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Localising transparency: Exploring EITI’s contribution to sustainable development

Countries dependent upon exploitation of natural resources often suffer from the ‘resource curse’, characterised by poor economic growth, low living standards, corruption, and political authoritarianism.

Civil society organisations have been campaigning for voluntary and legal transparency in natural resource sectors as a way to combat these issues. These efforts helped to establish the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a voluntary global standard for disclosing company payments and government revenues. Yet a decade since EITI was established, it is unclear how transparency works for development, particularly for those living closest to resource extraction projects.

This paper considers whether ‘localising’ the transparency agenda – ie making it more relevant to local communities directly affected by extractive industry operations – might increase its potential to deliver sustainable development and poverty alleviation objectives within resource-dependent countries.

Five case studies compare two lower middle-income countries that are EITI compliant (Ghana and Nigeria), two middle-income countries that are EITI compliant (Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan), and a lower-income country that is considering EITI participation (Uganda).

The report offers a set of recommendations for EITI stakeholders aimed at ensuring that information generated through the EITI and other transparency initiatives leads ultimately to positive social and economic change for local communities.

This publication forms part of IIED’s work to identify pathways towards inclusive and responsible mining.

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Wilson, E. and Van Alstine, J. (2014). Localising transparency: Exploring EITI’s contribution to sustainable development. IIED, London.