24 Feb The EITI turns 50 (and 51)
This article originally appeared on the website of the EITI International Secretariat (eiti.org)
On the eve of the EITI Global Conference in Lima, the EITI welcomed its 50th and 51st implementing countries.
The EITI Board today approved EITI candidature applications from the Dominican Republic and Germany. There are now 51 countries implementing the EITI Standard.
The Dominican Republic is the largest economy in Central America and the Caribbean. Despite a long history of mining activity, the sector was until recently a relatively small part of the economy. In 2009, two Canadian companies, Barrick Gold and Goldcorp, began a USD 4 billion redevelopment of the Pueblo Viejo mine, located approximately 100 kilometres northwest of the capital city of Santo Domingo. The mine first produced in 2012. The project has been controversial, both in terms of the government’s tax take, and the social and environmental impact.
The Minister of Energy and Mines, HE Antonio Isa Conde, present at the 32nd EITI Board Meeting, said:
This is a historic moment for our country as it ends an opaque period of mineral extraction. This candidature is vital for ensuring transparency and helps us strengthen our public administration systems commitment to the country’s interests. We receive this challenge with energy and enthusiasm.
The Dominican EITI is aiming to make information on government income from the sector available to citizens. A key focus of national EITI implementation is building civil society capacity to effectively monitor the management of the mining sector. Civil society representatives in the Dominican EITI multi-stakeholder group who attended, said:
We see the EITI as our opportunity to ensure that extractive industries contribute to the sustainable development of the Dominican Republic. We are committed to working together to tackle the challenges related to governing this sector.
At today’s meeting, Germany was also welcomed as a candidate country. Germany becomes the 4th OECD country to implement the EITI, joining Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. France, Mexico and the Netherlands are also preparing candidature applications.
The German government has supported the EITI since it was established, as part of its broader transparency and developmental agenda. The decision to implement is in part an act of solidarity to “practice what we preach”. The German multi-stakeholder group aims to “contribute to the further development of the EITI Standard and its implementation and acceptance as a de-facto global standard, to support the global striving for transparency and accountability as well as the fight against corruption in the extractive sector”.
EITI implementation also has a strong domestic focus. While generally regarded as a resource-poor country, the total value of annual raw material production in Germany was approximately USD 15 billion. Germany has substantial deposits of lignite, potash and rock salt. Coal mining, which is to be phased out by 2018, is a special case. The coal sector is subsidised by the government, which means that it does not generate payments to the state. Oil and gas are extracted, mainly in North Germany and the North Sea. The multi-stakeholder group is aiming to provide comprehensive information of all sectors, and to “promote a broad debate on resource policy that includes aspects of sustainability (economic, environmental, and social)”. A key feature of the multi- stakeholder group plans is to ensure harmonisation of EITI implementation and adherence to the EU Accounting and Transparency Directives.
Uwe Beckmeyer, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Special Federal Government Commissioner for EITI Implementation in Germany, said “the implementation of the globally recognised EITI Standard will provide the framework for greater transparency and dialogue in the German natural resource sector. In union with stakeholders from the German economy and civil society we intend, in the course of the coming months, to lay the groundwork for Germany to achieve EITI validation.”