By Kelvin Alohan
The Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at its 53rd Meeting, has suspended Mexico from the Initiative over what it described as a deteriorating environment for civil society participation in the EITI process.
The Board concluded that civil society engagement in the EITI is partly met, and therefore, temporary suspended Mexico pending improvements of civic space that will be assessed in the next Validation, scheduled to commence in July 2024.
It further concluded that despite significant progress in transparency in the oil and gas sector, Mexico has achieved a low overall score in EITI implementation, due to limited progress in the mining sector.
Extractive360 reports that Mexico joined the EITI in 2017 and has used the EITI platform to air grievances and work to build consensus on issues that have historically been a source of contention in the extractive sector.
However, the Board concluded that the objective of civil society’s full, active and effective engagement in the EITI process is partly met, given a deteriorating environment for civil society’s freedoms of expression and operation in engaging in public debate around the extractive industries.
“The Validation process has identified credible reports that fears of intimidation and reprisals have caused self-censorship among civil society actors in relation to the management of natural resources and the EITI process. This has contributed to an environment of public stigmatisation of civil society and a rising trend of violence against journalists and civil society working on issues of extractive industries and governance.
“The Board’s assessment that the objective of an enabling environment for civil society participation in the EITI process is partly met reflects serious concerns over breaches of the EITI protocol on civil society participation,” said Helen Clark, EITI Board Chair, in a statement on the organisations website.
“Mexico’s progress with data disclosures will only translate into accountable management of the country’s natural resources if there is genuine oversight of EITI implementation, with attention to active outreach and dissemination around the findings of the EITI process. I urge all stakeholders in Mexico, led by the government, to make swift adjustments in line with the urgent and necessary corrective actions agreed by the EITI Board,” Clark added.
The Board noted that Mexico can further strengthen government disclosures on mining to respond to public demands, particularly on its social and environmental impacts, company ownership and the gender aspects of the industry.