Every two to three years, there is a global gathering of civil society, government institutions and company representatives at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Global Conference. This year, Citizens for Justice’s Executive Director Reinford Mwangonde and Head of Accountability, Policy and Programmes Rachel Etter-Phoya participated in the meeting in February 2016 which saw the introduction of the EITI 2016 Standard.
The new EITI Standard, which Malawi is implementing, includes the compulsory disclosure of beneficial ownership of companies, a revised protocol on ensuring civil society can participate freely and fairly, and improving accountability on governance reforms in each country. For more information on these and other changes, read the Natural Resources Governance Institute piece “What You Didn’t Hear About EITI Last Week: Six New Elements of the 2016 Standard and Their Potential for Impact“.
Reinford and Rachel were part of an 11-person delegation from Malawi that was made up of representatives from government, industry, civil society and donors. Malawi EITI (MWEITI) had a booth in the National Exhibition hall to share our journey so far as a country. This space also provided an opportunity to learn from other countries, including the Seychelles, Tanzania, Indonesia and the United Kingdom, on how they are progressing in implementing the EITI which seeks to ensure the use of natural resources is managed with transparency and accountability for sustainable development.
The week in Lima, Peru, commenced with the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Global Assembly, which is the largest civil society organisation network working on the extractive industries. In Malawi, Citizens for Justice hosts the PWYP Coordinator, Kaulungu Simwaka, who was also in Peru. We had the opportunity to discuss the new PWYP strategy, meet the new Executive Director, Elisa Peter, and reflect on improved multi-stakeholder governance in the EITI.
PWYP is also pushing for the expansion of the EITI reporting not only to include revenue data as it does currently but also to require reporting on social and environmental data. This is vital in light of climate change and the increase in conflict resulting from resource extraction.
This year, concerns were raised over the procesess adopted by the EITI Board, under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Clare Short, in the nomination of civil society to the new EITI Board. It resulted in a boycott of the EITI Members’ Meeting which preceeded the release of this statement by PWYP. The new EITI Board Chair, Fredrik Reinfeldt, has committed to ensuring there is a review of civil society participation in the EITI which is an initiative that was birthed through the civil society movement for better use of minerals, oil and gas, forests and fisheries by governments and for better practice by companies in these sectors.
Following these formal meetings and the many side discussions we were able to have, we have been reflecting on how we can do better as one of the civil society organisations on the Malawi EITI multi-stakeholder group. In particular, we need to ensure that civil society is well informed and coordinated around EITI to enable a clear, common position. We look forward to learning more by doing and making our resources work for the people!