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United States

Support Capacity Building for Extractives Transparency (US0103)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United States Action Plan 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: NA

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, Capacity Building, Extractive Industries, Local Commitments, Science & Technology

IRM Review

IRM Report: United States End-of-Term IRM Report 2015-2017, United States Mid-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Building on U.S. leadership with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the U.S. EITI team will launch activities to share best practices with other EITI implementing countries and improve the capacity of the EITI implementing country constituency to more effectively participate in EITI Board proceedings that directly impact in-country implementation of the EITI Standard, as well as improve capacity at the local level for more effective collaboration within each country’s EITI multi-stakeholder groups. Specifically, the U.S. EITI team will: • Develop implementing country sub-constituency guidelines for enhanced decision-making and advocacy at the EITI Board level. • Facilitate capacity building and training for implementing country board members and national coordinators. • Initiate peer-to-peer best practice exchanges between U.S. EITI team members and EITI implementing countries through regional and in-country training. • Use technology to increase transparency and public accessibility of natural resource revenue and related data through user-centered data portal design and development. • Select and deploy an improved communication platform for virtual meetings

IRM Midterm Status Summary

This commitment was not assessed in the midterm IRM report.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 51. Support Capacity Building for Extractives Transparency

Commitment Text:

Support Capacity Building for Extractives Transparency

Building on U.S. leadership with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the U.S. EITI team will launch activities to share best practices with other EITI implementing countries and improve the capacity of the EITI implementing country constituency to more effectively participate in EITI Board proceedings that directly impact in-country implementation of the EITI Standard, as well as improve capacity at the local level for more effective collaboration within each country’s EITI multi-stakeholder groups. Specifically, the U.S. EITI team will:

  • Develop implementing country sub-constituency guidelines for enhanced decision-making and advocacy at the EITI Board level.
  • Facilitate capacity building and training for implementing country board members and national coordinators.
  • Initiate peer-to-peer best practice exchanges between U.S. EITI team members and EITI implementing countries through regional and in-country training.
  • Use technology to increase transparency and public accessibility of natural resource revenue and related data through user-centered data portal design and development.
  • Select and deploy an improved communication platform for virtual meetings.

Responsible Institution: Not Specified

Supporting Institution: Not Specified

Start Date: Not Specified ....... End Date: Not Specified

Editorial Note: Completion at the midterm is not assessed for this commitment because it was submitted to OGP in September 2016 following the close of the midterm reporting period; progress for this commitment is therefore assessed from September 2016 onwards in the sections below.

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed for the US Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to launch a series of complementary activities to “share best practices” with other countries implementing the EITI, build their capacity to actively participate in EITI Board proceedings related to their implementation of the EITI Standard, and build local-level capacity with participating countries’ EITI multi-stakeholder groups. The more specific activities envisioned under this commitment include: developing country sub-constituency guidelines; facilitating capacity-building and training for EITI member-country board members and national coordinators; initiating peer-to-peer exchanges to share best practices through regional and in-country trainings; increasing the transparency and accessibility of resource revenue data and other related data through “user-centered data portal design and development”; and identifying and implementing an improved virtual communication meeting platform.

By looking to support other countries in the implementation of EITI, this commitment is complementary to the activities outlined under Commitment 31, which focuses on implementing the EITI standard domestically. It is important to note, however, that while international collaboration and peer exchange are core features of OGP, the national action plans are meant to focus on domestic open government initiatives, rather than on supporting the open government initiatives of other countries. Some elements of this commitment could contribute to greater access to information in the United States, such as using “technology to increase transparency and public accessibility of natural resource revenue and related data” or “peer-to-peer best practice exchanges between US EITI team members” and their counterparts in other countries. However, given the vague language of the commitment text (e.g. what the exchanges, trainings, and sub-constituency guidelines will look like), and the unclear possible effect of the activities on openness in the United States, the commitment has a low level of specificity and a minor potential impact.

