Make EITI homegrown concept, advises SARW

THE Southern Africa Resource Watch says the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) risked remaining an academic exercise if it is not redefined to make it a homegrown concept.  
In a statement released yesterday, Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) campaign officer for Zambia Edward Lange stated that the initiative should not be an international-driven concept. 
Lange stated that the EITI international secretariat validated Zambia as an implementing country which climaxed the implementation process of the initiative. 
e stated that the development meant that the country had complied with most of the 18 indicators that comprise the validation matrix which must be complied with before a country could be considered ETTI-compliant. 

call on all the participating groups in the multi-stakeholder group of the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Council hosted by the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development to reflect and redefine the essence of the initiative. We feel becoming an implementing country is not an end in itself; it is just the beginning of a much bigger task of ensuring that transparency and accountability are entrenched in structures and systems of resource management," Lange stated 

He stated that statements coming from some quarters indicating that there was no sincerity among the key players involved in the extractive industries were not only worrying but a wakeup call as to whether the EITI was adding any value to the way business was being done in Zambia. 
Lange stated that the country would need to maintain the status by a continuous improvement of its resource governance and management   systems to ensure transparency and accountability. 

"A successful implementation of the EITI cannot proceed without a strong monitoring mechanism. The best monitoring system is provided by an informed citizenry. We, therefore, wish to appeal to civil society organisations in the country to play their role in taking the information to the people and explain the entire concept, so as to ensure active participation of more players thereby making it known especially by local communities," Lange stated. 

"For example, the 2010 reconciliation report has been released; how far have we engaged relevant institutions? Have we attempted to simplify the information or we are waiting for cooperating partners like the World Bank to drive the process? This calls for serious reflection and capacity audit of the CSOs, government and mining companies, and ensure that there is the much needed collective responsibility as a people, and that only progressive dialogue will lead into local people feeling part of the process, otherwise it will risk remaining an academic exercise," said Lange.