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Publish What You Pay – US & EU Legislation

UPDATE: EU vote marks birth of global transparency standard – G8 to pick up the challenge

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INFOGRAPHIC: Why does transparency in the natural resource sector matter?

Every year, oil, gas and mining companies make payments worth hundreds of billions of dollars to governments for access to the world’s natural resources, including taxes, royalties and license fees. In Africa, for example, these payments will be the largest inflow of wealth for the foreseeable future. In 2010, the value of exports of oil and minerals from Africa was worth $333 billion, about six times the value of exported agricultural products ($55 billion) and nearly seven times the value of international aid ($48 billion).

But these payments are often made in secret, enabling corrupt officials to siphon off or misappropriate natural resource revenues.

Publish What You Pay campaigns to promote greater transparency in the extractive industries, so that citizens of resource-rich countries are able track the money being paid for their natural resources and hold their governments to account for how it’s used.

Thanks to a decade-long global campaign, the era of secrecy over natural resource revenues is coming to an end.

71% of the world’s top 200 oil, gas and mining companies are now covered by transparency laws in the U.S. and EU, and forthcoming in Canada.

In August 2012, the U.S. finalised the implementing rules for Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act. This compels every oil, gas and mining company listed on U.S. stock exchanges to publish their payments to governments, such as taxes, royalties and licence fees, in every country they do business in.

Importantly, the U.S. law requires companies to report any payment of US$100,000 and above made on every individual extraction project they operate. This means that for the first time, people living near mines or oil fields will be able to see in detail how much money is being generated by local projects, and hold their governments to account if they don’t see the benefits.

In June 2013, the EU voted through similar legislation. The new EU Accounting and Transparency Directives require EU oil, gas, mining and logging firms to disclose all payments of €100,000 and above for each individual project that they operate.

The new rules mean that for the first time, millions of people in resource-rich countries will be able to see where the money generated from their natural resources is going, and therefore ensure it is better used for their benefit.

Throughout 2013 and beyond we’ll be campaigning to make sure other key markets follow suit.

Not long after the UK assumed its one-year Presidency of the G8, Prime Minister David Cameron urged world leaders to advance a common global transparency standard to ensure oil, gas and mining companies reveal the details of their payments to governments. The issue of extractives industry transparency is now at the heart of the G8 agenda, and all eyes are on world leaders to take meaningful steps towards building the global standard.

Publish What You Pay is an alliance of over 650 civil society groups in 57 countries that was co-founded by Global Witness in 2002. PWYP campaigns for greater transparency in the extractives industries, so that revenues from the oil, gas and mining sectors are used to improve the lives of people in resource-rich countries.

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