Afghanistan Agrees to Transparency Standards

Country: Afghanistan, Iraq
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Revenue Watch Applauds Commitment to EITI and Calls for Government Cooperation with Civil Society
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York—With the formal addition of Afghanistan to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative this week, leaders and citizens gained a new tool in the struggle for regional stability, and the embattled country signaled a commitment to sound natural resource management and increased public accountability.

The Revenue Watch Institute welcomed the acceptance of Afghanistan as the latest "implementing country" in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international voluntary standard for disclosure and responsible management in the oil, gas and mining sectors. The EITI board announced the addition of both Afghanistan and Iraq yesterday in Oslo, Norway.

"Afghanistan's mineral resources are attracting growing interest from international investors, after decades of conflict and little progress in national efforts to rebuild," said Karin Lissakers, director of the Revenue Watch Institute. The nation's Ministry of Mines opened bidding on three oil and gas blocks in summer 2009, and also signed a recent deal with China Metallurgical Group to extract copper. 

"Government adherence to the principles of transparency of payments increases the likelihood that the people will benefit from their country's valuable resources, and helps to build public trust," said Lissakers. "We hope that Afghan officials and the international community will work together to safeguard the rights and freedoms that make the EITI dialogue possible."

With Iraq and Afghanistan now implementing the EITI, Revenue Watch believes the Middle East and neighboring countries have significant new opportunities to increase both economic and political stability.

CONTACT:
Jed Miller, +1 917 257-0670, jmiller@revenuewatch.org

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