The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as a Human Rights Instrument: Potentials and Shortcomings
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is first and foremost an initiative designed to increase the transparency of payments in the extractive sector. It pursues an important goal: to enhance accountability and to ensure that people in resource-rich countries can benefit from resource exploitation. In some cases, EITI could even go further, as in artisanal and small scale-mining where, in some countries, EITI could contribute to conflict prevention through transparency of production and financial flows. Without doubt, EITI has contributed to much greater disclosure of information about the extractive sector. However, there is little progress towards greater accountability. Yet for EITI to become effective, it needs an enabling environment where civil society is able to use the information disclosed. In the absence of freedom of expression and political rights, the impact of EITI is minimal. Therefore, protection and respect of human rights are key if EITI is to achieve its goal. Furthermore, EITI can have a positive impact on issues that have still not been explored in depth in the EITI standards and procedures, such as reporting on the social and environmental impacts of extractive industries and artisanal and small-scale mining.