from its research on Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) in the coal industry.
PWYP Canada commits to actively advocate for the creation of a public central registry of beneficial owners in Canada and to continue to engage the public about the need to reform Canada’s secrecy regime (proposed).
PWYP UK has supported civil society advocacy leading to the UK government’s launch of its public beneficial ownership register in 2016 and will continue to support calls for public beneficial ownership registers in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.
Action 8: Transparency and open contracts in the natural resource sector
We will publish the contracts, licenses or leases (including associated geospatial information) which detail the agreements made between companies and the government on natural resources and land projects and the sales of commodities, and we will improve the transparency of the processes through which those agreements are made, in line with the open contracting principles. We will also publish information and assessments on the potential social and environmental impacts of these projects, and improving accountability and participation in their environmental management.
PWYP commits to producing knowledge tools to share the experience of its members in campaigning for contract transparency in the extractive sector. In particular, PWYP aims to publish a case study on contract disclosure in Tunisia and infographics providing guidance on how to read oil, gas and mining contracts. In addition, PWYP aims to train its members at regional events in 2017 in order to build their capacity in campaigning for contract disclosure.
PWYP intends to advance the disclosure of “climate risks” through national legislation and voluntary frameworks such as the EITI. This should include the disclosure of carbon taxes, repayment of climate finance received, relevant laws, regulations and reforms associated with climate change. In addition, companies should reveal whether individual projects are economically viable in light of the 1.5C or 2C cap and in particular how much tax breaks and subsidies they would receive for that specific project. Ensuring companies commit to taking into account climate change impacts is key to allow countries and their citizens to make informed choices about whether or not to go ahead with projects in an increasingly carbon-constrained world.
PWYP Nigeria commits to engaging extractive companies and government agencies on the need to conduct regular socio-environmental audits in consultation with local communities to allow the latter to access timely information about the impact that extractive activities have on their livelihoods.
In the Latin American region, RLIE - La Red Latinoamericana de Industrias Extractivas - the PWYP affiliated network, will continue campaigning for governments and companies to publish information regarding the social and environmental impacts and costs of the extractive activities. Together with other partners, RLIE is pushing for specific commitments to be made at the national, regional and global levels through national regulation but also through relevant transparency mechanisms, including the EITI, OGP and the Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
Bantay Kita, the PWYP affiliated coalition in the Philippines, aims to consolidate socio-environmental disclosure through the EITI reporting mechanism, ensuring that Environmental Compliance Certificates and social development plans are made public and thereby inform local communities affected by mining are informed about the rehabilitation activities and social programs of companies. These disclosures provide space for communities to actively hold companies accountable.
Action 20: Guiding principles for open data policy
Open data is a crucial part of more transparent, innovative, responsive and effective governments. Accessible, comparable and timely standardised information can support evidence-based policymaking, enhancing collaboration between citizens and governments worldwide. Therefore, we will adopt and effectively implement the principles of the Open Data Charter to support open government and deliver National Action Plans.
PWYP commits to developing a position paper on Open Data in alignment with the Open Data Charter, including guiding principles to encourage the use of open, accessible, comparable and timely data by governments and extractive companies in order to increase public oversight over extractive revenues.