What is Publish What You Pay?

Publish What You Pay (PWYP) is a global coalition of civil society organisations united in their call for an open and accountable extractive sector, so that oil, gas and mining revenues form the basis for development and improve the lives of women, men and youth in resource-rich countries.

What does PWYP want to achieve?

PWYP works to reduce poverty and to promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development through the transparent management of the oil, gas and mining (extractive) sector. PWYP engages at all stages of the extractive sector value chain, with the goal to support research, and promote training, learning and access to information by citizens.

PWYP aim is to address what is commonly known as the “resource curse”, a phenomenon by which countries rich in natural resources (oil, gas, minerals, etc.) - so called “resource-rich countries” - tend to have less economic growth, worse development outcomes, higher inequality and weaker institutions than countries with fewer natural resources. In many cases natural resources also lie at the heart of civil strife, violent conflicts and wars. The World Bank estimated that close to 50 armed conflicts in the world have a strong link to natural resource exploitation. In addition to sustaining conflict, resource exploitation has contributed to famines, the spread of diseases, population displacement, organised crime, corruption and serious environmental damage. Abundant natural resources, which should be a blessing for a low income country, in most cases make poor people poorer.

Who does PWYP target to achieve its mission?

In order to achieve a world where natural resources benefit everyone and not just the few, PWYP engages with a number of different actors and urges them to do everything possible to create an open extractive sector. Key actors we engage with include governments, multinational, public, private and state-owned extractive companies, investors, governments, international financial institutions and donor organisations.

When was PWYP set up, why and by whom?

In December 1999 Global Witness published a report called 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 evident 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 PWYP, calling for all natural resource companies to disclose their payments to governments for every country of operation.

How does PWYP operate?

As an umbrella body, PWYP maintains a Secretariat of ten staff to facilitate information-sharing, coordination and communication among coalition members, as well as facilitating training and access to research. PWYP has more than 800 non-profit member organisations (such as community based organisations, charities, faith-based organisations etc.) across the world, which need to adhere to PWYP’s governance and membership standards in order to become and remain members. In over 40 countries, these organisations have joined forces to create national coalitions. PWYP also has governance standards that each national coalition is requested to meet. The Secretariat is responsible for coordinating and supporting the collective action of the members at the national, regional and international level.

How is PWYP governed?

PWYP is governed by its members – every three years, representatives from PWYP coalitions and members meet to agree on key decisions at the International Coalition Strategy Meeting (ICSM). The ICSM also elects the Global Council whose role it is to provide overall strategic and policy guidance to the coalition; membership is based by region and organisations with global reach. A small Board is tasked with ensuring that the objectives and interests of Publish What You Pay, as a registered non-profit company, are protected and advanced. Visit our governance section for more.

How is PWYP funded?

Publish What You Pay International Secretariat receives funding from the Open Society Foundation, the William and Hewlett Foundation, World Bank MDTF, DANIDA, Cordaid, CAFOD, and Global Witness. We do not accept funding from extractive companies. To find our more, please visit our funding page. It needs to be noted that PWYP national coalitions have their own sources of funding.

Where does PWYP have presence?

PWYP has more than 800 members. In more than 40 countries members have joined forces to create a national coalition. You can explore our map to find out more about our members or coalitions.

For more information please contact [email protected] or on +44 20 3096 7717.