The 3 day workshop was held in Istanbul and brought together around 35 CSO activists, MSG members, journalists, extractive company representatives from 7 countries of the region. NRGI’s president Daniel Kaufmann and representatives of EITI secretariat Dvyeke Rogan and Richard Dion and PWYP representatives Oliana Valigura and Olena Pavlenko also joined the workshop.
Welcoming participants NRGI’s Eurasia Director Galib Efendiyev and Senior Governance Officer Erica Westenberg spoke about EITI Standard and Expectations and also applied analyses methodology. They gave information about framework materials, on Resource Governance Index, Natural Resource Charter and other useful publications.
Participants from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Ukraine, Tajikistan and Albania told about their expectations on increasing their knowledge and skills to strengthen their work in extractive sector, to analyze data from EITI reports, to get particular knowledge on licenses, contracts and also mitigate future gaps in EITI reports in those countries where reports were not yet published. “I want to apply learned knowledge here to analyze EITI report, so that it is not made just for the sake of reporting” – said Ulugbek Tnaliyev MSG member from Kazakhstan.
“My expectation is getting technical skills and more information on how to provide analyses” – said Gubad Ibadoghlu, international EITI Board member.
PWYP member from Mongolia Tserenjav Demberel mentioned he expected to get knowledge on how to solve the problem of information gap and also make EITI information useful for wider public.
Participants got very much interested in NRGI’s Resource Governance Index and asked technical questions for getting more information and further application of RGI in their work.
Erica Westenberg, NRGI’s Senior Governance Officer made presentation on “License allocation and extractive contracts”. She told about importance of analyses: “It enables informed public understanding & policy debates” – added Erica later talking about Natural Resource Charter framework that offers a series of questions on natural resource governance as a way to assess government policies along the decision chain. Participants were informed about 3 step analyses process which were collecting information, policy evaluation and working out recommendations and also primary, secondary and tertiary NRC framework questions that would help researchers when doing data analyses. When answering to question whether governments use an appropriate allocation method to allocate rights, Erica talked about level of competition, well designed rules for competitions and also responsible agency to issue licenses. “Information sources for this could be EITI reports, RGI estimations and also different media reports, which sometimes tell much” – she said when presenting particular cases from Yemen and Afghanistan. Then working groups came together to analyze situation around license allocation in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Albania through applying NRGI’s methodology and NRC framework.
The second presentation was on State owned enterprises, and was delivered by NRGI’s Eurasia Director, Galib Efendiyev. Main question was around SOE accountability. And whether the extractive sector state-owned enterprises were transparent and subject to oversight. The presentation included questions related to production, plans, revenues and costs of SOEs, revenue flow between NOC and the state, results of oil trading and comprehensive information about SOE quasi-fiscal activities. Galib referred to case of SOCAR, SOE in Azerbaijan and informed country’s draft EITI report for 2013 just included information on amount sent to quasi-fiscal activities. “The report does not tell us on what particular directions and in what amounts these allocations were made” – he added. Participants were later tasked with evaluation of SOE transparency and accountability in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Albania through group works. Presentations of group works told on lots of gaps related to SOEs in countries of the region and working groups also proposed very interesting recommendations on how the situation could be improved.
The third session on “Government receipts from extractives” was delivered by NRGI Eurasia Senior Officer Fidan Bagirova on the second day of the workshop. She reminded participants on NRC framework, also telling about precept 4, on government receipts. “The good fiscal regime for extractive industry should ensure royalties, and also some additional tax payments to governments”- she stated when making presentation. On case of Albania’s profit tax payments from foreign oil companies and transit payments in Azerbaijan, she illustrated on potential gaps in control and oversight that may brought to government lost. After group work exercise, there were reports on Albania, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan where participants applying NRGI analyses methodology found out gaps, made policy evaluations and also recommendations.
The group work session on working with EITI figures was also very interesting and very useful, as participants got to know how use EITI information to made trend analyses and also compare that to development indicators of country.
On last day, Erica made presentation on action planning, which was very important after making data analyses. She applied “What? How? Who and When?” framework to explain participants on importance of timely, correctly formulated and targeted advocacy actions. The practical example of Ghana helped participants to understand the framework well. “When talking about action planning, we could think about EITI process, but there are more options” – said Erica when presenting. This time participants were grouped in country teams and each country team presented their main problems related to extractives and advocacy strategy. It came out that there are number of common problems for different countries that may bring to regional advocacy. Next presentation made by PWYP’s regional coordinator Oliana Valigura informed more about advocacy opportunities through PWYP. Oliana informed participants about PWYP’s 4 priority directions which were legislative improvement, consultancies with local communities, contract/license disclosure and EITI. There was active Q&A during PWYP session.
Dvyeke Rogan from International EITI secretariat made presentation on EITI Standard: “We’ve just started implementing new standard, and have 237 reports so far. True is that in most countries those these 237 reports have created disclosure of information, but have not resulted in better management of resources” – she said. She also explained on reasons and mentioned on potential solutions. “You do not need to wait to publish information in EITI report, once that information could be published at time things happen. That way information becomes more useful” – she added. At the end of her presentation Dvyeke mentioned on development of EITI and said once gover nment systems are more transparent on particular revenues, EITI will start looking for collection of new types of information.
NRGI’s President Daniel Kaufmann made the final presentation at the workshop. He talked about Resource Governance Index and importance of data. “When looking at RGI, you can get information on what areas particular country is doing well and where it is failing” – he said. “Technical data is very important, since it allows us to engage in discussions and debates” – he added.
Mr. Kaufmann also talked about enabling environment for CSO to participate in EITI. “When we look at EITI there are many areas of progress, however we do not see progress on enabling environment for CSO. Why better CSO environment should be taken so seriously? It is important, because it is related to accountability and accordingly to corruption. CSO, NGOs, data groups experts need to get involved, otherwise there won’t be any progress in combating corruption” – mentioned Mr. Kaufmann.
He answered to questions of CSO from Albania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and told even though some of countries were not NRGI priority countries, NRGI still organized regional activities to meet needs of the whole region. “Thanks so much for sharing and coming together” – said Mr. Kaufmann at the end of his speech.
Participants shared with their opinion on applied methodology and appreciated NRGI’s initiative to provide first data analyses workshop based on new EITI Standard.
It is expected that training participants will apply obtained knowledge and NRGI will coordinate with other donors in Albania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine to assist them.
Fidan Bagirova, NRGI