07 Mar Implementing countries commit to strengthening their voice
Anna Herbert de la Portbarré
This article originally appeared on the website of the EITI International Secretariat (eiti.org)
The National Coordinators from the EITI countries met in Lima last week.
‘A couple of months ago there was great opposition to beneficial ownership, but now the Government of Afghanistan has committed to publish the real owners of the resources in the country and steps are being taken to amend the legislation’, stated Mahmood Anwari, National Coordinator of Afghanistan. This statement adeptly captured the optimism and commitment to improved governance at the EITI National Coordinators Meeting held in Lima, Peru on 23 February 2016.
Representatives of 32 resource-rich EITI implementing countries, as well as Germany which was accepted as an EITI member on 24 February 2016, met to discuss revisions to the industry standard for transparency in the oil, gas and mining sectors.
The EITI Standard
To make it easier to use, the 2016 EITI Standard has been restructured in accordance with the extractive industry value chain and follows resources from the allocation of licenses to the distribution of revenues. ‘Mainstreaming provisions’ will also allow implementing countries to better integrate EITI reporting into transparent and robust government systems. Information on other smaller refinements to requirements are available here.
However, the area of most discussion was the new provision on beneficial ownership. Beneficial ownership seeks to identify the real owners of companies that have acquired the right to extract oil, gas and mineral resources. In 2013, the EITI Board agreed that the EITI will in the future require disclosure of beneficial ownership and new provisions have been included in the 2016 EITI Standard. As of 1 January 2020, it is required that implementing countries request, and companies disclose, beneficial ownership information for inclusion in the EITI Report.
Implementing countries supported this but noted the need for further support and guidance on how to: define beneficial ownership, draft appropriate legislation, brief companies on the matter, handle the issue of politically exposed persons, verify information submitted and to conduct gap analyses given the requirements of the Standard.
Also discussed were the new validation procedures, the funding review of the International Secretariat and coordination guidelines for the implementing country sub-constituency for the Board.
On the issue of the new Validation procedures, the need for an appropriate transition time to implement the 2016 EITI Standard was emphasized. Given the recent significant decline in contributors and revenues, implementing countries were asked to fully engage in the on going funding review of the EITI internationally.
Sharing information and representing each other
Lastly, the implementing country sub-constituency guidelines, which aim to improve effective information sharing and two-way feedback between representatives of implementing countries on the Board and their sub-constituency, were approved in principle. The new representatives of implementing countries on the EITI Board are available here.
Reflecting on her time as EITI Chair over the past 5 years, the Rt Hon. Clare Short closed the meeting by noting that the four challenges for implementing countries remained the need to better integrate EITI reporting into transparent and robust government systems; to turn recommendations into reforms; to make progress on beneficial ownership and to improve participation by implementing governments, parliaments and citizens.