The piece “Eye on Malawi’s EITI: The Multi-Stakeholder Group” featured below was initially published in Malawi’s Mining Review Issue Number 22 2015 that is circulating this February 2015.
The full edition can be read here: Mining Review No. 22 February 2015.
To learn more about this quarterly publication, edited by Marcel Chimwala, read the post about the “Voice of the mineral sector in Malawi”.
Eye on Malawi’s EITI
Examining Malawi’s journey towards EITI compliance
The Multi-Stakeholder Group
By Rachel Etter
Malawi is signing up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). President Arthur Peter Mutharika has issued an unequivocal public statement of the government’s intention to implement the EITI. The EITI will lead to greater disclosure of tax payments, licences, contracts and production data, foster debate around the management of Malawi’s resources and ultimately ensure natural resources benefit all citizens.
One of the key sign-up steps is the establishment of a multi-stakeholder group to oversee the implementation of the EITI and the development of a workplan. Representatives from government, companies and civil society form the multi-stakeholder group. This group is central to setting EITI objectives, producing EITI reports and making sure findings fuel public debate so that citizens can hold leaders accountable for their decisions.
In December 2014, Malawi’s Natural Resources Justice Network chose civil society representatives for the multi-stakeholder group. ActionAid Malawi, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Citizens for Justice and the Foundation for Community Support Services were elected. Members from government for the multi-stakeholder group will likely come from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, the Reserve Bank of Malawi and the National Audit Office. The private sector is yet to nominate members for the group.
When Malawi’s multi-stakeholder group meets for the first time, it will need to develop Terms of Reference for the group including decision-making procedures. EITI’s International Secretariat, based in Oslo, Norway, recommends that the multi-stakeholder group makes every effort to take decisions by consensus. The government will also need to consider establishing a legal basis for the group and a national secretariat to support the group. In many countries, this national secretariat is set up in the line ministry responsible for EITI; in Malawi, the responsible ministry is the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.
Ideally, the multi-stakeholder group will meet this quarter to support the government in submitting the EITI Candidature Application as soon as possible. This requires the finalisation of members for the group.
The work plan is the guiding document for the implementation of the EITI. The multi-stakeholder group is responsible for developing and managing this work plan. It must define and explain:
- What does the multi-stakeholder group want to achieve through EITI? Which issues should the group address and why? How does the group aim to meet the requirements of the EITI Standard?
- How does the multi-stakeholder group plan to achieve these objectives? Which activities will it take and which activities will it organise? How will it surpass obstacles? What assistance may it need?
- When does the multi-stakeholder group plan to undertake these activities?
- Who is responsible for the activities?
- How much will the implementation of activities cost and how will the process be financed?
(Questions adapted from EITI Guidance Note 2: Developing an EITI Workplan, April 2014)
The multi-stakeholder group is an opportunity for government, companies and civil society to come together to work towards the common goal of promoting transparency and accountability through open data in order to see that the country benefits from its natural resources. This platform will be the first of its kind for the extractive industries in Malawi and it has the potential to build trust and confidence between the members and with citizens.