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UK becomes candidate for Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

Written by Yannick Vuylsteke on Tuesday, 14 October 2014

At its international board meeting in Myanmar today, the EITI accepted the UK’s application to join the global oil, gas and mining transparency initiative.

At its international board meeting in Myanmar today, the EITI accepted the UK’s application to join the global oil gas and mining transparency initiative.

For those less familiar, the EITI is a global initiative aimed at improving transparency in the extractive sector and aiming to improve natural resource governance. It was set up to help tackle corruption, to improve management of the revenues generated by oil, gas, and minerals, to ensure that citizens can ensure accountability in the management and distribution of natural resource wealth in their countries, and share the economic benefit.

Why does it matter?

Many of the world’s poorest countries are endowed with natural resource wealth such as oil and gas, but plagued by a lack of transparency and corrupt practices, the so called ‘resource curse’. A country’s natural resource wealth should benefit its citizens, and whilst the UK may not be plagued by the resource curse to the same extent, it has an important role to play in setting good practice and acting as a leader to help transform the way natural resources are managed around the world.    

The EITI remains a voluntary initiative, and Transparency International UK, as part of the global Publish What You Pay (PWYP) coalition working to improve transparency in the extractive industries welcomes the decision by the EITI board to accept the UK’s application, and the UK’s commitment to be part of this initiative.

At the most basic level, under the EITI, participating governments report revenues received for their oil, gas and minerals and companies report payments made. The EITI, however, is beginning to go beyond revenue transparency. The UK, for example, whilst not the first country to commit to publicly disclose the real owners of oil, gas and mining companies’, is the first to be implementing this from the candidacy stage.

The process so far

Transparency International UK has been part of a country-level multi-stakeholder group representing civil society alongside colleagues from the PWYP coalition to pull together the candidacy application and implement the requirements of the EITI. Now that the UK has been accepted as a candidate country, the UK’s first EITI report is due in April 2016. Oil, gas and mining companies operating in the UK will need to submit information on payments made to the UK government during 2014 by mid-2015.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President, François Hollande, announced on the 22nd of May 2013 that both countries would sign up to the EITI. Following this, under the UK’s 2013 presidency of the G8, David Cameron in June 2013 said he was determined to achieve change on three issues: advancing trade; ensuring tax compliance; and promoting greater transparency in the Lough Erne Communique.

This, along with the UK’s commitment to quickly implement the EU Accounting and Transparency Directives, mean the UK government is showing strong international leadership in this area. Thus far progress has been made. Civil society is playing an important role in this space, and whilst these commitments have already begun being implemented, we must continue to actively involve ourselves to ensure that, ultimately, this process offers the best possible benefit to citizens.


Read 12002 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 11:47

Yannick Vuylsteke

Yannick works as a Project Officer on TI-UK's Business Integrity Programme. You can view his full bio here.

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