Preparing to start the 2016-2017 EITI Communication Strategy, on September 13, 2016, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Secretariat launched its third EITI Survey to measure the EITI impact in community so far. This survey cames after the publication of 2013-2014 EITI Report, which contains coherent data about extractive industries developments and for the first time includes information on hydro energy, to determine the impact that published information in this report had in community.
EITI Survey is already turning as an annual event which aims to measure the EITI Initiative impact in community by enabling face to face meetings with citizens in the areas where extractive industry mostly operate. The cities where the third EITI Survey conducted are as Pogradeci, Korça, Bulqiza, Burreli, Librazhdi, Kukësi, Vlora, Patosi, Fieri, Përrenjasi, Rrësheni, Vaut i Dejës dhe Tirana.
The questionnaire consisted of 21 questions and provided data on how much knowledge the Albanian citizens have about the extractive industry, EITI Initiative and the investment made in their community from incomes that this industry brings to state budget revenues. This Survey run up until November 2016 and also was used as a promotion tool about EITI Initiative, where the Albanian EITI Secretariat staff conducted meetings with all municipalities’ representatives and discussed about EITI Initiative implementation in Albania, the annual EITI Report publication and about the problems that this municipalities faced in royalty revenue collection, etc.
Like two years ago, to the question “What natural resources has / is used in Albania / town / your area?”, resulted that 95% of respondents were aware of extractive activities in the community. However, the faith among citizens that this industry is used for economic, social and cultural development of communities is very low.
This is indicated in the responses to the question “Do you think after these companies can be hidden owners as politicians, deputies and other officials?” , about 90% of respondents answered that yes we think that behind these companies are hidden people with political power.
The high number of unemployment, problems in infrastructure, were some of the main concerns raised by citizens, where 90% of respondents to the question “Who do you think benefits from payments / revenues coming from the extractive industry?” answered, owners of companies and people with political power.
Although, Albania EITI so far has published 6 EITI Reports, by giving detailed and coherent information on the extractive industries developments in the country, held frequently meetings and workshops with stakeholders in areas where the extractive industry is concentrating, noted that the information citizens have about Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is still low. Seeing a low percentage of positive responses to the question “EITI is Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Have you ever heard of it?” encourages us to extend an intensive promotional campaign in areas where extractive industry operates. Albanian EITI Secretariat by seeing the issues raised at the meetings held during the ” EITI Survey 3″, the new Communication Strategy, November 2016 – December 2017, has included for citizens a range of outreach activities such as development of round tables with civil society, journalists, press conferences for 2015 and 2016 EITI reports, open seminars with students of Geology and Mining Faculty, Journalism Faculty, Finance Faculty, Economy Faculty, awareness campaigns in extraction areas and informative seminars for communities residents affected by extractive industry, national and local television campaign, training of local staff and more other all-inclusive activities.
It was in our interest to obtain citizens opinion by asking “What communication tools would you like to be informed about EITI Initiative?” where a high number of respondents suggested to the Albanian EITI Secretariat the use of the national television as a communication tool.
Thanking all the citizens who participated in the EITI Survey and by taking into account all the answers, transparency in the extractive industry remains primary objective for the good governance of natural resources.