The Publish What You Pay (PWYP) international coalition of NGOs welcomes the G8’s first specific statement on the importance of transparency of natural resource revenues.
The G8’s Declaration on Fighting Corruption and Improving Transparency contains a statement on both the urgent need to provide for the disclosure of payments made by extractive companies, and for revenues received by governments in the oil, mining and gas sector worldwide. This commitment is an important first step to ensure that citizens of resource-rich-but-poor countries can begin to hold their governments accountable for management of revenues earned from ‘their’ natural resources.
However, the G8 governments have committed to piloting a voluntary approach to disclosure, which means that revenue transparency will not be delivered everywhere it is most needed. In most resource-rich-but-poor countries—such as Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Nauru and Nigeria to name but a few—ruling elites treat resource revenues as their own private property and are unlikely to voluntarily disclose the government’s income from these sources. Instead, the PWYP coalition is calling for disclosure of payment information to be required by stock market regulators and international accounting standards. This legal requirement to disclose would cancel the confidentiality clauses and secret deals that international companies sign to get business in such countries.
The G8 has also committed to the aggregation of payment information, which masks individual revenue flows from public scrutiny. Companies individually disclose their payments to the G8, so why should the standard be any different for developing countries?
“There are now a set of commitments to revenue transparency to which the G8 countries can be held accountable. But the G8 has not given any justification for its purely voluntary approach to disclosure, which means it will not work where it is most needed” says Simon Taylor of Global Witness.
“The G8 governments must recognise that extractive industry transparency is not just about tackling corruption. It will have very significant benefits for sustainable development, market efficiency, protection of investors, and energy security,” says Antoine Sondag of Secours Catholique/CARITAS France. “The G8 must devote full political will to the delivery of revenue transparency because of its urgency and the interests involved for all stakeholders.”
The Publish What You Pay coalition of more than 120 NGOs worldwide urges the G8 countries to put these principles into action by delivering real change on the ground at the High-Level Stakeholder Conference of the UK Government-led Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in London, 17 June.
· Simon Taylor or Gavin Hayman, Global Witness
+44 (0) 77 5714 2121 or +44 (0) 20 7272 6731
· Katherine Astill, CAFOD
+44 (0) 20 7326 5673
· Henry Parham, Publish What You Pay Coordinator
+44 (0) 20 7981 0315
1. The commitments on extractive industry transparency is in point 6 of the G8 Declaration: Fighting Corruption and Improving Transparency, the full text of which is available at:
2. Information on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is available at: www.dfid.gov.uk
3. Publish What You Pay (PWYP) was launched in June 2002 as an appeal for transparency over oil, gas and mining companies’ payments to all national governments. The call for mandatory disclosure of company payments to and transactions with governments on a country-by-country basis is led by an international coalition of over 120 non-governmental organisations, which is pressing for the establishment of an international regulatory framework, which includes, for example, disclosure rules for companies listed on securities markets and a requirement as part of International Accounting Standards. PWYP is complementary to wider global efforts related to international development, poverty alleviation, corporate social responsibility, and tackling corruption, for which transparency is an essential condition. PWYP seeks to provide a mechanism to address the paradox of plenty – the link between natural resource wealth and poverty in many developing countries, including Angola, Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Venezuela.
For more information on Publish What You Pay: www.publishwhatyoupay.org
Press Release / June 2, 2003