10 years of transparency of extractive industries. What was discussed at the IPWG conference in Ukraine

On November 1, Kyiv hosted the conference “10 years of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Ukraine: achievements and prospects.” At it, representatives of the Government, mining companies and the public discussed the 10-year path of implementing the Initiative’s standards in Ukraine and jointly sought a way to further increase transparency in the mining industry. The International Renaissance Foundation became one of the key partners and co-organizers of the Conference.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an independent international transparency standard operating voluntarily in 57 countries around the world. Ukraine joined EITI back in October 2013 and implemented this standard in its legislation.

Over 10 years of work, Ukraine has advanced far in the implementation of EITI Standards and has become one of the leading countries in the world in this field. 8 reports on Ukraine’s progress were prepared, and work on the 9th is ongoing, an open Register of Ultimate Beneficial Owners was created, and much more. In 2023, Ukraine was recognized as one of the three countries that received the important EITI Chairs Award 2023 for continuing to implement the Standard on Transparency in the Extractive Industry, despite numerous difficulties and restrictions caused by the Russian war.

In her welcome speech, Svitlana Grynchuk, the Deputy Minister of Energy, noted that despite the fact that the last 2 years have been the most difficult in the history of Ukraine, the government and the public continue to work together to increase transparency. “The fact that we continue to implement the EITI standard shows the whole world that we are a country that, despite extremely difficult conditions, despite the war, thinks first of all about development and how to become a full member of the European family, how to develop our country, economy, be open and civilized,” said Svitlana Grynchuk.

Helen Clark, Chair of the Global EITI Board, also noted Ukraine’s progress and leading position in the implementation of transparency standards for extractive industries. “You take on the mission of improving governance transparency for the benefit of all citizens. Despite the difficult conditions, you remain active in supporting this initiative, ready to share your implementation experience with others. And despite the terrible conditions of war, the stakeholder groups continue to work, you continue to publish timely reports, you continue to find innovative new ways to reveal data. These are best practices across the region,” Helen said.

The first panel of the Conference was about the history of EITI in Ukraine. Oleksiy Orlovskyi, director of the “Democracy and Good Governance” program of the International Renaissance Foundation and a former long-term member of the global EITI Board, spoke about how Ukraine came to the status of a candidate for EITI membership.

Oleksiy recalled that Ukraine received the status of a candidate member of the EITI at the end of 2013, before the start of the Revolution of Dignity, one of the drivers of which was the desire to fight corruption in the country. Therefore, it is not surprising that the anti-corruption motive was based on the IPVG in Ukraine even then.

“If you look at the rhetoric currently being used by the global EITI Board, it is only now that the Initiative is being positioned as anti-corruption. We began to emphasize this even before joining EITI and starting its implementation in Ukraine. It overlapped a lot with requests from society. This says a lot about the enormous influence of civil society,” explained Oleksiy Orlovsky.

Dina Narezhneva, manager of the “Democracy and Good Governance” program of the International Renaissance Foundation and head of the National Secretariat of EITI in Ukraine in 2015-2018, said that the success of the implementation of EITI standards was based on several key foundations. On the one hand, it is the presence of the National Secretariat – a team that not only helped to fulfill the standard requirements, but also to go beyond the formal approach to scaling up EITI in Ukraine, on the other hand, the constant activity of civil society organizations.

“Civil society was and remains the key driver of the implementation of the EIA in Ukraine. It was not just an integral part of success, but its main component. It was from the civil society that activity, interest and readiness to not give up even when it was difficult came,” Dina Narezhneva explained. Among the important elements were also mentioned the presence of an appropriate legal framework and the digitalization of the implementation of EITI.

The following panels were devoted to specialized issues related to the transparency of extractive industries, in particular, there was a presentation and discussion of the updated EITI Standard and a discussion on how the implementation of the Standard should take place at the national and regional levels. The translation of the updated IVPG Standard was also created with the support of “Revival”.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative continues to be an important component for the development of Ukraine. It helps to increase transparency and fight corruption, ensures a fair distribution of profits from the use of subsoil, contributes to increasing trust in the authorities, attracting investments and developing international cooperation. It is the EIA Standard that should become one of the many foundations of Ukraine’s future sustainable development. In turn, the International Renaissance Foundation will continue to actively work on the implementation and development of the Initiative in Ukraine.

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