An unusual combination of industry, government, investors and civil society here is celebrating the United States’ initial acceptance into a prominent global initiative aimed at strengthening transparency and accountability in the extractives industry.
Last week, the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) board accepted the U.S. application to become a candidate country in the grouping. The United States thus became the first Group of Eight (G8) wealthy nation to formally become part of EITI, and joins around 41 other countries that have already done so.
EITI, based for the past decade in Oslo, promotes a set of global standards for the oil, gas and mining sector that works to reduce corruption and promote good governance. Proponents say the United States’ participation underlines a strengthening global trend towards transparency, particularly in the extractives sector.
“This is just another part of the wave of transparency – recognition that this information is important not only to investors but also to countries in which industry operates and to the communities that share their environment with mines and drilling,” Paul Bugala, a member of the panel that drew up the U.S. EITI application and an analyst at Calvert Investments, a socially responsible firm, told IPS.
“We’re at the end of the era of easy access to resources, where operators have to go further afield and at greater risk. If investors don’t have project-level payment information, we’re flying blind in many ways.”
The EITI process offers equal voice to government, industry and civil society representatives, and the United States’ application was jointly fashioned – and approved – by broad representation from each of these sectors.
“The oil and gas industry has worked with civil society groups and governments for over a decade through EITI to promote payment transparency in various countries,” Stephen Comstock, an official with the American Petroleum Institute (API), a central industry lobby group, told a trade journal last week.
“Expanding this effort to the United States will hopefully provide U.S. citizens with a new perspective of the significant revenue and economic impact generated from U.S. exploration and production.”
For the complete artice, please see Inter Press Service.