Recent Articles

RWI Director Karin Lissakers discusses Afghanistan's plans for reform and prospects for turning mining windfalls into lasting benefits.
RWI called for country-by-country reporting of company payments to governments at the fifth annual European Development Days conference.
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.
On October 27, Revenue Watch and its partners in Nigerian civil society convened a forum in Abuja that showcased the progress of our shared efforts in the Niger Delta. The meeting, which drew some 45 representatives from the diplomatic and development communities, sought to expand support and collaboration for RWI's key Niger Delta partners.
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 late October, Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative coalitions from the Caucasus and Central Asia held their sixth annual meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Though plans for strong regional collaboration have fallen through in the past, this year, RWI and local partners introduced a new framework for inter-country cooperation and future shared campaigns.
World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala urged Chinese investors to embrace transparency, avoid secretive deals, and foster job creation in African host 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.
RWI's Indonesian partner PATTIRO released a short video that outlines challenges for "oil towns" and civil society efforts to create sustainable development.
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.
On October 31, citizens of Niger voted on a new constitution that includes extraordinary assurances of transparency in the natural resource sector. The new constitution, which was approved by an overwhelming 90% margin, includes strong protections for transparency and development that, if enforced effectively, will bolster public oversight and the accountability of the country's crucial mineral and petroleum activities.
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.
RWI congratulated Ghana and Mongolia for becoming the fourth and fifth EITI Compliant countries, and joined with economist and author Joseph Stiglitz to welcome Indonesia as the newest EITI Candidate country. The countries each had their new status approved by the EITI's international board during a meeting this week in Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania. RWI Chair Anthony Richter commended all three countries for making openness an integral part of their resource sectors.
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.
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.
Opportunities for the disclosure of contracts in the extractive sector of Kazakhstan were the focus of an international conference, "Extractive Industry Contracts Disclosure: Making Development Sustainable," attended by prominent Kazakh lawyers and leading experts in the development of model mining development agreements. The event, which also marked the Russian- and Kazakh-language launch of RWI's 2009 report Contracts Confidential, was jointly organized by the Soros Foundation-Kazakhstan, the Revenue Watch Institute and the International Bar Association.