Protecting the Cornerstone: Assessing the Governance of EITI Multi-Stakeholder Groups

In February 2015, MSI Integrity released this landmark report on the governance of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The report assesses whether national multi-stakeholder groups – the driving force of EITI – are operated and governed effectively.

To our knowledge, Protecting the Cornerstone is the most comprehensive study of EITI governance ever conducted, drawing on assessments of more than 40 EITI implementing countries. MSI Integrity also carried out in-field research to closely examine multi-stakeholder group operations in 15 different countries including Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Philippines, and Tanzania.

The report addresses five areas critical to the governance of EITI:

  • MSG internal governance processes
  • National secretariat organization and operation
  • Participation of independent and effective civil society
  • Wider stakeholder representation and involvement in multi-stakeholder groups
  • The EITI global framework and oversight of multi-stakeholder groups

The report finds that while several countries have adopted some innovative governance practices, there are significant shortcomings of multi-stakeholder governance in most countries. A striking finding is that none of the countries assessed met all the governance requirements of EITI’s operating rules, the EITI Standard.

Many actors in EITI have expressed continued enthusiasm for improving internal governance and a genuine interest in learning about good practice. Change within EITI will require coordinated action at both the international and local levels. At the international level, Protecting the Cornerstone recommends that the EITI Board and EITI Secretariat provide greater guidance and oversight, such as by strengthening the EITI Standard and developing an effective grievance mechanism. At the national and local level, the report offers tailored recommendations, as well as practical guidance notes for EITI countries and civil society.

This study was prompted by a request for research by Publish What You Pay International (PWYP) in December 2013. It was conducted independently of both EITI and PWYP. MSI Integrity engaged with and sought feedback from all EITI stakeholders, including EITI Board members from all constituencies, throughout the process. MSI Integrity provided all its research services pro bono and did not accept any fees for service. The following actors supported non-research costs for the study:

  • The World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund reimbursed MSI Integrity for direct travel costs incurred in conducting interviews and attending meetings, however all research and activities were conducted independently of both the World Bank and the contributors to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund.
  • After the report was drafted and finalized, PWYP International arranged for design and printing of physical copies.

Individual country assessments and data sets can be found here.

Many MSGs have discussed the report and are exploring ways to improve MSG governance in their country. A list of the convenings to discuss report findings is available here. We encourage MSG members or other actors interested in discussing the report or considering how it applies to the EITI process in their country to contact us.

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GUIDANCE NOTE 1: GOOD PRACTICES FOR CIVIL SOCIETY PARTICIPATION IN MULTI-STAKEHOLDER GROUPS
GUIDANCE NOTE 2: PROTOCOL FOR DEVELOPING ROBUST INTERNAL GOVERNANCE RULES AND PROCEDURES FOR MULTI-STAKEHOLDER GROUPS