Almaty, September 30, 2010 – A Seminar organized by the World Bank on various aspects of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) implementation, is taking place in the Almaty World Bank office from September 29-October 1, 2010.
A delegation from Yemen, composed of members of the Yemeni EITI CSO Coalition, Parliament, and EITI Secretariat traveled to Almaty, Kazakhstan to take part in the event. The workshop is organized to facilitate an exchange among non-governmental organizations from Kazakhstan and Yemen in EITI implementation, and is led by CSO representatives from Kazakhstan and members of the National EITI Stakeholder Council.
Discussions on various points regarding the history of adherence to EITI in Kazakhstan, its set-up and activities of the CSO Coalition “Oil revenues – under public oversight!”, as well as the role of international organizations in EITI, are taking place over the course of three days in the World Bank Regional Offices for Central Asia.
Whereas Kazakhstan is currently in the final stretches of EITI validation, the Initiative is moving somewhat slower in Yemen, and it is expected that the Yemeni EITI will be validated only in March 2011. The exchange among CSOs is especially invaluable in light of the fact that CSOs are a crucial part of the tripartite EITI set-up, along with government and private sector.
Using the example of Kazakhstan EITI, the seminar includes a practicum on activities of the National Stakeholder Council, EITI reporting requirements, the role of civil society, and potential risks and opportunities in EITI implementation.
Extractive industries transparency is especially important because of Kazakhstan’s presidency of the OSCE. The advantages of EITI implementation in Kazakhstan include improvements in the country’s investment climate due to the fact that supporting EITI sends a clear signal to investors and international organizations that the country is ready to embrace greater transparency. EITI implementation in Kazakhstan led to improvements in accountability and governance, all bringing higher economic and political stability. Advantages for the private sector include reduced political and reputational risks. Political instability, caused by opaque practices, is a serious risk to potential investment. In the extractive industries, where investments are especially capital-intensive, and return on investment is quite long-term, increased stability is especially important. Transparency of payments to the Government also demonstrates the precise contribution a company makes to the country’s long-term development. Advantages for civil society are based on increased access to information to how the Government uses funds on behalf of its citizens. This makes Governments more accountable.
Therefore, the principles of good governance and transparency that are at the core of EITI implementation help build a country’s international image.
The World Bank’s Oil, Gas, Mining Policy division (SEGOM) and the EITI Multidonor Trust Fund (MDTF) are supporting countries in moving forward with the EITI process.