The New Requirements of 2019 EITI Standard
At the opening of the 8th EITI Global Conference in Paris, outgoing EITI Chair Fredrik Reinfeldt formally launched the 2019 EITI Standard:
This is one of the most significant achievements of the outgoing EITI Board. It has involved a huge consultative exercise and, as with previous versions, in line with the EITI way, it draws on practice in the implementing countries. As such it is a reaffirmation of the commitment of the 52 countries. It focuses more on systematic disclosure of extractives data as a default rather than EITI reports. It also contains new requirements on contract transparency, the environment and gender. This topic will be covered in more detail in some of the other sessions of this Conference.
The 2019 EITI Standard represents a further evolution in transparency. The focus is on making disclosure and open data a routine part of government and corporate reporting, providing information to stakeholders in a timeframe and format that can support its widespread use in analysis and decision making. It now requires contract transparency for new contracts from 2021 plus new requirements on environmental reporting and gender.
Overview of the 2019 Standard
An overview of the changes is available here. The most significant changes include:
Contract transparency. In many EITI implementing countries, contracts signed by the state and by companies establish the fiscal terms that determine how much tax is paid for resource extraction. These contracts are often confidential, hindering informed public debate on whether the country is receiving a fair return. The 2013 Standard was a landmark in encouraging contract transparency and requiring a clear policy on contract disclosure, and was effective in putting the issue on the table for discussion at the national level. The majority of EITI implementing countries have taken steps to publish contracts and promote public debate. The 2019 Standard requires disclosure of contracts signed after 1 January 2021. Multi-stakeholder groups (MSGs) will be expected to integrate contract disclosure into their EITI work plan.
Environment. The environmental impact of the extractive industries is a focal point of public debate. The 2019 EITI Standard has reiterated that the EITI should cover material environmental payments by companies to governments, and encourage disclosures of contextual information related to environmental monitoring.
Gender. The 2019 Standard requires MSGs to consider gender balance in their representation and disclose employment data by company, gender and occupational level. It also addresses gender considerations in the dissemination of EITI data, and encourages MSGs to document how they have taken gender considerations and inclusiveness into account.
Mainstreaming transparency. The 2019 EITI Standard continues to shift the focus from publishing EITI Reports toward encouraging systematic disclosure, opening up new opportunities for MSG discussion and oversight. The Global Conference is showcasing progress in this area.