Recent Articles

The Open Budget Survey 2010, released today in Washington, D.C., reveals that 74 of the 94 countries assessed do not meet basic standards of transparency with their national budgets. The report is produced every two years based on an independent comparison of budget transparency and accountability around the world. The new survey finds that just seven of the 94 countries release extensive budget information, and 40 countries release no meaningful budget information.
A Russian decree suspending required oil revenue disclosures is a significant step back.
Senior financial and development experts today supported the Natural Resource Charter (NRC) as a guide for societies managing oil or mineral wealth. "Natural resources can be a lifeline to prosperity," Charter co-author Professor Paul Collier said in Washington, D.C., "but harnessing their potential is both technically and politically challenging." Collier led a panel discussion during IMF/World Bank meetings, debating how countries can best choose between saving and spending windfalls from natural resources.
The Revenue Watch Index is a pioneering measurement of government disclosure in the management of oil, gas and minerals, ranking transparency in 41 countries among the world's top producers of petroleum, gold, copper and diamonds. The index is an assessment and comparison of information published by governments about revenues, contract terms and other key data. It is an important tool for elected officials, policy makers, civil society and media seeking increased public disclosure about natural resource management, and greater government accountability.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In the September issue, Brazil's PETROBRAS raises US $70 billion in the world's largest share offering and Colombia's Congress discusses a bill that would modify royalty distribution.
Revenue Watch was heartened by President Obama's strong praise for open government in his address to the UN General Assembly. Obama also welcomed new U.S. requirements for company reporting of extractive industry payments, during comments to the Millennium Development Goals Summit.
Based on a methodical assessment of 41 resource-rich countries, the Revenue Watch Index is the first attempt to measure and compare the information governments disclose about the oil, gas and mining industries. On October 6 in Washington, D.C., leaders and experts from Revenue Watch and Transparency International will meet to discuss the findings of the index and their implications for governments, citizens, civil society groups and the media.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue August 31, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago sign a gas pact; Bolivian President Evo Morales modifies the iron territory granted to Jindal Steel; and Brazil weighs reducing its gas imports from Bolivia.
In a recent CNN interview, Antoine Heuty of RWI and Ashraf Haidari of the Embassy of Afghanistan discusssed the prospects for improved development and for increased conflict and corruption in Afghanistan, where vast untapped mineral riches have recently sparked international attention and calls for good governance of the war-torn countries mineral sector.
In a letter to Revenue Watch Director Karin Lissakers, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar notes RWI's exceptional efforts in securing the new extractive industry reporting requirements for all U.S. and foreign companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Revenue Watch Director Karin Lissakers responds to a recent Wall Street Journal article on the new energy sector reporting rules in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, calling on oil companies to demonstrate their commitment to a more level competitive field by supporting global standards for better disclosure practices.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue August 15, a Bolivian gas find may increase exports to Argentina; Venezuela's state-owned PDVSA presents its annual financial report; and Chile's lithium framework is challenged.
A new U.S. initiative against corruption by senior foreign officials marks a major step forward in protecting natural resource revenues and safeguarding the interests of citizens in resource-rich countries, the Revenue Watch Institute said today.
A U.S. audit that found the U.S. Department of Defense unable to account properly for 96 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraqi funds from the sale of Iraq's oil underscores the need for Iraq's new government to adopt strong, transparent controls on oil revenues and spending if the country's oil industry is to fuel economic development rather than conflict.
Among the financial reforms approved by Congress in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a measure that requires all companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to report the amounts they pay to governments for access to oil, gas and minerals. The law gives investors and citizens new tools to hold companies and governments accountable.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue July 15, Peru considers a windfall profit tax; Chile seeks royalty increases to help earthquake-damaged regions; and Colombia's oil production approaches one million barrels per day.
The Wall Street reforms passed by Congress include historic transparency rule changes for the oil and mining industry, giving investors and citizens new tools to hold companies and governments accountable for their actions. Revenue Watch Director Karin Lissakers called the victory "the culmination of a long campaign by Revenue Watch and the Publish What You Pay coalition to make extractive industry activities truly transparent, in the U.S. and abroad."
Despite an ongoing military conflict, Afghanistan has worked since 2009 to build a mining sector that can provide sustainable wealth, passing a new hydrocarbons law and committing to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. With the discovery of new mineral deposits worth an estimated one trillion dollars, the stakes for creating sound and accountable minerals management just got higher. Karin Lissakers describes steps that Afghan leaders can take to make the promised windfall a tool for national stability.
This week in New York, representatives from the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) met at the Revenue Watch Institute's New York office for a dialogue with members of the investment, civil society and corporate communities about rule changes that would add vital industry information to standard reporting requirements for petroleum and mining companies.
On the tenth anniversary of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project, filmmaker Christiane Badgley reports from the beach town of Kribi, a Cameroonian city that stood to benefit from the pipeline project. Seven years after oil began flowing, Badgely says the town seems "untouched by any new oil wealth." (FRONTLINE/WORLD)
Last week, more improprieties surfaced at the scandal-plagued Minerals Management Service, where oil companies had been allowed unethical influence over regulatory activities in Louisiana. The planned reorganization of the troubled MMS is only a half-step towards true reform though. Revenue Watch Director Karin Lissakers writes that the ongoing situation makes it clear that transparency of key public data, which makes it far harder to hide regulatory or industry misdeeds, is critical to accountable government.
Development is underway for a new International Financial Reporting Standard that could make oil, gas and mining companies publish what they pay to governments for country in which they operate. Learn how you can take action to help secure important reporting reforms this June and July.
On June 3, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (the HKEx) puts new disclosure rules into effect for mineral companies, marking a significant step forward in the global campaign to establish greater transparency and accountability in the extractive industries. The rule change is a sign of positive momentum as the International Accounting Standards Board considers actions that could have even greater reach, and also weakens the case against greater disclosure by extractive companies on the basis of the disadvantage born by any "first mover."
A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) surveys the contributions made by mining companies to public finances, offering details on various forms of taxes and contributions, and suggestions for how companies could benefit from increased transparency in reporting their tax affairs.
On Friday, May 21, RWI partners including EG Justice and Global Witness present a discussion in Washington, D.C. on Equatorial Guinea's oil sector and the gaps in existing transparency efforts. The distinguished international panel will explore why U.S. government action is critical to addressing corruption and improving the lives of the citizens of Equatorial Guinea.