By Juliet Ukanwosu
The Executive Director of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Mark Robinson, has commended implementing countries for demonstrating enormous resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges occasioned by Covid 19 pandemic in 2020.
In his message on the organisations recently released 2021 Progress Report, which documents activities from May 2020 to April 2021, he noted that in many countries, EITI implementation has persevered and thrived despite constraints on funding and mobility.
“Several countries have embraced a new, flexible approach to reporting, publishing timely and relevant data on the impact of the pandemic on the sector. Flexible reports have included information on policies to support the extractive sector through the COVID-19 crisis, for example in the form of tax relief and production incentives. Many countries have also been able to increase the systematic disclosures of data, with Afghanistan, Argentina and Mexico making notable progress” Robinson said, in the message obtained by extractive 360 from the organisations website.
He disclosed that the EITI was fortunate to receive substantial funding for its work on beneficial ownership transparency in the past year, while expressing the hope to build on existing political commitment to take significant steps forward in this important area.
The start of 2021, he said, also saw a new requirement in the 2019 EITI Standard come into force on the publication of new or amended contracts between governments and extractive companies. These developments, according to him, represent game-changers for extractives governance.
“The lessons we learned this year will shape the organisation as we move forward with our strategic priorities for the remainder of 2021 and in 2022. We have identified six strategic shifts to help us progress extractive governance, in a world where the energy transition is a prominent and pressing issue, and where the role of open data in addressing corruption risk is critical,” Robinson said.
He added that recent developments have further underpinned the EITI’s understanding of how it can best create impact, an area which it plans to advance with an independent evaluation of the EITI and increased focus on country measurement frameworks.
Highlights of the Progress Report analyzed by Extractive 360 shows 55 countries implementing the EITI standards in the year under review and Nigeria occupied the Satisfactory Progress ranking against the EITI Standards. While Uganda and Ecuador joined the EITI, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) became a supporting company.
Also in the period under review, the EITI Board agrees next steps to strengthen the use of EITI data in climate policy and debate, and introduce greater flexibility in EITI reporting, enabling countries to focus on data that is most relevant to stakeholders.