Recent Articles

On October 27, Revenue Watch and its partners in Nigerian civil society convened a forum in Abuja that showcased the progress of our shared efforts in the Niger Delta. The meeting, which drew some 45 representatives from the diplomatic and development communities, sought to expand support and collaboration for RWI's key Niger Delta partners.

Applications are now open for a two-week summer course, "Developing Local Economies through Inclusive Policies and Planning," to be held at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Led by Revenue Watch partner the Local Government Initiative, the course will equip policy-makers and practitioners with strategies for improving sub-national economies. Learn more and apply ... (CEU)

Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In the November issue, Ecuador completes its oil contract renegotiations; PEMEX allows private exploration and production; and Peru seeks to amend hydroelectric concession process in the Amazon.
In late October, Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative coalitions from the Caucasus and Central Asia held their sixth annual meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Though plans for strong regional collaboration have fallen through in the past, this year, RWI and local partners introduced a new framework for inter-country cooperation and future shared campaigns.
World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala urged Chinese investors to embrace transparency, avoid secretive deals, and foster job creation in African host countries.
In October RWI and Transparency International launched a pioneering measurement of government disclosure in the management of oil, gas, and minerals. Together with the International Budget Partnership's Open Budget Survey 2010, the Revenue Watch Index offers a complementary overview of transparency levels across countries.
The Revenue Watch Institute congratulates our colleagues in the international Publish What You Pay coalition for winning the 2010 Commitment to Development "Ideas in Action" Award. PWYP was particularly commended for its role in helping pass the Cardin-Lugar transparency provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
RWI's Indonesian partner PATTIRO released a short video that outlines challenges for "oil towns" and civil society efforts to create sustainable development.
In September 2010, economist Edwin Truman published a book on Sovereign Wealth Funds—the range of reserve funds often used by resource rich countries investing revenues internationally. Sovereign Wealth Funds: Threat or Salvation, assesses some of the regulatory concerns and international tensions over these funds. Truman says SWFs have "matured under the glare of international attention." He talked with Revenue Watch about his research.
On October 31, citizens of Niger voted on a new constitution that includes extraordinary assurances of transparency in the natural resource sector. The new constitution, which was approved by an overwhelming 90% margin, includes strong protections for transparency and development that, if enforced effectively, will bolster public oversight and the accountability of the country's crucial mineral and petroleum activities.
In October, the Open Society Justice Initiative published a new report from law professor James G. Stewart that seeks to renew millenia-old prohibitions on wartime theft, or pillaging, through action at international and domestic criminal courts--particularly as pillaging applies to the illegal exploitation of natural resources by corporations and their officers.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In the October issue, Peru-Petro offers blocks for oil and gas exploration and Bolivia's government postpones the release of a critical new report on national gas reserves.
In June, the World Bank published Demanding Good Governance: Lessons from Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa—a collection of case studies from across the continent that showcases citizen campaigns to enhance government accountability and transparency. Revenue Watch's Dauda Garuba and co-author John G. Ikubaje contributed a chapter, "The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Publish What You Pay Nigeria," highlighting a lesson in government and civil society cooperation.
The Open Budget Survey 2010, released today in Washington, D.C., reveals that 74 of the 94 countries assessed do not meet basic standards of transparency with their national budgets. The report is produced every two years based on an independent comparison of budget transparency and accountability around the world. The new survey finds that just seven of the 94 countries release extensive budget information, and 40 countries release no meaningful budget information.
A Russian decree suspending required oil revenue disclosures is a significant step back.
Senior financial and development experts today supported the Natural Resource Charter (NRC) as a guide for societies managing oil or mineral wealth. "Natural resources can be a lifeline to prosperity," Charter co-author Professor Paul Collier said in Washington, D.C., "but harnessing their potential is both technically and politically challenging." Collier led a panel discussion during IMF/World Bank meetings, debating how countries can best choose between saving and spending windfalls from natural resources.
The Revenue Watch Index is a pioneering measurement of government disclosure in the management of oil, gas and minerals, ranking transparency in 41 countries among the world's top producers of petroleum, gold, copper and diamonds. The index is an assessment and comparison of information published by governments about revenues, contract terms and other key data. It is an important tool for elected officials, policy makers, civil society and media seeking increased public disclosure about natural resource management, and greater government accountability.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In the September issue, Brazil's PETROBRAS raises US $70 billion in the world's largest share offering and Colombia's Congress discusses a bill that would modify royalty distribution.
Revenue Watch was heartened by President Obama's strong praise for open government in his address to the UN General Assembly. Obama also welcomed new U.S. requirements for company reporting of extractive industry payments, during comments to the Millennium Development Goals Summit.
Based on a methodical assessment of 41 resource-rich countries, the Revenue Watch Index is the first attempt to measure and compare the information governments disclose about the oil, gas and mining industries. On October 6 in Washington, D.C., leaders and experts from Revenue Watch and Transparency International will meet to discuss the findings of the index and their implications for governments, citizens, civil society groups and the media.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue August 31, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago sign a gas pact; Bolivian President Evo Morales modifies the iron territory granted to Jindal Steel; and Brazil weighs reducing its gas imports from Bolivia.
In a recent CNN interview, Antoine Heuty of RWI and Ashraf Haidari of the Embassy of Afghanistan discusssed the prospects for improved development and for increased conflict and corruption in Afghanistan, where vast untapped mineral riches have recently sparked international attention and calls for good governance of the war-torn countries mineral sector.
In a letter to Revenue Watch Director Karin Lissakers, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar notes RWI's exceptional efforts in securing the new extractive industry reporting requirements for all U.S. and foreign companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Revenue Watch Director Karin Lissakers responds to a recent Wall Street Journal article on the new energy sector reporting rules in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, calling on oil companies to demonstrate their commitment to a more level competitive field by supporting global standards for better disclosure practices.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue August 15, a Bolivian gas find may increase exports to Argentina; Venezuela's state-owned PDVSA presents its annual financial report; and Chile's lithium framework is challenged.