Endorsing The Sub-National EITI Principles to The Region

| September 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

davao

Sub-national champions implementing EITI principles shared their experiences to the region

Davao, the Philippines. For Suyoto having greater power means taking more responsibilities. As the head of district he has a great power to manage all resources in his district, including in managing the share-revenues of oil industry shared by the central government.

Bojonegoro is a resource-rich district, it has teak forest, agriculture and of course Block Cepu, an oil block which contributes around 20% of national oil production in Indonesia. Ironically, many people in Bojonegoro live in poverty, they only become the spectators.

When he was elected as the district head in Suyoto began to think. He realized that oil industry couldn’t be managed only by some political elites and business persons. District government, local business and civil society also need to participate. A multi-stakeholder group (MSG) was then established and become a healthy media to discuss about business and development.

“I even asked the companies to set up an office and deploy their officers in Bojonegoro, so that they understand very well about situation in this mining area, including environment and social impacts” he said.

From the MSG forum he also got some inputs on developing the revenue management where revenues from oil are allocated into several sectors: investment for social (education and health), investment for trade and economic productive, saving fund, and development fund for all effected villages.

“Oil revenues will not flow forever, but we’re need to think how to invest the money to sustainable sectors and bring more prosperity to the people”.

Experiences from Bojonegoro also become a lesson for government in Compostella Valley Province in the Philippines. Supported by the IKAT US Project, team took a study tour and learned how to implement transparency principles and develop the MSG. It was not such long process, as many champions in Compostella Valley were interested and committed to build MSG.

“MSG certainly has provided the opportunity to develop a healthy dialogue for many stakeholders. People are more responsible to manage their resources, financial management is more transparent, and Indigenous People institutions are more credible.” said Augusto Blanco, Jr. member of Indigenous People Organization in the Philippines.

Having this experience the governor then released a regulation which amended that principles of transparency and MSG should be implemented in all mining development.

Bojonegoro and Compostella Valley are two cases where principles of EITI are implemented at the sub-national level. Their experiences were shared in the a regional conference on sub-national EITI organized by Bantay Kita in Davao on August 22-23, 2013.

Around 80 participants attended the conference representing government offices, civil society organizations, business associations from the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia and Cambodia.

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of Institute for Essential Services (IESR) said experiences of implementing EITI principles at the sub-national level could be seen as the “pilot” or “exercise” process for the country in Southeast Asia to adopt full EITI implementation. And it also can capture the local dynamics and adopt more measure beyond “transparency” indicator.

“This will be a good process to transform the ASEAN ways in managing their mining. These resources should be managed with a framework which protecting environment, human rights, access of benefits sharing for local communities and transparent and accountable” said Fabby.

National coordinator of Bantay Kita, Cielo Magno, highlighted that EITI is not an ultimate way to solve many challenges in mining sector as such environmental degradation, corruption or social and armed conflicts. Yet the principles of EITI such as transparency and MSG give a space for dialogue on how managing these common resources.

“With transparency principle, public will have access of their resources, how much the production, the revenues, and how the money will be spent.” said Cielo.

The conference also shared some experiences of developing sustainable mining program which involved community groups and mining associations.

Ngunyen Van Thang, Deputy Director of Trade and Industry Department in Binh Dinh Province, Viet Nam, said he learned many lessons from the conference as his province began to explore the mining sectors.

“In my country, we have implemented the information law where government releases the information for licensing, but yet the revenues law. I guess it would be good if we can learn more about revenue management” he said

The conference also discussed about opportunities to bring the initiatives of sub-national EITI into the region and engage more countries and figures to be involved.

“The opportunities are quite open,” said Suyoto, as long as it creates a friendly environment for the sub-national learn about the EITI principles.

“A peer-to peer learning process would be good where sub-national leaders in Southeast Asia learn about the principles from other sub-national leaders,” he said.

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