(Before It's News)
“We’re continuing our leadership of the global effort against corruption, by building on legislation that now requires oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose the payments that foreign governments demand of them. Today, I can announce that the United States will join the global initiative in which these industries, governments and civil society, all work together for greater transparency so that taxpayers receive every dollar they’re due from the extraction of natural resources.”
–President Obama, September 20, 2011, at the launch of the Open Government Partnership in New York
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has set a global standard designed to help promote the open and accountable management of extractive industry resources. With 51 countries implementing the standard, including the United States, the EITI is working to strengthen citizens’ understanding of their country’s oil, gas, and mining sectors by promoting the disclosure of extractive industry revenues paid by companies and received by governments. By increasing transparency and accountability in the extractives sector, the EITI is helping countries to improve governance, attract investment, and combat corruption and mismanagement so that citizens benefit from their country’s natural resources. As one of the first global multi-stakeholder initiatives, the EITI has robust participation from governments, companies, and civil society from each EITI implementing country.
The United States has long supported the mission of EITI, including by sitting on its international Board and by making financial contributions to support EITI implementation around the world. These global efforts include:
- Promotion and support of EITI as a key component of U.S. foreign policy efforts to combat corruption and advance transparency, especially as it includes and impacts the extractive industry. Through the State Department, the United States has strongly supported EITI since its inception in 2002 and played a key role in shaping it into a global standard. Through State Department representation on the EITI Board and committees, the United States has worked to expand EITI participation, maintain and adapt the EITI Standard to keep pace with changing global norms, and ensure robust review and compliance mechanisms for countries seeking EITI validation.
- Bolstering recognition of EITI in multilateral fora including the G-7 and the G-20. U.S. engagement also inspired others, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, and Australia to implement the EITI. The U.S. decision to join EITI advanced the mainstreaming of EITI principles and has demonstrated that a strong commitment to transparency and accountability principles applies equally to developed and developing countries.
- Support to the multilateral World Bank-managed EITI Donor Trust Fund, including $13.5 million in funding to support technical assistance and grants to strengthen national EITI secretariats, which are critically important to coordinating EITI implementation at the country level.
- Targeted, country-led bilateral support for EITI implementation through USAID Missions, including $14.5 million to support EITI candidacy, implementation, and civil society outreach. U.S. bilateral assistance has led to notable results, with activities in a diverse array of countries ranging from training country EITI multi-stakeholder groups (MSGs), to supporting civil society organizations advocacy and participation, to working with indigenous groups to reduce conflict over extractives.
- Pioneering efforts to measure and maintain the impacts of EITI through $2.8 million in international civil society organization support, research, and peer learning and exchange activities.
In addition to its global benefits, the Obama Administration believes that the EITI can make a valuable contribution to citizen understanding of the extractives industry here in the United States. The data disclosed through the EITI highlights the value of industry contributions to the U.S. government and helps ensure the full and fair return to the American people for the use of its public resources.
Since President Obama announced in 2011 that the United States would also implement the EITI domestically, the United States has:
- Formed a Federal Advisory Committee comprised of company, civil society, and state and federal government representatives who advise the Secretary of the Interior on how the federal government can improve the transparency of the U.S. extractives industry through the EITI.
- Released two U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) Reports with comprehensive data regarding production of energy and hard minerals and associated revenues on federal land nationwide, including data on U.S. wind, solar, and geothermal projects.
- Launched, through the Department of Interior, a groundbreaking interactive data portal that makes it easier for citizens to understand and utilize data about extractive industries in their communities. For the design of the new U.S. EITI portal, the Department of Interior worked with 18F, the digital service delivery team at the U.S. General Services Administration. The portal offers visualizations of extractives data to show how such resources generate revenue across the country, and where the money earned goes to benefit local communities in all 50 states and U.S. territories. The integrated single-window access now showcases enriched data and information like the Abandoned Mine Lands Program and the robust financial audit and assurance practices to improve the public’s understanding of our management and stewardship of vast natural resources owned by every American. Not only does this information makes us more accountable to the American people, but on a global scale our user-centered design approach and commitment to open data and open source code internationally recognized as exemplary best practice in reporting revenue data.
- Secured the voluntary participation of three major U.S. natural resource-producing states—Alaska, Montana and Wyoming—to participate in the USEITI process. Further engagement incorporated the voluntary participation of indigenous tribes, including Blackfeet Nation, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes, and Choctaw Nation. This collaboration with states and indigenous tribes expands public access to local-level natural resource data on revenues, distribution of those revenues, and legal and fiscal governance of the extractive industries, as well as the economic impact of extraction in their states and territories.