Representatives of civil society organisations from across the region came together in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, to discuss the role and contribution of CSOs towards the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) processes in the region. The regional workshop, which ran from 18 to 19th August, was an initiative of the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW).
Participants were drawn from CSOs from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the host country, Zambia. The workshop was also attended by delegates from Technical or National Coordinating Secretariats of EITI from the DRC, Zambia and Tanzania, and a representative of Multinational Stakeholder Group from Mozambique. The Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance, a technical organ of International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) participated as observer.
Participants recognized that the region is rich in natural resources but is facing major challenges in the management of these resources. It was emphasised that strengthening transparency mechanisms and processes could effectively improve the way natural resources are managed across the region, hence the need for a forum of engagement with States on their experiences relating to both governance in general, and implementation of EITI.
Four research reports on the participation of civil society organizations in the EITI processes were presented at the workshop, covering DRC, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. These are countries where EITI is being implemented. At the end of the workshop, it was established that CSOs have played a crucial role in the implementation of EITI, and that they face similar challenges and opportunities in pushing the EITI process forward in all the countries. Notably, participants noted that CSOs were particularly active in:
- Organizing assessment workshops where observations and recommendations are made with the aim of improving the implementation of the EITI;
- Dissemination of EITI reports to different groups of society in countries where EITI is being implemented;
- Promoting transparency, good governance as well as demanding for responsibility from decision makers.
Participants also identified some challenges and weaknesses within civil society, including the following:
- Non-compliance with code of conduct (internal rules) by civil society representatives on EITI national coordinating committees;
- Lack of coherence and poor coordination amongst civil society organizations involved in the implementation of the EITI;
- Lack of funds to carry out activities for effective and efficient participation in the implementation of the EITI in the country;
- Government’s interference in the selection of the civil society delegates to sit in the executive committee of EITI in some countries;
- Lack of communication between delegates from civil society and other organizations who sit on the national committee of the EITI and other organizations involved in the process.
Participants also drew attention to the declaration of Heads of State during the special Lusaka Summit, where they adopted six tools for International Conference on the Great Lakes Regional (ICGLR) initiative and EITI process is one of them. Unfortunately, despite having signed the declaration, some countries have not yet implemented it.
Participants therefore recommended that ICGLR Member States put everything in place in order to efficiently implement the EITI.
Further, participants at the Lusaka Workshop recommended that SARW facilitate the implementation of a regional consultative framework for EITI which will have the task of:
- Monitoring the implementation of EITI in SADC States and ICGLR region, and
- Monitoring the effectiveness and the quality of EITI implementation by States.
Participants listened attentively to the Zimbabwean experience on country version of EITI. The meeting pledged to support the Zimbabwean government in joining the EITI process for more transparency in the mining sector.
Participants recommended that additional efforts be made to have efficient and sustainable participation.
Participants supported a new EITI standard and recommended that the standard include a requirement for extractive industries to publish their earnings from the natural resources they exploit.
In conclusion, participants encouraged countries implementing EITI to continue working tirelessly in the implementation process. They invited States which have not yet implemented EITI to embrace this instrument of transparency and responsibility.