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Who Committed to What in Extractives at the U.K. Anti-Corruption Summit?

Many of the governments attending the 12 May Anti-Corruption Summit in London committed to address extractive sector corruption concerns. In particular, 11 countries and the European Commission committed to address the absence of transparency in the commodity trading sector, representing an upsurge in global attention to this area of vital concern—and it was especially encouraging to see commitments from countries where trading companies are based. Also encouraging: a number of governments signaled that they will use their membership of the Open Government Partnership to further their relevant anti-corruption commitments.

In this table, we have summarized selected commitments that are relevant to oil, gas and mining sector governance. We focus on 32 countries that are either rich in natural resources or home to extractive sector companies.

We compiled the following types of commitments:

Beneficial ownership

Many countries committed to create and/or disclose registries of beneficial ownership information. Depending on their eventual structure, these central registries could result in the disclosure of ownership information for companies that participate in the extractive sector. Ghana indicated its registry would include extractive companies, with reporting mandated by oil sector legislation, and Tanzania committed specifically to disclosing ownership data for the extractive sector. Other countries may end up following Tanzania’s approach, particularly those aiming to meet the new requirement from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to disclose ownership data for the sector.

Open contracting

The commitments made around open contracting could result in the disclosure of extractive sector contracts or sub-contracts. This will only happen if the disclosure rules include exploration and production contracts, as well as procurement executed by state-owned enterprises. Ghana explicitly committed to disclosing extractive sector contracts, and Mexico will explore applying the Open Contracting Data Standard to its next oil license tenders. 

Commodity trading

Eleven countries and the European Commission committed to “enhance company disclosure” of payments to governments for the sale of oil, gas and minerals. The countries included Switzerland and the U.K., home to many of the companies that buy large quantities of raw materials (especially crude oil) from governments and state-owned companies, as well as Australia, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway, where other large buying companies are based. Given the large share of the market based in these jurisdictions, their action to “enhance company disclosure” would significantly reduce the secrecy that prevails in this corner of the extractive sector. Other key players like the U.S. and Singapore failed to include commitments on this issue, but could still choose to join this international effort. Governments of resource-rich governments that sell commodities, like those of Afghanistan, Ghana and Nigeria, also committed to pursue greater transparency in this area. (Read more about the importance of commodity trading transparency here.)

Other extractive commitments

Many countries voiced support for the EITI and its new rules around beneficial ownership and commodity trading. Our table summarizes these statements, as well as general commitments around issues like country-by-country reporting of tax information that could indirectly affect extractive sector governance concerns.

Our summary provides an initial bird's eye view of the promises made at the summit. We encourage users to double-check the original commitment documents for the precise wording and context.

Moving ahead, we look forward to working with civil society and government actors to ensure that these commitments lead to timely action.

Further reading:

Max George-Wagner is a governance associate at the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI). Alexandra Gillies is the director of governance programs at NRGI. Joseph Williams is NRGI’s senior governance officer.

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