1. Integrate the EITI into government systems.
Requiring that EITI Reports duplicate information that is readily available elsewhere is indefensible. In Timor-Leste, the government makes monthly disclosures online on the website of the National Petroleum Authorities (http://www.anp-tl.org/). It therefore makes no sense to produce an EITI Report repeating the figures at a later date. Other countries have made progress in developing online repositories of data, publishing the required information in a more timely, accessible, and attractive manner. The changes to the Standard to shift the focus from EITI Reports to reporting are steps in the right direction. The EITI must go further, reducing the bureaucracy and cost of implementation.
2. Use information to turn recommendations into reforms.
Publishing reports is one thing. Using the information is another. Using the information to change policy and improve the lives of citizens is surely our ultimate goal. Recommendations in EITI Reports often guide policy makers on how to make improvements to extractive sector management. Experiences from Ghana and the Philippines show the impact that the EITI can have when the process does not stop at the publication stage. The EITI needs to focus more on turning reports into results.
3. Identify who owns companies and who benefits.
In December 2015, the EITI Board decided to make beneficial ownership disclosure mandatory. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries have already worked to identify the real owners – the ‘beneficial owners’ – of the companies that have acquired rights to extract oil, gas and minerals, who are often unknown and hidden behind a chain of corporate entities. Other countries must follow.
4. Ensure better participation by implementing governments and its citizens.
A significant strength of the EITI is the emphasis it puts on implementing country ownership. The implementing country voice is essential to how the EITI is shaped, governed and used, and the citizens themselves must speak louder. The EITI should go further in strengthening implementing country ownership. The EITI must also ensure that it has the funding needed to deliver the support it has committed to.
EITI Reports should be less about compiling data and more about making recommendations for improved governance of the extractive sector.