What is the EITI?

In January, Lebanon’s government announced its request to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global standard promoting transparency. If Lebanon joins and implements the EITI it must create a multi-stakeholder group formed by the government, companies and civil society. This group will decide how the EITI process in Lebanon would work and disclose annually data on a range of issues from information on licenses, beneficial ownership, contracts, social payments, budget, production and revenue data. Publish What You Pay hosted a webinar (watch the video here) to introduce stakeholders to the EITI. LOGI created a FAQ on some of the key issues and questions raised during the webinar.

What is the EITI?

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global standard for transparency and good governance of extractive sector (oil, gas and mineral resources). When and if governments sign up to implement the EITI, they are required to disclose the amounts they receive from their extraction sector. In addition, companies involved in extraction are required to disclose the amounts they pay. The EITI has certain rules and requirements to be followed, all of which are found in the “EITI Standard” (a document) which is accessible through the EITI website.

Is the EITI imposed on all extractive countries?

Governments request to join the EITI. However, once governments decide to implement the EITI, it becomes mandatory to report and follow the commitment to the EITI standards and requirements to maintain membership. 

What steps must Lebanon's government take to join and implement the EITI?

  1. The government must issue an unequivocal public statement of its intention to implement the EITI. [Lebanon announced its intention in January 2017]

  2. The government must appoint a senior individual to lead the implementation of the EITI.

  3. The government must commit to work with civil society and companies, and establish a multi-stakeholder group to oversee the implementation of the EITI.

  4. The multi-stakeholder group: maintain a current work plan.

Who makes up the multi-stakeholder group?

There are three entities that play a role: the government, oil and gas companies (companies engaged in the extraction) and civil society. Each of the three must elect a representative(s) to the multi-stakeholder group (MSG), where decisions will be made on how to implement the EITI standard.

Did the Lebanese government choose to implement the EITI?

Yes, in January 2017 Lebanon's government announced its request to join the EITI.

How many other countries implement the EITI?

51 countries have already chosen to implement the EITI.

What are the benefits of implementing the EITI?

The EITI has advantages for governments, citizens and companies.

  1. EITI increases the citizens’ trust in their government, helps in preventing corruption, improves tax collection and attracts good investments.
  2. The total disclosure required by the EITI enables citizens to demand accountability and to make sure of how they benefit from the sector. This also gains more importance in countries in which leaders are not accountable to citizens. Transparency will highlight any bad management of the revenues.
  3. All companies disclose the same information, they benefit from the stability in the sector.

What are challenges Lebanon might face in developing an oil and gas industry and how might the EITI help?

Lebanon is perceived as a corruption country. Lack of a proper oversight mechanism and the lack of a mechanism so far to engage civil society in Lebanon limits the government's ability to challenge this perception. More transparency and accountability in a new oil and gas industry would build trust in the government.

EITI addresses these challenges by having written standards that the country agrees on once it implements the EITI. Moreover, looking at MSG structure of EITI, civil society is required to be actively involved and a decision maker in establishing governance rules for the sector.

How will civil society elect its representative(s) to the MSG?

Civil societies are represented in the MSG by a coalition constituted of all civil societies in order to contribute to the process of EITI. An election process happens among the civil society organizations. Certain criteria have to be met in order to qualify for the elections. CSO’s in Lebanon have already started working on forming a coalition to insure proper representation.

What resources are available to civil society for its role in the MSG? 

EITI has number of countries and organizations that provide a lot of technical support (examples: PWYP, NRGI that are already guiding CSO’s in Lebanon). In addition, guidance notes are provided on EITI website (including information on specifics). EITI secretariat is ready to show examples of how other countries resolved issues similar to ones that Lebanon might suffer from. EITI will support as needed. Also support from different organization is granted through different parts of the journey (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit or GIZ, Norwegian oil for development are some examples).

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#Transparency #EITI #Accountability #Civil Society #Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative