The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global standard that promotes the sustainable management of natural resources. It is acceded to by 52 countries, who have agreed to establish, uphold and advocate for the tenets of good governance in how their natural resources are managed. It consists of a set of requirements that governments and companies have to adhere to in order to become recognized as ‘EITI Compliant’. When a country is compliant, it means that it has put in place all the necessary safeguards as outlined by the international EITI body to ensure greater transparency in its natural resources sector. Since Guyana’s natural resources sector forms an important part of its development it is important that safeguards are put in place to ensure good governance.
Requirements for implementing countries
A country intending to implement the EITI is required to undertake a number of steps before applying to become an EITI candidate country. These steps relate to
(1.1) Government commitment
(1.2) Company engagement
(1.3) Civil society engagement
(1.4) The establishment of a Tripartite multi-stakeholder group (MSG) (Government, Civil Society and Industry)
(1.5) and the creation of an EITI work plan by the MSG
When the country has completed these steps and wishes to be recognized as an EITI candidate, the government submits an EITI Candidature Application to the EITI Board.
The EITI Board will review the application and assess whether the sign-up steps have been properly completed. The EITI Board’s Outreach and Candidature Committee will make a recommendation, within a reasonable time period, to the EITI Board on whether a country’s application should be accepted. The EITI Board will make the final decision. The EITI Board prefers to make decisions on admitting an EITI candidate country during EITI Board meetings. Where there is a long period between meetings, the EITI Board may consider taking a decision via Board circular. When the EITI Board admits an EITI candidate, it will also establish deadlines for publishing the first EITI Report and undertaking Validation. An implementing country’s first EITI Report must be published within 18 months from the date that the country was admitted as an EITI candidate. EITI candidate countries will be required to commence Validation within two and a half years of becoming an EITI candidate.
Guyana’s Progress towards EITI Compliance
Guyana’s journey towards EITI compliance began when the country announced its commitment in May 2010 followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Guyana and EITI Secretariat in 2012, which outlined the framework for Guyana to be assisted with its preparation for EITI candidacy. After the May 2015 elections, the new coalition government reaffirmed the country’s commitment to EITI and announced the establishment of the Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (G-EITI). Since then, Guyana has been accelerating its efforts towards eligibility for EITI candidacy. Guyana’s EITI Secretariat was established and a National Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator were appointed at the beginning of February, 2017 to continue to advance plans for Guyana’s application to be submitted.
Establishment of a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG)
On February 15, 2017 the G-EITI multi-stakeholder group was officially launched. The MSG is the main decision-making body responsible for setting objectives for EITI implementation, producing EITI reports and ensuring that the findings contribute to public debate. The group comprises twelve (12) members, nominated by Civil Society, Industry and Government in the ratio 4:4:4 and is established to oversee EITI implementation in Guyana. There are also twelve (12) alternates; one for each member from the respective sectors. Sub- Groups have also been formed to actively engage in finalizing the Terms of Reference for the MSG as well as a Confidentiality Agreement and a Work Plan.
Ongoing actions towards Candidacy
In order to set the stage to implement the EITI Standard nationally, measures will be taken to:
1) Assist the MSG in making decisions on how the EITI process should work in Guyana.
2) Embark on comprehensive data and information compilation on the governance of the extractive sectors of Guyana, preparation of regular reports and issuance of recommendations for improving sector governance.
3) Design a comprehensive public awareness campaign to promote and explain the work of the G-EITI and also inform public debate and seek recommendations.
The MSG hopes to submit its initial candidate application by October, 2017. The Cooperative Republic of Guyana is working to become an EITI candidate before the end of 2017. The Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and the Carter Center are providing technical support to the Government in its efforts towards EITI candidacy.