On 27 January 2012, Solomon Islands has moved a step closer to becoming a candidate country of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) through the formation of the Solomon Islands EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG). Government officials, mining company representatives, and civil society groups have worked together to form the MSG at a two day EITI workshop held in Honiara. EITI is a global standard for revenue transparency in oil, gas and mining.
The formation of the Solomon Islands EITI MSG is an important outcome for the country as it creates a space for government, civil society groups and industry to jointly monitor and account for the flow of money between companies, government and land owners from mining activities in the country. This important outcome was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Solomon Islands Government, the World Bank Group, the Government of the United Kingdom, and the Government and Civil Society Groups from Timor-Leste in making the workshop happen.
Presenters from Timor –Leste, a pioneer and compliant EITI country shared their experience with all Solomon Island’s stakeholders and demonstrated the country’s “Beyond EITI Approach” which incorporates the principles of transparency in nation building efforts. To this end demonstrations were made of the Timor-Leste’s Transparence Portal consisting of web pages that provide real time information on national budget, procurement, and petroleum fund transactions. The site also provides up to date information on aid programs negotiated between the government of Timor-Leste and international donors.
Within the next three months the Solomon Islands EITI MSG will set the rules that will guide their work together and establish a country Work Plan to implement a uniquely Solomon Islands Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative. This work plan will put in place, and complement, overall government reforms to:
- Reduce the opportunities for corruption and the risk of conflict that are common to the extractive sector;
- Improve governance systems and processes among government departments;
- Strengthen capacity of Civil Society Groups to engage and work meaningfully and responsibly with industry and government to build a strong and equitable mining sector; and
- Improve the business environment for investment and growth in the Solomon Islands.
Government officials, mining company representatives, and civil society groups have committed to finalize this work plan by end April 2012. When this is accomplished, it will form the basis for the country’s application to the EITI International Secretariat for EITI Candidacy. Once granted, Candidacy will open the door for greater financial and technical support to implement the initiative.
The members that were elected into the EITI multi-stakeholder groups are;
Industry members of the MSG are:
- George Kuper - GRML
- Hitoshi Ito - Sumitomo
- Augustine Wate - Newmount
- Bauro Koraua - Pacific Pophery
- Civil Society members of the MSG are:
- Timothy Lafiua - DSE
- Jennifer Wate - SIDT
- Hugo Buforo - Isabel Resource owner
- Rhoda Sikilabu - Deputy premier/resource owner Isabel
- Walter Malau- TSI
- Sheppard Lapo- TSI
Government Members are:
- Phillip Tagini - Prime Ministers Office
- George Tapo - Inland Revenue Division
- Joe Vasuni - Central Bank of Solomon Islands
- Krista Tatapu - Ministry of Mines
The EITI-MSG has each of their alternative members which can join the meeting if the elected members unable to attend.
For more information, please contact Harry Kuma or Dennis Meone. MOFT Ph: 23122