DILI, August 12, 2010 — The World Bank congratulated the Government of Timor-Leste for reaching compliance status with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at a ceremony held today. Representing the Government were His Excellency President Jose Ramos Horta, His Excellency Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, and His Excellency President of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama. The EITI is in place to ensure Timor-Leste’s natural resources can benefit the entire population.
Timor-Leste became the third country in the world to be granted EITI compliance status on July 1st 2010. The international initiative brings together governments, extractive industry companies, and civil society groups from over 30 countries in an effort to promote transparency and accountability in the oil, gas, and mining sectors. Approximately 3.5 billion people live in countries rich in oil, gas and minerals. Good governance of these revenues is critical for accelerated growth and poverty reduction.
"Transparency and accountability are vital for Timor-Leste to advance its economy both in the oil and non-oil sectors," said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. "The World Bank congratulates the Government of Timor-Leste, private sector partners, and civil society for their commitment to ensuring transparency in the management of Timor-Leste's natural resource wealth."
The World Bank's Oil, Gas and Mining Policy Division is supporting Timor-Leste in its efforts to implement the EITI through a US$230,000 grant from the EITI Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The Government of Timor-Leste has also committed its own budgetary resources for EITI implementation.
On 21 December 2009 the Government of Timor-Leste published its first EITI report. The publication was a major step toward achieving compliance status. The EITI is implemented by a multi-stakeholder group, chaired by the Secretary of State for Natural Resources, H.E. Alfredo Pires, and includes representatives from relevant government agencies, local civil society stakeholders, and representatives from oil companies operating in the gas fields off Timor-Leste.
Over 200 participants attended today’s ceremony, including government officials, civil society organizations, and representatives from the petroleum industry.