The G8 has today announced its commitment to introduce new transparency laws that would require oil, gas and mining companies to disclose the payments they make to governments. Such measures would help eradicate the corruption that blights many mineral rich states and lift millions of people in the developing world out of poverty.
In the communiqué published to mark the end of their meeting in Deauville, France, G-8 leaders for the first time committed “…to setting in place transparency laws and regulations…” [ ] “that require or encourage oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose the payments they make to governments.”
If introduced, transparency laws would require extractive companies to publish details of the payments they make to governments for the exploitation of minerals around the world. This would allow for greater scrutiny of companies’ payments, thereby helping combat corruption, which so often means citizens in resource-rich countries fail to benefit from their country’s natural resource wealth.
“This announcement is a welcome step forward. Now we have the G-8 countries endorsing the kinds of revenue transparency laws already passed in the United States and being put together in Europe,” said Simon Taylor Founding Director at Global Witness. “But this is just the start. Governments must now deliver on these commitments by enacting and implementing effective laws.”
The G8 Communiqué comes after an announcement by the European Commission President Barroso that the EU will bring forward legislative proposals in October for the enactment of transparency laws. He called on his G8 colleagues to match his commitment in going beyond voluntary initiatives and force companies to publish details of their payments.
“It is excellent news that President Barroso has now joined President Sarkozy and Prime Minister David Cameron in recognising the need to go beyond voluntary standards. Anything less than legal measures will ensure corruption and state-looting continue unopposed in resource-rich but desperately poor countries. Unfortunately rather than looking to become part of a solution, powerful business interests have sought to water down first the legislation passed last year in the US, and now its implementation. Legislators need to ensure that they do not succeed, either in the US or in Europe,” said Taylor.
The US and Hong Kong already have mandatory requirements in place that force extractive companies to publish details of payments they make to governments as a condition of their listing on the New York and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges.
“Existing requirements in the US and Hong Kong, not to mention Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria, were a great start - the EU’s commitment to go beyond these standards points to the emergence of a global consensus for mandatory revenue disclosures. The G-8 should now push for a truly global standard by bringing in domestic laws and encouraging their G20 partners to follow suit,” said Taylor.
Contacts: Almira Cemmell on +44 (0)7808 766 069; Oliver Courtney on + 44 (0)7815 731889 [email protected]