Reader Comment on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative?  

Here is an interesting comment on our last two posts (here and here) by Diarmid O’Sullivan. 

Having read your book and followed the blog, I’m fascinated to see the EITI come onto your radar. Here’s a study of the initiative, which I wrote after sitting on its board as a civil society representative for Global Witness.


I’m a campaigner and journalist rather than a social scientist by background and I can’t claim that it offers any great conceptual leaps in the understanding of natural resource governance. I think it does offer an insider’s view of the EITI as a negotiated and essentially political process, and some sense of where the EITI sits within the wider complexities of governance in two poor countries (Liberia and Timor Leste) and by implication, others.

My conclusion was that the on-the-ground effects of the EITI’s form of transparency have been highly dependent on context and often rather weak. In fact, the EITI has been able to co-exist with highly patrimonial forms of government in some countries because it is quite slow-acting and has only covered revenue inflows, so it does not necessarily threaten rent-seeking in other areas of the public finances. I argued that the EITI should make more active use of the one lever it does control, which is the power to affect the reputations of governments by judging the quality of their implementation of the EITI.

The new rules, introduced this May, widen the scope of EITI reports and make it easier for the initiative to use its voice in this way, though the makeup of the EITI Board means one should perhaps not expect too much. This blog post about the changes to the rules is a bit more insider-ish but might be interesting reading: http://eiti.org/blog/new-lease-life-eiti

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