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Diplomacy in Action

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Panel Discussion


Remarks
Carlos Pascual
Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs 
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Washington, DC
January 31, 2014

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The goal, I think that we are all trying to get to, is to ensure that the resources that are availability for the extraction industries are used in a way that support and advance the development in the country. And the interests of its people. David put it well that one of the fundamental factors that you have to address is combatting corruption and putting a ring around corruption and shrinking it and eliminating it.  One of those pieces is, as the title, the name implies, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, is transparency. But the reason that that transparency is so critical is because of the capacity that it gives communities and interest groups to begin to make a difference in their countries.

 

One of the questions that I have asked myself constantly is how do you change the political balance in a country if the leader is looking at a resource base of tremendous wealth, and they have an ability to use that well, not only for personal gain but in fact entrenching the rules? Why did they see it in their interest to allow those resources to be able to be used by the people in the country? And the only reason that it is going to happen is if in fact democratic procedures can work. If communities and societies become involved, if they can create the pressures that are necessary for good governance and accountability in governance, so that the political equation is changed, so that it is the effective use of those resources for the positive benefit of society. The results in the sustainability of power, rather than the abuse of these resources being that which provides for longevity of leadership.

 

Today there are 41 countries involved in the EITI, a tremendous range of countries. Different requirements for those countries, different challenges that they are going to face. But one  of the things that we now know is that it’s not just for the poor, and this is one if the reasons why the U.S. is so engaged and active and making this effort to become a member of the EITI. What we are convinced of is if we can all make a difference in achieving greater transparency in the use of these resources, we can give communities a tool to work with for their direct engagement locally. For their federal engagement. And to be able to make a difference in national politics in the way that they use that knowledge and information, then we have contributed to a process of democratization, but we have also continued to a process that is going to allow for a more effective use of that wealth so it supports broader economic development and the aspirations that those people have.



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