Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Chair Clare Short have announced a partnership between the Commonwealth and EITI. The announcement was made at the 6th EITI Global Conference in Sydney, Australia.
EITI is a coalition of governments, partner organisations, companies and civil society organisations. It was established in 2002 to promote a global standard of transparency concerning revenue arising from the development of natural resources throughout the world. The EITI Standard requires implementing countries and companies to commit to the publication of payments by companies to governments and all material revenues received by governments from companies.
The Commonwealth has for many years provided legal, economic and technical advice and assistance to its member countries in the area of natural resources. It has advocated regulatory reform and greater transparency in extractive industries.
Addressing the conference by video, the Secretary-General emphasised that the new partnership “gives effect to the view expressed by Commonwealth Heads of Government, welcoming the EITI principles and encouraging Commonwealth countries to support and implement them".
Mr Sharma added: “Today sees us raise collaboration to a new level. There are many Commonwealth member countries that could benefit from regulatory reform and engagement with EITI. Through this partnership, we will actively encourage countries toward EITI candidacy and assist them in the process of EITI compliance.”
Ms Short said: “I welcome this engagement with the Commonwealth Secretariat and its commitment to promote and assist implementing the EITI Standard in Commonwealth member countries."
Senior Legal Adviser Joshua Brien of the Commonwealth Secretariat represented the Commonwealth at the conference. Mr Brien observed that “there was overwhelming support for the new partnership", which he said “would provide an opportunity for the Commonwealth to collaborate with EITI to promote global standards of revenue transparency in all Commonwealth countries, and enhance the practical impact of the legal and technical assistance that we deliver".