Recent Articles

Transparency was at the forefront of discussions on Europe's energy future at the summit on "Natural Gas for Europe: Security and Partnership" in Sofia, Bulgaria this spring. In the Declaration of the Sofia Energy Summit, participating government workers, heads of state and diplomats agreed upon the need for transparency, accountability and improved public financial reporting concerning the energy sector. The Declaration affirmed several principles for natural gas policies in Europe.
On June 26, 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ended his historic four-day visit to Africa. During his trip, Medvedev and a group of Russian businessmen visited Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, and Namibia. In 2006, Medvedev's predecessor Vladimir Putin visited South Africa and Morocco without generating any visible progress on economic ties between Russia and African countries. However, the situation has changed.
On Friday, July 31, Oxfam America and Revenue Watch Institute will present two public panel discussions on the connection between natural resources, conflict and political stability in Latin America.
NEW YORK—On the eve of President Barack Obama's historic visit to Ghana, the Revenue Watch Institute called on the West African country to make good governance the centerpiece of its energy policy. With Ghana poised to become a major African oil power, Ghanaian and American leaders must hold both their countries to the highest standards of transparency.
On June 16, 2009, citizen leaders and politicians gathered in Lima as a new process was announced for public dialogue on the development of the Amazon region. A new arrival in Lima would find it hard to imagine that the parties gathered and smiling for a photograph today were two weeks ago engaged in an all out confrontation that would lead to the death of at least 34 policemen and native activists, leave the country highly polarized and seriously damage the democratic regime.
On Thursday Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, the Co-Chair of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, called for resource-rich countries to be more transparent about the revenues that oil, gas or minerals generate for their countries. Improved transparency, Hastings said, would help alleviate poverty, promote stable investment, and enhance energy security to help create more stable business environments and democratic governments.
The IBP, which released its annual Open Budget Index for 2008 this February, has created a new brief exploring the importance of budget transparency for donors, to help ensure the effectiveness of aid to reduce poverty and promote sustainable economic growth while preventing leakages, corruption, and mismanagement.
As part of "EITI Week" in Washington, D.C., the World Bank hosted a meeting on May 13 to facilitate a discussion among multiple EITI stakeholders about the state of EITI reporting and how it can be improved. The format and content of EITI reports has long been a source of local and international debate. Before the EITI was launched, amid careful rounds of negotiations among companies, governments, and civil society actors, the founders agreed not to require all countries to report their payments and receipts in a format disaggregated company by company.
On May 12, the EITI Secretariat hosted a roundtable discussion about opportunities to broaden EITI to also include sub-national regions. Though working with sub-national regions has been an EITI interest for several years, Ghana is currently the only implementing country to report sub-national revenues. Revenue Watch Senior Economist Antoine Heuty spoke about RWI's extensive work at the sub-national level in Nigeria's Bayelsa state and the meeting included perspectives from ongoing sub-national work in Peru, Colombia and Ghana.
One month of massive rallies and protests. Rivers interrupted by chains of canoes, central roads and even provincial and regional airports occupied by indigenous protesters. Pumping station shutdowns blocking the flow of oil to refineries and export stations and threatening to disrupt both national energy supplies and critical exports. A state of emergency across the entire Amazon region, with some constitutional rights suspended and the Army and the Navy poised to intervene in order to restore order and maintain the flow of Peru's precious black gold. After weeks of silence, a roundtable arranged for negotiations between the executive and the indigenous leadership.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Revenue Watch Institute today urged policymakers in the United States and abroad to embrace the standards and principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI, whose board meets in Washington, D.C. on Friday, is an international standard for openness in the management of oil, gas and mineral wealth. It calls for cooperation and dialogue among governments, companies, and citizen groups. More than two dozen resource-rich countries, from Peru and Nigeria to Mongolia and Norway, have implemented the EITI to date.
From May 11-15, leaders from the global transparency movement met in the United States. All last week and in the following days, Revenue Watch posted updates and reflections from events convened by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the World Bank. EITI board member and Revenue Watch chairman Anthony Richter also blogged throughout the week's events, which culminated in the formal meeting of the EITI Board.
