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EITI Mainstreaming: Opportunities and Risks for the Role of Civil Society in EITI

Update: The consultation regarding the draft document is now over. The final version of the paper is available here.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) board, its international secretariat and development partners now encourage “mainstreaming” within EITI. This involves a transition away from standalone EITI reports toward meeting EITI requirements through routine and publicly accessible government and company reporting. Mainstreaming can increase the opportunity for civil society to engage in resource governance, because of more timely, relevant information; clearer reporting responsibilities; freeing time from EITI bureaucracy; and potentially renewed channels of participation.
Nonetheless, given the global context of constricting civic space, there are concerns among many in civil society that mainstreaming could be used to undermine the multi-stakeholder governance within EITI and the role of civil society in resource governance more generally. Moreover, unless these risks are recognized and addressed, there is a danger that civil society will refrain from engaging in mainstreaming processes, increasing the likelihood that mainstreaming will have a detrimental effect on the role of civil society in EITI. 
Recognizing that this is a complex issue, with potential for far reaching impacts for EITI, we have produced a draft consultation brief, which we encourage you to comment on. It is our hope that this consultation will contribute to the nascent discussion around EITI mainstreaming. In doing so, we hope to clearly articulate the opportunities and risks that mainstreaming presents for civil society engagement in EITI and resource governance more generally. We also aim to identify who needs to act and what steps different EITI actors, including the EITI board, its international secretariat, country-level multi-stakeholder groups and development partners need to take to ensure that that mainstreaming helps bring more accountability into the extractive industries.

Asmara Klein is the Natural Resource Governance Institute’s (NRGI) senior program officer for civic space. Rob Pitman a governance officer at NRGI. Matthieu Salomon is a senior governance officer at NRGI.