Recent Articles

As 22 countries in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) faced a deadline today for completing their national validation processes, the Revenue Watch Institute called for clear and consistent standards in the Initiative's response to the 20 countries whose validation work unfortunately remains incomplete.
Over the course of 2009, Revenue Watch and our partners saw great strides toward more transparent and accountable management of natural resources. Through our innovative training approaches, cutting edge research, focused advocacy, grant-making and expert technical assistance, we supported systemic change to turn resource wealth into lasting benefits for citizens.
In 2008, the Revenue Watch Institute launched two groundbreaking, intensive fellowship programs. In contrast to our traditional investments in civil society organizations, the Capacity Advancement Fellowship in Extractives and the Petrad Fellowship seek out individuals interested in engaging in the extractive industries or starting a new direction of work. These rigorous programs aim to build the knowledge, networks and confidence of the fellows so that they can provide improved programming in their home organizations or coalitions.
On February 2, the Revenue Watch Institute launched its new online Resource Center: an interactive database of research, training and policy documents and videos concerning transparency and the management of natural resource wealth. This tool, which compiles a comprehensive selection of research materials from around the world in multiple languages, represents a cross-section of expertise, analysis and good practice.

Stephen Timms is the UK Treasury Secretary. He made this statement at the OECD Global Forum meeting on tax and development this week. At the same meeting, the OECD made new commitments in this area, including work on country-by-country reporting requirements for companies. The meeting and the Secretary's statement reflect a sea-change in global thinking about the connections between taxes, transparency and development.

The Revenue Watch Institute is excited to announce the formal launch of its online Resource Center, a tool for knowledge-sharing and transparency advocacy.

RWI partner Oxfam America has created a two-minute animated short, "Follow the money," to help support the Energy Security Through Transparency Act. "Follow the money" demonstrates the consequences of buying gas every day: where the money goes, and why citizens in oil-producing nations often don't see the profits when U.S. gas prices soar.
On BBC's "The World Tonight" program, RWI Africa Regional Coordinator Emmanuel Kuyole and Radhika Sarin of Publish What You Pay International discuss the challenges of responsible natural resource management and how citizens and leaders from Ghana to Ecuador are working to make the most of their resource wealth.
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange recently sought formal comments on proposals to improve disclosure requirements for extractive companies. Revenue Watch has submitted its responses to the proposals, which represent a significant step in the exchange's effort to align its rules with international standards.
Two hundred activists from more than 50 countries gathered this week for the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) International Conference in Montreal, Canada. Speakers included leaders of the coalition's advisory group and civil society representatives from the governing board of the EITI.
On November 11, the Revenue Watch Institute hosted journalist Peter Maass, author of the new book Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil, for an afternoon conversation with RWI Director Karin Lissakers. Crude World is a reporter's foray into many of the countries that have come to represent the so-called "resource curse," such as Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan—countries where the discovery of mineral and hydrocarbon reserves has resulted not in greater prosperity, but rather in increased corruption, poverty and environmental degradation.
On September 23, as a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced legislation to broaden disclosure of international extractive industry payments, more than 200 activists, policymakers, industry representatives and government officials gathered for a conference that may herald a new stage in the global movement for natural resource transparency and accountability. The event marked the release of Revenue Watch's report Contracts Confidential: Ending Secret Deals in the Extractive Industries, which challenges most of the common objections to openness in extractive industry contracts.
On November 11, at 12:30 pm, the Revenue Watch Institute hosted a lunchtime discussion at the Open Society Institute with author Peter Maass about his new book, Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil (Knopf, 2009). In Crude World, Maass examines "oil's indelible impact on the countries that produce it and the people who possess it," bringing stories of the so-called "resource curse" that transparency advocates have long discussed to a broader public. In
Next month in Washington, D.C., Revenue Watch will co-host a seminar with Partners for Democratic Change entitled: "Strategies for Building Political Support to Expand the Reach of EITI to New Countries" Panelists will discuss arguments for EITI adoption, successful experiences advocating EITI with participating governments, and the appropriate role of local civil society organizations in promoting the initiative.
Ernesto Zedillo, President of Mexico between 1994 and 2000, has been named as the Chair of the board overseeing the Natural Resource Charter. The Natural Resource Charter is a set of twelve principles for governments and societies on how to effectively harness the opportunities created by natural resources. The other members of the Oversight Board are Yegor Gaidar, former Acting Russian Prime Minister and Charles Soludo. Charles Soludo was the Central Bank Governor of Nigeria until May 2009. The Board responsibilities will include championing the Natural Resource Charter internationally and overseeing the consultation process.
Away from the political controversies over international policy and mismanagement of extractive revenues, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) plays a quiet but pivotal role in steering the transparency of the energy industry. This is the body that determines what a company has to disclose in its annual financial statements.
Revenue Watch and its partners in Ghana took a remarkable step in building local capacity this July, with the launch of our first Africa Regional Extractive Industry Knowledge Hub in Accra. The Hub will be a training resource on extractives and related governance issues for members of civil society, parliament, media and sub-national governments from throughout West Africa. The Hub is a pilot program that RWI plans to replicate over the next several years in other resource-rich regions, including Latin America, Central Asia and the Caucasus, and Southeast Asia.
This August, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) released a working draft of its new guidelines for extractive activities. Accounting standards regulate the information companies must publish in annual financial reports, including a company's property, payments, revenues, profits and losses.
Revenue Watch Institute is pleased to introduce its new Capacity Advancement Fellows for 2009-2010: Dionisio Augusto Nombora, of the Center for Public Integrity in Mozambique, and Jamus Joseph, of Norwegian People's Aid Southern Sudan Program. The CA Fellowship aims to build the capacity of mid-career civil society activists by deepening their understanding of the extractive industries and broadening their skills to connect local, national, and international campaigns. 
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.
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.