Waking Up The G8 Nations
Natural Resource Revenues -- Key to Global Justice
Most government deals with natural resource extraction corporations are secret, and involve secret payments. Some of these are bribes, some are targeted tax breaks, some are concealed subsidies -- and all are immoral.
The "Publish What You Pay" coalition was formed to make all such payments public. Then we'll know which corrupt governments and corporations are seizing the values that rightfully belong to the people. The Banneker Center for Economic Justice is a member of the PWYP coalition.
Natural Resource Revenues -- G8 Must Follow Declaration on Oil, Gas and Mining Transparency, With Genuine Action
At their summit in Evian, France, the G8 nations have made their first ever specific statement on the importance of transparency of natural resource revenues.
The G8's Declaration on Fighting Corruption and Improving Transparency contains a statement on both the urgent need to provide for the disclosure of payments made by extractive companies, and for revenues received by governments in the oil, mining and gas sector worldwide. This commitment is an important first step to ensure that citizens of resource-rich-but-poor countries can begin to hold their governments accountable for management of revenues earned from 'their' natural resources.
However, the G8 governments have committed to piloting a merely voluntary approach to disclosure, which means that revenue transparency will not be delivered everywhere it is most needed. In most resource-rich-but-poor countries — such as Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Nauru and Nigeria to name but a few — ruling elites treat resource revenues as their own private property and are unlikely to voluntarily disclose the government's income from these sources. Instead, the PWYP coalition is calling for disclosure of payment information to be required by stock market regulators and international accounting standards. This legal requirement to disclose would cancel the confidentiality clauses and secret deals that international companies sign to get business in such countries.
The G8 has also committed to the aggregation of payment information, which masks individual revenue flows from public scrutiny. Companies individually disclose their payments to the G8 nations, so why should the standard be any different for developing countries?
“There are now a set of commitments to revenue transparency to which the G8 countries can be held accountable. But the G8 has not given any justification for its purely voluntary approach to disclosure, which means it will not work where it is most needed” says Simon Taylor of Global Witness.
“The G8 governments must recognise that extractive industry transparency is not just about tackling corruption. It will have very significant benefits for sustainable development, market efficiency, protection of investors, and energy security,” says Antoine Sondag of Secours Catholique/CARITAS France. “The G8 must devote full political will to the delivery of revenue transparency because of its urgency and the interests involved for all stakeholders.”
The full text of the G8 Declaration on Fighting Corruption and Improving Transparency is available at
You'll find more information at www.publishwhatyoupay.org
Find out about Alaska's successful system of getting natural resource values into the hands of the citizens, described in this prize-winning essay by Alanna Hartzok
Also see the Niger Delta Fund Initiative
Email this article Sign up for free Progress Report updates via email
What's your opinion? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?