Publish What You Pay Celebrates 10 Years at Annual Conference

As the European Union prepares to draft new transparency rules, Publish What You Pay (PWYP), the global coalition of civil society groups working for transparency in the oil, gas and mining industries, celebrated its 10th year at the opening today of a three-day conference in Amsterdam.

PWYP has changed the way companies and governments do business with each other, transforming relationships that were opaque or secret to relationships that are transparent and accountable to the public. Companies and governments are now held to a higher standard of transparency through mandatory reporting requirements in some countries and voluntary reporting in Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative-compliant countries.

The coalition began as a group of 40 individual activists to a global coalition of more than 650 member organizations in more than 60 countries—and found that strength in numbers was the key to success. By uniting advocacy organizations with different strengths and ambitions, groups that previously felt isolated in their fight were united under a common goal of transparency and accountability. This common goal also strengthened the individual groups by giving citizens access to speak directly with government and company representatives about the public's concerns.

(Not incidentally, strength in numbers can claim some of the credit for two recent, significant developments in mining, gas and oil industries: the passage of rules by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission governing companies' compliance with Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, and last week's announcement of a mining industry and civil society partnership in Canada, which will be the driving force behind new transparency and reporting standards for Canadian companies operating domestically and internationally.)

PWYP’s challenges include extending provisions similar to the U.S. disclosure law throughout the European Union, and expanding PWYP participation in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and in rapidly developing South Asian nations.

We'll have more dispatches from the PWYP conference throughout the week.

Suzanne Ito blogs for RWI.

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