Recent Articles

The British government has taken a pivotal step toward new global standards for transparency by companies and governments.
From January 26-28, civil society groups from francophone Africa met in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to assess the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in their countries to date.This meeting offered civil society the opportunity to share their experiences, explore the community's capacity to analyze EITI reports, and discuss planned new EITI rules, in preparation for the upcoming International EITI Global Conference in Paris on March 2-3.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In the February 15 issue, Latin American countries change their mining legal frameworks, Peru considers a windfall profits tax, and rising international petroleum prices impact Latin America.
The regime change in Egypt has provided an unmistakble lesson even to countries that, unlike Egypt, are rich in oil: public trust requires open, accountable government.
Over the past three years, Revenue Watch has carried out parliamentary capacity building pilot projects in Ghana, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Uganda. These projects sought to help national parliaments improve their oversight of the oil, gas and mining sectors and to form more effective alliances with civil society and the media. Keith Myers acted as lead trainer in a number of Revenue Watch oil governance and contracts workshops. In this article, he offers his own reflections on the opportunities and challenges associated with parliamentary capacity building in Africa.
In February's "On the Horizon" newsletter from the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Revenue Watch previews the upcoming Paris conference of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This year's gathering, the fifth global EITI conference, will demonstrate the progress of more than 30 EITI implementing countries, and the recognition by government and industry leaders that information on oil, gas and mining revenues can—and should—be made public without compromising industry competitiveness.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In the January issue, Ecuador’s government culminates contract renegotiation with oil companies; Colombia and Venezuela expect to increase hydrocarbons production; and windfall profit taxes become an issue in Peru’s electoral campaign.
On January 12, the World Bank Group published a report detailing its extractive industries work over the past year and outlining the Bank's goals for the sector and its plans to support sustainable resource development. The report offers encouraging signs of progress for the transparency movement and for efforts by Revenue Watch and its allies in the U.S. and internationally.
In draft rules released December 15, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission outlined initial steps for oil, gas and mining companies to report their payments in accordance with transparency provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. Karin Lissakers of Revenue Watch said the SEC "will be helping to create a new international transparency standard, as other countries are likely to follow the U.S. lead on these disclosures."
Illegal oil bunkering, or the theft of crude oil, is a persistent and costly problem in Nigeria, and has grown over decades into a thriving underground economy. In a brief released this October, Revenue Watch Nigeria Program Coordinator Dauda Garuba studies the prominence of illegal oil bunkering in Nigeria in light of the economic crisis the country faced during the 1980s, and the unsuccessful reforms that followed.
Integrity Watch Afghanistan founder Lorenzo Delesgues spoke at OSI about citizens' social accountability efforts.

Applications are now open for a two-week summer course, "Developing Local Economies through Inclusive Policies and Planning," to be held at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Led by Revenue Watch partner the Local Government Initiative, the course will equip policy-makers and practitioners with strategies for improving sub-national economies. Learn more and apply ... (CEU)

Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In the November issue, Ecuador completes its oil contract renegotiations; PEMEX allows private exploration and production; and Peru seeks to amend hydroelectric concession process in the Amazon.
On October 14, more than a dozen journalists from Cameroon and other countries met with the Revenue Watch Institute and Transparency International in Yaoundé to discuss the findings of the Revenue Watch Index, the first comparative measure of government disclosure about the oil, gas and mining industries in 41 resource-rich countries.
In October RWI and Transparency International launched a pioneering measurement of government disclosure in the management of oil, gas, and minerals. Together with the International Budget Partnership's Open Budget Survey 2010, the Revenue Watch Index offers a complementary overview of transparency levels across countries.
The Revenue Watch Institute congratulates our colleagues in the international Publish What You Pay coalition for winning the 2010 Commitment to Development "Ideas in Action" Award. PWYP was particularly commended for its role in helping pass the Cardin-Lugar transparency provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
In September 2010, economist Edwin Truman published a book on Sovereign Wealth Funds—the range of reserve funds often used by resource rich countries investing revenues internationally. Sovereign Wealth Funds: Threat or Salvation, assesses some of the regulatory concerns and international tensions over these funds. Truman says SWFs have "matured under the glare of international attention." He talked with Revenue Watch about his research.
In October, the Open Society Justice Initiative published a new report from law professor James G. Stewart that seeks to renew millenia-old prohibitions on wartime theft, or pillaging, through action at international and domestic criminal courts--particularly as pillaging applies to the illegal exploitation of natural resources by corporations and their officers.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In the October issue, Peru-Petro offers blocks for oil and gas exploration and Bolivia's government postpones the release of a critical new report on national gas reserves.
In June, the World Bank published Demanding Good Governance: Lessons from Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa—a collection of case studies from across the continent that showcases citizen campaigns to enhance government accountability and transparency. Revenue Watch's Dauda Garuba and co-author John G. Ikubaje contributed a chapter, "The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Publish What You Pay Nigeria," highlighting a lesson in government and civil society cooperation.
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.
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.