Recent Articles

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.
A proposal by U.S. Senators Richard Lugar and Ben Cardin would require any company listed on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to disclose payments to governments for access to natural resources. As Congress debates this amendment to financial reform legislation, and the best response to the BP oil spill, RWI Director Karin Lissakers explains the urgent need for legal reform to ensure extractive sector transparency and accountability. Read more at The Huffington Post ...
In late March, Oil & Gas Journal editor Bob Tippee spoke to a gathering of the Gas Processors Association (GPA) on the necessity of renewing a once-vibrant corporate conversation on the concept of the extractive industry's "license to operate." In an eloquent call to action, Tippee noted the important role that the Revenue Watch Institute has played in maintaining an emphasis on transparency in extractive industry contracting. Praising the insights of recent RWI report Contracts Confidential, Tippee exhorted GPA members to open their contracts up for public oversight, and transform them from objects of secrecy into vehicles for building trust.
Revenue Watch's Indonesian partner, PATTIRO, together with researcher Laura Paler of Columbia University and NGO LPAW, conducted an innovative grassroots campaign to raise awareness about government management of public finances at the local level.

Revenue Watch applauded the Government of Indonesia's announcement that Indonesia plans to implement the EITI. The presidential decree signed April 23 initiates several of the required steps to reach formal EITI candidate status. RWI praised Indonesia's leaders in particular for an "unequivocal commitment to go beyond minimum EITI standards."

On Sunday, April 25, the Revenue Watch Institute presented a dynamic policy discussion on lessons learned from the global financial crisis and the steps that local and international actors can take to insulate resource rich economies from future shocks and ensure the long-term benefits of extractive activity. 
Revenue Watch Institute Chairman Anthony Richter testified before the U.S. Helsinki Commission on Capitol Hill at a hearing on the links between revenue transparency and human rights. The commission convened the hearing as the Senate considers related extractive industry transparency legislation introduced by the commission's co-chair Senator Ben Cardin and Senator Richard Lugar, the Energy Security Through Transparency (ESTT) Act.
The global movement for accountable natural resource management gained ground today as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) resolved questions over the status of 18 countries that had missed a key deadline in the voluntary program. At a meeting in Berlin, Germany, the EITI International Board decided on limited extensions for 16 countries to complete their reporting and validation processes, including Kazakhstan, Timor Leste and Ghana.
Revenue Watch joins Amnesty International in calling for an immediate investigation into the illegal assault and detention of three Nigerian civil society activists by police on April 5. Three activists from the nonprofit group Social Action, which promotes citizen participation in the management of resource extraction, trade and investment that affect human rights, democracy and livelihoods, were violently stopped and arrested without explanation by police as they left their office.
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) took important steps on April 6 to improve reporting and disclosure by the oil, gas and mining industries. But extractive industry experts said the proposals have been weakened by pressure from companies and have yet to clearly recommend reporting of the full information that investors and citizens need.
In late February, United Kingdom MP Chris Mullin of the Labour Party introduced an early day motion in Parliament urging the government to consider adopting legislation requiring extractive companies to fully disclose revenue payments to governments. A joint letter from six civil society groups exhorted MPs to "assist the struggle against corruption in the oil, gas and mining industries of the world" by supporting the measure, which could also go far in encouraging the US Congress to pass its Energy Security Through Transparency Act.
To manage the ravages of the global downturn, nations rich in oil and minerals must diversify their economies and create stronger policies that protect revenues from volatility in commodity and credit markets, according to a new series of recommendations released yesterday by the Revenue Watch Institute.

On Wednesday, March 31 Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and Chris Canavan of Goldman Sachs joined the Revenue Watch Institute for a conversation at Columbia University about the implications of the world financial crisis for resource-exporting countries. The expert panel also included Revenue Watch authors Antoine Heuty and Sarah Pray and was moderated by journalist Dino Mahtani.

As 22 countries in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) faced a deadline today for completing their national validation processes, the Revenue Watch Institute called for clear and consistent standards in the Initiative's response to the 20 countries whose validation work unfortunately remains incomplete.
Over the course of 2009, Revenue Watch and our partners saw great strides toward more transparent and accountable management of natural resources. Through our innovative training approaches, cutting edge research, focused advocacy, grant-making and expert technical assistance, we supported systemic change to turn resource wealth into lasting benefits for citizens.
In 2008, the Revenue Watch Institute launched two groundbreaking, intensive fellowship programs. In contrast to our traditional investments in civil society organizations, the Capacity Advancement Fellowship in Extractives and the Petrad Fellowship seek out individuals interested in engaging in the extractive industries or starting a new direction of work. These rigorous programs aim to build the knowledge, networks and confidence of the fellows so that they can provide improved programming in their home organizations or coalitions.
The Revenue Watch Institute is pleased to sponsor an exhibition by photographer Ed Kashi at the HOST Gallery in London. On display from March 8 through April 3, the exhibit Curse of the Black Gold, documents the consequences of a half-century of oil exploration in a region that holds Africa's largest oil reserves, but offers a stark example of the perils of resource abundance. Kashi's images capture local leaders, militants, oil workers and villagers living in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
On February 2, the Revenue Watch Institute launched its new online Resource Center: an interactive database of research, training and policy documents and videos concerning transparency and the management of natural resource wealth. This tool, which compiles a comprehensive selection of research materials from around the world in multiple languages, represents a cross-section of expertise, analysis and good practice.
Washington, D.C.—As Senate investigators announced details of oil profiteering schemes among foreign officials, leading U.S. and international experts renewed their call for passage of legislation drafted to protect U.S. energy security and block acts of corruption that circumvent existing anti-corruption rules.

Stephen Timms is the UK Treasury Secretary. He made this statement at the OECD Global Forum meeting on tax and development this week. At the same meeting, the OECD made new commitments in this area, including work on country-by-country reporting requirements for companies. The meeting and the Secretary's statement reflect a sea-change in global thinking about the connections between taxes, transparency and development.

The Revenue Watch Institute is excited to announce the formal launch of its online Resource Center, a tool for knowledge-sharing and transparency advocacy.