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Faces of Open Government: Cielo Magno

Rostros de Gobierno Abierto: Isabel Moya Pérez

Cielo D. Magno|

Extractive transparency is a commitment popular amongst members of the partnership. In the Philippines, reformers are working to help increase mechanisms for good governance and sustainability in the extractives industry.

In this month’s issue of Faces of Open Government, Cielo D. Magno, Undersecretary for the Department of Finance’s Fiscal Policy and Monitoring Group, shares her insights on how openness can uniquely impact the extractives industry, women, and government.

To start us off, tell us about yourself and what you’re looking forward to this year. 

I look forward to seeing the operationalization of multi-stakeholder governance at the local level in the Philippines. For the past years, the world was monitoring the issues of red-tagging and shrinking civic space in the country. This is a big challenge for us but I am hopeful that the creation of more legitimate spaces for participation at the local and community levels will contribute to community empowerment and protection of community and environmental activists. The PH-EITI’s ambitious goal is to create and operationalize multistakeholder participation and governance at every level of the extractives value chain. I am hoping to see some of these happen this year. 

At the global level, we are beginning to think about a standard for transparency and accountability in the renewable energy sector. Hopefully, we will have something concrete before the end of the year. The principles of the Open Government Partnership will be helpful in mainstreaming good governance in the renewable energy sector. Creating legitimate spaces for the public to engage governments and the private sector and access to information are critical elements in building trust and establishing accountability

Imagine that you are sitting next to your younger self, just as you are about to start your career in economics and extractive transparency. What would you say to her?

I would tell her that economics is a tool that can be used to make the world a better place.  Extractive transparency is one of those areas where a degree in economics can be of great value. The economic lens raises important questions regarding mining extractives. One of these is the opportunity cost of mining extraction which we should also always consider when we are making a decision to mine or extract. As a civil society member engaging in EITI, my technical expertise helped me effectively to engage the other stakeholders in the sector.  

What is extractive transparency? How can it help improve extractive governance and impact the lives of citizens? 

Extractive transparency means that stakeholders, especially the communities, have the right to access all the necessary information to be able to make informed decisions regarding the extraction of minerals. It means being part of the decision-making process, knowing what decisions are being made, and being open to standards that can be used to guide decisions on extractions.  

Why and how did you advocate for the Philippine government to rejoin EITI?  Were there other advocacies linked to it? 

If the Philippines will pursue mining as a pillar for development, especially with the increase in demand for critical minerals,  we have to make sure that mechanisms for good governance are in place. The EITI is important because it does not only promote transparency in the extractive sector but creates opportunities for multistakeholder governance. It can serve as an oversight on the regulation and the operation of the extractive sector. It can create legitimate spaces for communities to hold government and companies accountable. We must be transparent on how licenses are awarded and who the beneficial owners of these licenses are.  We must have a genuine process of community consultation in getting the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous communities; a mechanism on how companies contribute to the community and overall economic development; and a mechanism to ensure the companies are complying with social and environmental regulations. Multi-stakeholder oversight is very important in operationalizing all of these and EITI sets the standards for that.

Why is it important to have a specific focus on women and gender issues in extractive governance? What can the open government community do to support those efforts?

There are impacts that are uniquely experienced by women in the extractive sector. At the community level, for example, since women are traditionally responsible for household work, the negative effects of mining on the water supply make women’s chores more challenging for them. Another example is prostitution. Mining activities also create demand for sex workers. They are subjected to the negative effects of prostitution, which include physical and mental health problems, violence, and social isolation. With respect to employment opportunities in the extractive sector, women are usually excluded from opportunities for decent work and are being discriminated against. Women bear the brunt of environmental and social disruptions. A gender lens will ensure that resource extraction must take into account the impact of extraction on the lives of women. Taking into account the impact of extractive operation and governance on gender. This acknowledges the unique impact of extractives in the sector and recognizes the importance of hearing their voices on issues related to extractives and creating legitimate spaces for them to participate in governance. OGP can help create those legitimate spaces for women to participate in decision-making and can make data/information available to inform policymakers on the plight of women in the extractive sector.

Comments (2)

Gladys Estela Riveros Rojas Reply

“Desarrollo económico general; y un mecanismo para garantizar que las empresas cumplan con las normas sociales y ambientales. La mujer (madre, hija, sobrina etcétera) es importante para un enfoque especifico, diferente donde exista apoyo, entendimiento, compensión, solidaridad equitativo y sobre todo ambiente saludable.

Josefa R. Pizon Reply

Organizing is an important element if we talked on extractive transparency and open government partnerships. Capacity exchange will matter if the affected sector really know the impact of destruction and disruptions in their lives. If the vulnerable sector is prioritizing their issues on food security and hunger, sometimes development related discussions are not in their interests.
For instance, if we talked about Sustainable Development Goals, how is accountability of the environment and climate change impacts taken account? How would be CSO engagement be meaningful? What mechanisms are in place so that CSOs are not only source of information but is expected to make a decision?

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