The Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a multinational, cross-sector effort to increase transparency of extractive revenues to governments from companies and to foster greater understanding among industry, government, and civil society. Governments that adopt the EITI Standard release an annual report to an independent third party disclosing payments made by oil, gas, and mineral firms, while companies operating in the country make a corresponding financial disclosure. The Independent Administrator (IA) reviews and reconciles the two statements and releases this information in a public report. While originally designed for developing countries with significant governance, transparency, or corruption issues, developed countries' citizens are also asking for greater leadership and transparency of their own nations.
In September 2011, President Obama announced the United States’ commitment to implement U.S. EITI as part of his pledge to promote governmental accountability through the global Open Government Partnership initiative and to assert leadership among developed and developing nations. The President tasked the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) with preparing the application. DOI retained CBI’s services as neutral facilitator of the U.S. process (USEITI).
Through an extensive process of assessments, public listening sessions, citizen comment periods, and stakeholder interviews, CBI supported DOI in convening a multi-stakeholder group (MSG) that represents industry, government, and civil society perspectives (See: Final Stakeholder Assessment). After convening the MSG, DOI, CBI and Co-Chairs from each sector collaborated to design the process necessary to achieve a domestic EITI compliance standard acceptable to all parties. CBI has since facilitated regular meetings of the MSG in Washington, coordinated with the USEITI Secretariat and Co-Chairs in between meetings, and provided support to MSG workgroups working on the most complex issue areas (See: Draft Meeting Summary from April 23-24).
The stakeholders have worked through several inherent challenges during the drafting process. CBI mediated strong competing interests among a complex mix of geographically diverse MSG members including domestic actors at the national, state, and local levels to determine the contours of the domestic EITI standard. During and in between meetings, CBI fostered discussions to create a common purpose and establish trust among parties in industry, NGOs, and government. Further complicating the process were the structural challenges of a tight timeline, mutual commitment to heightened transparency, strict regulations governing the Federal Advisory Committee, related regulations at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the introduction of new international EITI rules midstream. CBI supported DOI in balancing the interests of keeping the process on schedule and accessible to the public while building rapport among stakeholders.
In December of 2013, DOI and the MSG succeeded in submitting an on-schedule application for the USEITI. The international EITI board accepted the United States as a candidate country in March of 2014. In December 2015, the MSG completed and made publicly available the first ever USEITI annual report. The report included a highly visual and interactive website that received accolades from around the world. And, in December 2016, the USEITI submitted its second annual report.