Opening up extractives data

Unlocking data

EITI countries have together published data on the extractive sector covering 282 fiscal years.

Until recently, this data was not very accessible or useable, contained only in paper reports and pdf files. Disclosing it as ‘open data’ online enables users to make better use of EITI data to inform public debate about the extractive industries.

The EITI Standard adopted in 2013 included several provisions on publishing data in an electronic and ‘machine-readable’ format. In advance of the Global Conference in Lima, the EITI Board has agreed an open data policy and further refinements to the Standard to encourage countries to move towards ‘open data’. Each multi-stakeholder group will have to agree a clear policy on the access, release and re-use of EITI data. Implementing countries are encouraged to publish EITI data under an open license and to make users aware that information can be reused without prior consent. The Board will also form a working group to develop open data standards.

Improved disclosure

The EITI Standard introduced a range of new reporting requirements. Some requirements – such as coverage of production volumes - are required in every country. Others – like coverage of social payments – are only applicable where they are part of the country’s legal and fiscal regime. Overall, the comprehensiveness of EITI reporting is improving. The graph below compares the published reports in 2015 from 34 countries with their previous reports. The overall trend of improved coverage is clear.

Improvements in 2015 reports:

  • Almost all of the reporting countries have disclosed information about payments disaggregated by company and revenue streams.
  • The majority of the countries provide information on production and licenses.
  • There is a growing interest in addressing beneficial ownership.
  • Electronic disclosure has improved, making extractive industry data available for further analysis.

Ensuring timely data

EITI Reports are most useful and relevant when published regularly and contain timely data. Timely data is essential if the EITI is to contribute to meaningful and informed public debate. The EITI Standard requires that implementing countries publish their first EITI Report within 18 months. Thereafter, implementing countries are expected to produce EITI Reports on an annual basis and no later than two years from the end of the financial period.

The graph below shows that over the previous five years, the timeliness of EITI Reports has improved by 17.5%. Reports covering fiscal year 2013 were issued on average 1.5 years after the end of the financial year. There are continued efforts towards real time data.

Among the reports published in 2015, the share of those that did not meet the two year deadline has dropped from 26% to 15%.