Today, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) suspended Myanmar in response to the February 1st coup d’état by Myanmar’s military. Myanmar had been a member of the EITI, the global standard for transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining industries, since 2014.
The EITI Board issued a statement finding that in light of the present political instability, including the lack of fundamental freedoms, and in accordance with the civil society requirements of the EITI Standard, it is not possible for the EITI to continue in Myanmar.
The action follows calls from Myanmar civil society to immediately suspend the country from the EITI and for the EITI to uphold democratic principles, heed the voices of Myanmar’s people, and refuse to legitimize the military junta as Myanmar’s governing body.
“Myanmar’s EITI membership helped to start moving the needle on corporate transparency in Myanmar’s corrupt natural resource sector, which the military is heavily involved in and which helps fund their operations. However, the military takeover and escalating crackdown on civil society has made it impossible for EITI to continue under the current circumstances,” said Paul Donowitz, Campaign Leader on Natural Resource Governance and Anti-Corruption Norms.
Commenting on today’s decision, Global Witness co-founder and EITI board member Simon Taylor said:
“Today’s EITI suspension sends a clear message to Myanmar's generals that there is no path back to participation in the EITI standard under their rule.”
“Allowing Myanmar to remain inside the EITI scheme in the wake of the coup would whitewash the military’s conduct.”
In its decision, the EITI board noted that effective civil society participation in the multi-stakeholder EITI and broader freedoms to engage in debates in matters related to extractive sector governance would be a factor in lifting the suspension. The statement concludes by noting that the Board will monitor the situation and consider if further action, including delisting Myanmar from the EITI scheme entirely is necessary.