On April 24, 13 leaders of U.S.-based human rights, development, faith-based, and environmental groups, including RWI Director Karin Lissakers, joined the Publish What You Pay Coalition in a letter to President Obama urging him to make transparency and accountability a priority of U.S. domestic and foreign policy.
NEW YORK–The Revenue Watch Institute congratulates its grantee and partner Marc Ona, who was announced Monday as the African winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for 2009. The prize is awarded annually to grassroots environmental heroes on each of six continents. Ona, the coordinator of the Publish What You Pay coalition in Gabon, is a leader in the struggle to preserve Gabon's natural resources.
Activist and RWI grantee Marc Ona was announced Monday as the African winner of the Goldman Environment Prize for 2009, in recognition of his leadership protecting Gabon's Ivindo National Park from the impact of the massive Belinga mining project. Ona, who is Publish What You Pay coordinator for Gabon, is also one of several advocates harassed by government officials in recent months for their pursuit of sound environmental policy and responsible revenue management.
From March 3-5, the World Bank Oil, Gas, and Mining Policy Division sponsored an Extractive Industries Week conference on the topic of "Improving EI Benefits for the Poor," taking on the topic of changing dynamics in the extractive sectors in the face of volatile commodity prices.
Though Halliburton made history recently when the company and its former subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) agreed to the largest corruption settlement ever paid by a U.S. company under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)—$579 million—their historic guilty plea is only the latest in a string of high-level bribery cases involving payments from multinationals to secure contracts in Nigeria and elsewhere around the globe.
The International Council on Mining and Minerals (ICMM) recently launched a well-thought-out review of design and implementation challenges for minerals taxation regimes. Revenue Watch was heartened by the report's strong endorsement for increased transparency in extraction taxes, and by its support for the EITI and for new levels of disclosure in the fiscal terms governing mining projects.
On December 31, anti-corruption campaigners in Gabon, including PWYP Gabon Co-coordinator Marc Ona and coalition Gabon member Georges Mpaga, both RWI grantees, along with civil servant Grégory Ngoua Mintsa, and two journalists, Gaston Asseko and Dieudonné Koungou, were arbitrarily arrested and detained for a full week without formal charges or official warrants against them.
Revenue Watch has been excited to see U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton championing openness in government both at home and abroad. Marking "Freedom of Information Day" on March 16, Secretary Clinton said that United States was "ushering in a new era of transparency in government."
A coalition of civil society organizations from the Democratic Republic of Congo's natural resources sector have released a statement challenging their government to improve its position on Congolese mining legislation following what they consider a flawed mining contracts review process last December.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy was on a two-day tour this week that included three resource-rich African nations. To ensure fairer sharing of revenues between industry and nations like Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, France must do more to increase transparancy and honor its own commitment to accountable natural resource management.
The UN General Assembly encouraged all member states to increase efforts to embrace and promote transparency and accountability in the extractive industries by unanimously adopting a resolution on the subject of "Strengthening Transparency in Industries."
Half a dozen Revenue Watch delegates joined over 500 participants at the fourth EITI Global Conference from February 16 to 18, in Doha, Qatar. Representatives from over 80 countries gathered to celebrate the achievements of the initiative thus far, to share experiences of support and implementation, and discuss ways of moving forward. The Republic of Azerbaijan was accepted as EITI Compliant, becoming the first implementing country to pass the EITI Validation process that determines whether an implementing country has met EITI requirements.
With bright sunlight shining on the gathered crowd, the mayor said, "I spent 25,242 soles for paving a street in the Cristo Nos Valga district." Amid Sechura's anniversary celebration, Mayor Santos Valentin Querevalu Periche spent more than 45 minutes describing, in painstaking detail, each line of the local government's budget. Between the flag-raising ceremony and the boisterous parade, the entire town stopped to hear how their leaders were spending the income from their natural resources.