On December, 7, Kyiv saw the launch of the International Sustainable Resource Management Forum, organized by the World Bank and DiXi Group Analytical Centre, a civil society organization, with participation of experts from the EITI International Secretariat, the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry and the International Renaissance Foundation, representatives of the EITI National Secretariat, the Independent Administrator (Ernst & Young), international experts, civil society organizations and government representatives. The Forum is dedicated to the launch of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Ukraine and publication of Ukraine’s first report pursuant to the EITI international standard.
The Forum’s program includes presentations and debates of high-profile experts, representatives of world’s major donor organizations, supporting reforms in Ukraine. In his welcome address to the participants in the Forum, Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine, emphasized the need for an urgent sector reform to ensure transparency, accountability, efficient management of public resources and the quickest possible elimination of bureaucratic and corruption barriers, consistency and speeding up the reform implementation in Ukraine.
The first day of the Forum distinguished itself by meaningful presentations of the participants and lively debates. The participants shared their experience and opinions as regards the steps to be made by Ukraine after publication of the first EITI Report in order not to lose the determination to go towards efficient governance and transparent resource management.
Speakers highlighted that the EITI implementation is very important in terms of government decentralization, investment attractiveness of the energy sector and, what’s the main, benefits from production companies’ investments in the social development of local communities in the production areas.
Volodymyr Demchyshyn, Minister of Energy and Coal Industry, emphasized the importance of ensuring competitive and fair conditions for all market participants. Investors and production companies should have similar local infrastructure development commitments, established by the law, and act in accordance with clear and transparent principles equally binding on state-owned and private production companies.
In fact, if local authorities each time arrange on special terms and concessions with the private sector, it may result in a kind of the private sector’s “release” of any communities’ claims, environmental and social issues, and the risk of corruption will remain. It is important that both the private sector and communities know their rights and control the use of funds granted under social programs.
In the Minister’s opinion, the Law on Ensuring Transparency in Extractive Industries should determine clear, equal and transparent rules regulating relations of all parties.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, is an international anti-corruption standard, ensuring transparency in extractive industries, which has been introduced in 49 countries throughout the world, including the USA, Canada, Norway and Kazakhstan.
The essence of the EITI is that companies publish information on payments they make to the government for extraction of mineral resources, including taxes, levies, royalty, special and administrative fees (license and permit fees etc.), and government authorities publish information on the amounts received from companies.
These data are collected, processed and verified by the Independent Administrator, an audit company selected in an open tender. The final report is approved by the Multilateral Stakeholder Group, established at the national level and involving representatives of the government, companies and of the civil society. The compliance with the standard is verified by the EITI International Secretariat.
Ukraine’s efforts in combatting corrupt practices in extractive industries through implementation of the EITI standard commanded a wide support of strategic partners and provided positive signs for investors and the international community. The EITI implementation is envisaged by the Coalition Agreement, Action Plans for Implementation of the Open Government Partnership, the Macro-Financial Assistance arrangements with the IMF, the EU and the World Bank.
The Sustainable Resource Management Forum was organized by the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry and DiXi Group Analytical Centre with support of the World Bank and the International Renaissance Foundation.