EITI civil society board members express disappointment in decision not to progress complaint against company board member
In February 2021, PWYP-US submitted a complaint to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Board, alleging the involvement of an EITI Board member of the company constituency in lobbying efforts which undermined mandatory oil and mining transparency requirements in the United States. PWYP-US argued that such lobbying violates expectations of EITI Board members, who should seek to further the EITI as an internationally accepted standard; and requested that the board member be removed. The PWYP Global Council wrote to the Chair of the EITI Board to highlight the seriousness of the allegations and the implications on the future impact of the EITI.
Last week, an “extraordinary” board meeting was held to discuss the complaint and the Rt Hon. Helen Clark, Chair of the EITI Board, announced that there was no consensus on removal of the board member and closed the complaint. In this statement, the Chair of the EITI Board recognised the need for the EITI to strengthen its expectations of supporting companies.
In response, PWYP-US has announced that it will “suspend its participation as a member in the EITI civil society constituency until the EITI commits to policies and procedures that hold supporting companies accountable.”
Today, the civil society board members of the EITI released this statement which clarifies their position, expresses disappointment that no further action will be taken, and outlines how the PWYP-US complaint is the latest example of a broader “pattern of behavior by a small, but influential, cohort of companies on the EITI board.” The civil society board members also highlight urgent steps for the EITI to take to ensure supporting companies live up to the EITI’s expectations of them.
In response to these events the PWYP Global Council has released the following statement:
The complaint from PWYP-US raises serious concerns about the conduct of an EITI Board member. We are disappointed that the EITI has missed this opportunity to send a clear message that companies who claim to support the EITI and their representatives must work to further the objectives of the EITI, not undermine them.
Thousands of civil society organisations across the world dedicate significant time and effort to the EITI. In many countries the EITI is unique in the opportunity it provides for civil society to engage with governments and companies on resource governance issues. It is therefore vital that the EITI is effective, legitimate and trustworthy. This cannot happen unless companies show support for the EITI not just in their words but through their actions.
The civil society board members of the EITI have outlined realistic and reasonable next steps to strengthen accountability of companies and build trust. We call on all stakeholders invested in the EITI to ensure that these steps are promptly taken.
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