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Geoscientist Online

Beyond Governments - making collective governance work

tseyklThe Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) was born in 2003 to try to reconcile the flow of funds between the extractive industries and the recipient government.  The first criterion of EITI was that there should be "Regular publication of all material oil, gas and mining payments by companies to governments and all material revenues received by governments from oil, gas and mining companies to a wide audience in a publicly accessible, comprehensive and comprehensible manner.

EITI's emphasis on the oil, gas and mineral sectors is the primary reason why this initiative should be of interest to Earth Scientists.  The magnitude and consequences of the challenge are quite staggering.  After 10 years of EITI reporting, Nigeria received US$9 billion more revenue than would have been the case before EITI reporting. The authors estimate that as a consequence of the improvement in accounting principles, four African states revenue may see revenues replacing Aid within the space of one more electoral cycle.

The initiative has involved representatives from diverse sectors of society, each of which had different perspectives on the challenge.  Citizens wanted a better deal and to participate in policy discussions; governments wanted more revenue and investment and to polish their reputation, and companies wanted a more predictable environment in which to operate and demonstrate their social and economic contribution.

The authors propose that the EITI principles can be usefully applied where there is a problem in which there is a wide range of opinions and no consensus.  They suggest that review of international financial flows might benefit from this approach (illicit flows from Africa amounted to US $865 billion between 1970 and 2008).  They even note the use of these principles with respect to the conflict in Syria as an example.  I wonder whether it might work for Climate Change.  The challenge seems to me to be to get potential participants to recognize that there is a situation in which a novel approach might work.  Whatever the application, the authors repeatedly stress that one should start small to build trust between participants, and that the product rather than the process should be foremost.

It is a short book, easily read, and there are good summaries at the end of each chapter.

Reviewed by Richard Haworth

BEYOND GOVERNMENTS: MAKING COLLECTIVE GOVERNANCE WORK - Lessons from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Edited by Eddie Rich &Jonas Moberg, 2015.  Published by: Greenleaf Publishing 153pp (sbk) ISBN: 139781783531851 List Price: £20    W: