chapter  14
20 Pages

International campaigns for extractive industry transparency in post- conflict settings


Oil and mining activities and the revenues they produce, have been implicated in the initiation and prolongation of conflict in a number of countries. In response, the international community has begun to advocate for the adoption and implementation of transparency and accountability initiatives in post-conflict settings so as to alter the behaviours around natural resource governance that prevailed during a conflict. The Publish What You Pay (PWYP) movement and the subsequent Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) represent the leading international efforts to rally support and facilitate change in this area. In this chapter, we examine the emergence of these movements and the claims made around their capacity to advance peacebuilding processes. In particular, EITI and PWYP are credited with deterring corruption through improving transparency and increasing dialogue and trust among stakeholders. Both of these effects are thought to diffuse the dynamics through which resource wealth can exacerbate conflict risks. The chapter describes the thinking and assumptions behind these positive linkages, as well as the challenges in proving or measuring their existence on the ground. While lofty expectations helped these initiatives to gain momentum, their more measured records of success speak to the contingent nature of natural resource management practices and their resistance to easy change. The chapter draws on illustrations from four post-conflict countries in order to demonstrate the range of implementation experiences. Along with obvious factors, such as committed leadership and a conducive governance context, the timing of EITI and PWYP initiation appears to affect their capacity to deliver meaningful results. These timing issues could have important implications for determining how to optimally deploy these transparency initiatives in post-conflict environments. Specifically, transparency initiatives will face greater challenges in contexts where rival groups are party to ‘buy-outs’, particularly if these settlements involve the extractive sector. Moreover, if the initiatives precede the establishment of a comprehensive approach to resource management, the transparency objectives may be drowned out by broader concerns.