Remarks by Ambassador Tefft at Ukraine EITI Conference
October 11, 2012
It’s a pleasure to be here. I’d like to thank Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry for inviting me to speak to you today. A special welcome to distinguished guests: Tim Bittiger of the EITI Secretariat here in support of today’s events, Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuriy Boyko, Norwegian Ambassador Jon Elvedal Fredricksen, World Bank Mission Director Qimiao Fan and various representatives of industry and civil society.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is built on a simple idea: companies and governments should disclose payments for natural resources and should ultimately use those revenues to benefit the country's citizens. When a country follows EITI standards, these payments are made public and independently reconciled so that citizens can effectively monitor what governments do with this revenue.
The United States is fully committed to leading the charge and helping to secure concrete commitments from governments around the globe to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies that make government more effective and accountable when it comes to developing energy resources. We are working within our own borders to make government more open and responsive than ever before by promoting greater disclosure of government information and empowering citizens with new ways to participate in their democracy. EITI fits well within this model.
As part of the U.S. National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership, the U.S. is committed to implementing EITI. By signing onto the global standard set by EITI, the U.S. Government will help ensure that American taxpayers are receiving every dollar due for the extraction of valuable public natural resources. This initiative allows us to further illuminate the process of collecting revenues from natural resource extraction and enhances the accountability and transparency of our revenue collection efforts.
Creating the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG)
As part of implementing EITI, each country must engage in an inclusive, participatory process to determine what type of information should be included in EITI reporting. The Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG), which includes representatives from civil society, industry, and government, will drive the U.S. EITI process and help determine what kind of payments should be reported.
I am happy to report that the United States is in the process of creating this important body. The United States Department of Interior, which oversees the implementation of EITI, has decided to form a new federal advisory committee to serve as the initial form of the MSG. A new federal advisory committee would allow the U.S. government to satisfy its convening responsibilities, while providing a forum for the MSG to serve its role in overseeing our EITI implementation.
Working collaboratively with the government, the MSG will develop the country’s EITI implementation work plan and application for EITI candidacy, and design and oversee implementation of the framework for achieving EITI compliance.
Congratulations for Ukraine
We understand Ukraine is at a similar stage of implementation of EITI and offer our congratulations on the steps it has taken thus far. We share Ukraine's goal of improving transparency in its energy sector. I appreciate Minister Boyko’s thorough readout of Ukraine’s actions to date. Moving forward on this important initiative signifies to the citizens of Ukraine that their government is working to become more open, responsive and accountable than ever before. It is potentially an indication to the markets that Ukraine can and will take necessary steps to increase transparency and improve the business and investment climate.
As President Obama stated at the launch of the Open Government Partnership last September, we understand that a commitment to EITI is not always comfortable if done right, because governments are human institutions, which means that even with the best of intentions we are flawed and we make mistakes. However, the more open we are, and the more willing we are to hear constructive criticism, the more effective we can be for our citizens. Ultimately, governments exist to serve the people, not to serve those in power.
In closing, let me again thank the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry for inviting me to this event, and giving me the opportunity to share with you the U.S. perspective. And thanks to all of you for embracing this challenge to make sure our governments are as open and accountable and as effective as they can be, so that we can meet the aspirations of all our citizens.