Status

End of term: Limited

By the end of term, most of the commitment milestones were not started. As a result, the overall completion of the commitment was limited. With respect to each proposed activity:

  • The IRM researcher found no evidence that the US EITI had begun to develop sub-constituency guidelines for enhanced decision-making and advocacy. EITI Implementing Country Sub-Constituency Guidelines for Internal Coordination and Information-Sharing were endorsed in February 2016, [760] prior to the development of this commitment. These guidelines are therefore not considered to be the guidelines referenced in the commitment text.
  • The IRM researcher did not observe any activities by the US EITI intended to facilitate the capacity-building and training of implementing country board members, nor of national coordinators. The US government provided a grant in October 2016 to assist the government of Guyana in its EITI candidacy, but this grant focuses on supporting the development of candidacy documents required by the EITI Secretariat, and is administered by the Carter Center, rather than the US EITI team, as stipulated in the commitment text. [761]
  • In terms of peer exchanges, the USEITI team participated in the EITI Data Storytellers Bootcamp held on 23 February 2017 in Lima, Peru. [762] The goal of the bootcamp was to share experiences and work together to put EITI data to use. [763] According to the Department of the Interior, the USEITI team also actively engaged with Mexico in Mexico City to discuss open source code, the technology behind the USEITI open data portal, the Natural Resources Revenue Data portal, and the USEITI process of user-centered design and usability testing. [764]
  • It is unclear what kind of user-centered data portal design and development was envisioned by the commitment. The Department of the Interior pointed to the development of the US EITI data portal and the Natural Resources Revenue Data Portal, but these do not seem to fall under this commitment’s overall objective of improving capacity building abroad. Still, it is worth noting that the USEITI team presented on user-centered design and usability testing at the EITI bootcamp described above. [765]
  • The IRM researcher was unable to verify whether or not the US EITI had selected and deployed a new platform for virtual communications, leaving this milestone not started.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

Given the little evidence of implementation, the IRM researcher was unable to observe any clear changes in government practice as a result of this commitment. Moreover, as explained above, this commitment was weakly relevant to open government in the United States to begin with. It is worth mentioning that the US government officially withdrew as an EITI Implementing Country in November 2017. [766] While this represents a clear regression as it relates to the implementation of the EITI standard domestically, it is unclear if it will affect the kind of foreign support featured in this commitment. In the official withdrawal letter, the US government affirmed that it would continue to serve as an EITI Supporting Country that would promote good governance and support country-level EITI implementation. [767] For more details about this development, please see the analysis in this report corresponding to Commitment 31. Transparency of Extractive Industries.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing, the US government had not published its fourth national action plan, so it is unclear if this commitment will be carried forward. In the future, the government should draft a more precise series of milestones with clear and measurable activities before moving forward with any of the activities specified in the commitment text.

[760] EITI Implementing Country Sub-Constituency. “Guidelines for Internal Coordination and Information-Sharing,.” February 2016, https://eiti.org/sites/default/files/documents/document/2016_03_en_final_implementing_country_sub-constituency_guidelines.pdf

[761] Stabroek News. “$62.3M US gov’t grant to aid Guyana’s EITI candidacy.” 8 October 2016.https://www.stabroeknews.com/2016/news/stories/10/08/62-3m-us-govt-grant-aid-guyanas-eiti-candidacy/

[762] “EITI Data Storytelling Bootcamp,” EITI, 23 February 2016, https://eiti.org/event/eiti-data-storytelling-bootcamp, consulted 8 May 2018.

[763] Ibid.

[764] The IRM received this information in a comment submitted by the Department of the Interior during the pre-publication review of this report. The comment was received via e-mail on 30 April 2018.

[765] “Meeting Summary,” USEITI Implementation Subcommittee, 10 February 2016, https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/Implementation%20Subcommittee%20Meeting%20Summary_02-10-16.pdf, consulted 8 May 2018.

[766] US Department of the Interior Office of Natural Resources Revenue. “Letter to the Chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Board.” 2 November 2017. https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/eiti_withdraw.pdf. Consulted 18 March 2018.

[767] Ibid.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership