Press release | Date: 2007-09-27| No: 112/07
Minister of International Development Erik Solheim today announced that Norway will be the first Western country to fully implement the transparency principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The purpose of the EITI is to encourage companies in the oil, gas and mining industries to publish what they pay to the authorities in host countries, and host countries to publish what they receive. The publication of revenue streams in a public report limits opportunities for corruption, and makes it possible to hold the authorities accountable for the use of revenues from national resources.
“Norway wants to be at the forefront of the international effort to combat corruption. Our role as a driving force in the EITI is an example of this. Until now, Norway has given the initiative financial and political support. We will now implement the EITI Principles fully. We will ourselves do what we ask other countries to do. This will enhance our credibility in the international fight against corruption in the raw materials industries,” said Minister of International Development Erik Solheim.
The Norwegian authorities, and the Norwegian oil and gas companies Statoil and Hydro have been involved in the EITI since 2003. In Norway, the taxes paid by the oil and gas industry are already made public, and Norway’s implementation of the EITI Principles and Criteria will in practice mean few changes to the relations between the industry and the state. The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy will be responsible for ensuring that the Principles and Criteria are implemented.
Mr Solheim hopes that the EITI will help to ensure that a larger proportion of the revenues generated from the world’s oil and mineral resources is used to assist the poorest people in the world.
“Many developing countries that are rich in oil, gas and other natural resources have much lower economic growth than countries without such resources. Regimes have less need of a democratic base when they have access to resource revenues, which may also be used to support instability and conflict. Paradoxically, natural resources have become a curse in many countries. The EITI’s measures to increase transparency in relation to revenue streams are part of what is needed to break this curse,” said Mr Solheim.
The EITI was launched by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2002. Since then, 25 countries have joined the initiative, and large companies like ExxonMobile, ChevronTexaco, ENI, Shell, Total, BP, Statoil and Hydro are among the many private sector participants. Various NGOs, such as Transparency International and the Publish What You Pay coalition, are also involved. The EITI Board includes representatives from government, business sector and NGO representatives.
An international EITI secretariat has been established in Oslo with the support of the Norwegian authorities. It was officially opened on 26 September.