By Juliet Ukanwosu
As energy transition creates a golden opportunity for countries supplying strategic minerals due to rapidly increasing demand and favourable prices, countries dependent on coal and oil will, in contract, face significant challenges as demand falls and an era of volatile prices ensues, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Executive Director, Mark Robinson, has said.
Robinson who was speaking at the at the United Nations Global Roundtable on extractive industries as an engine for sustainable development, said oil dependent countries will only profit from this opportunity if production is undertaken in a responsible, transparent and inclusive manner, and revenues are used to finance the SDGs.
He explained that the EITI data and its multi-stakeholder platform at the national level can help inform policies to support the energy transition and the implementation of long overdue reforms. These he said include the gradual elimination of coal and oil subsidies and the promotion of alternative sources of employment to ensure a just transition.
“EITI national multi-stakeholder groups can play a key role in informing citizens about the costs and benefits of the energy transition and ensuring that local communities can participate in public dialogue on the transition,” he stated.
According to him, the presence of oil, gas and mineral resources has the potential to transform societies and economies. But all too often secrecy and opacity have weakened accountability, thereby stalling and reversing sustainable development.
The EITI, he says, works to bolster the struggle against corruption, to promote investment to create jobs, and mobilise revenues to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also aims to foster a level playing field for business, which are vitally important goals in the context of a post-pandemic recovery.
“The energy transition creates opportunities and challenges for resource-rich countries. The EITI is putting the energy transition at the heart of its strategic priorities. We seek to do this by encouraging countries to use data to inform decision making, convening policy makers to consider the implications of the energy transition, and by showing how the EITI can inspire climate action through COP26 and beyond.
“We recognize that the effects of the transition on EITI member countries will vary, depending on context, capabilities and resources. We also recognize that many EITI countries have urgent energy needs. We therefore refrain from a one-size-fits-all approach and align with national and local priorities,” Robinson stated.