Publish What You Pay International
Date: 10 Sep 2008
Representatives from PWYP Africa coalitions and civil society groups from across Africa, Europe and North America were among the more than 140 participants at the PWYP 2008 Africa Regional Meeting, 8–10 September, in Abuja. The meeting was hosted by Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria and aimed to review campaign strategies and strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) to effectively advocate for transparency and accountability in the management of extractive resources in Africa, a continent grappling with extreme poverty despite its abundant oil, gas and mineral resources.
Participants at the meeting particularly reflected on the activities of PWYP Africa in 2007–2008, and the need to quickly strengthen and build sufficient capacity of African members of PWYP so that they can effectively advance transparency in the extractive sector – both at national and regional levels, including participating in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) – and contribute to the social and economic development of the continent.
This summit was significant in many ways. First, it was hosted in Nigeria, a country that has shown leadership in implementing the EITI. Second, it created opportunities for interaction and exchange of ideas between countries in Africa where new oil and mineral resources are or may soon be discovered and countries that have had long experiences with the impacts of extractives. Finally, it took place immediately before the West African EITI conference, providing opportunities for African CSOs working on revenue transparency to synthesize their position on the EITI.
- The social and environmental costs of extractive activities are not captured under the EITI, and other natural resources are excluded under the EITI framework.
- The EITI validation process is an important quality control mechanism, which makes the EITI unique compared to other similar international initiatives. However there is a tight deadline for the validation (March 2010), which has implications for countries that are not making much progress on the EITI.
- Embedding the process into law in Nigeria was a very important step.
- Until now, the subject of extractive industries’ transparency has been almost completely absent from the agenda of the African Union, and this silence negates the essence of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the principles of its Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
- There is a vital link between contract transparency and accountability in the management of resource revenues, and home governments of extractive companies play an important role in promoting a contract regime that is more beneficial to host countries.
- Persistent under-handed practices in the licensing process are of vital concern.
- Capacity building and a PWYP Africa governance structure are important for ensuring that civil society has ownership of the campaign and for improving the effectiveness of their advocacy.
- Extractive industry activities have particularly adverse impacts on women on the continent; their lack of involvement in the transparency debate is regrettable and highlights the continued importance of mainstreaming gender into extractive activities.
- We condemn the repeated cases of harassment of transparency campaigners across the continent.
- The Transparency Disclosure Bill currently before the United States Congress is a welcome measure, however it is important to note that developed countries in general are not implementing the EITI.
- International development partners have provided vital support to the work of PWYP in the region, which is commendable.
In light of the observations listed above, participants urged governments and international financial institutions to:
- Ensure comprehensive and effective implementation of EITI in all extractive industries at regional, national and sub-national levels.
- Disclose information on the transactions of financial institutions related to the extractive industries.
- Include contract transparency as a key element of the EITI.
- Mainstream gender into all facets of the EITI process.
- Ensure that national parliaments in candidate African countries enshrine EITI principles into their national legislation.
- Ensure that developed countries take the necessary steps to implement the EITI along with developing countries.
- Promote transparent bidding round processes, including simple contract terms and the implementation of local content policies.
- Ensure that African and home governments prioritize the adoption of freedom of information bills.
- Mainstream EITI into the Africa Peer Review Mechanism of NEPAD, as well as in sub-regional governance initiatives.
- Adopt mechanisms encouraging the decentralization of country-level structures to deepen impact at the sub-national level.
- Ensure that governments, intergovernmental institutions and donor agencies recognize the importance of providing adequate resources for the capacity-building of civil society organizations to support knowledge-based advocacy.
- Ensure that the World Bank fully supports government and civil society efforts to ensure greater transparency and accountability in extractive activities, particularly in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project.
Participants further recommended that PWYP Africa:
- Set up a governance structure for its work, including a General Assembly, a Steering Committee and a Secretariat.
- Hold the next PWYP Africa Regional Meeting in 2010 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Adopt a strategy for preventing the persecution of campaigners and establish a fund to intervene in cases of harassment of transparency campaigners in Africa.
- Implement a strong and relevant capacity-building programme during 2009–2010, including innovative and proactive web-based models.
- Increase the participation of women’s organizations in the PWYP campaign.
- Launch a campaign for social and environmental damages, contract terms, company cost assumptions and revenue expenditure information to be incorporated into EITI audits.
- Pursue advocacy efforts beyond “publish what you pay” to “publish what you drill, pump, dig and spend as well as practicing what we preach”.
Advocate for the implementation of laws and regulations in support of EITI.