In 2003, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) was launched as a voluntary multi-stakeholder initiative for the extractive industries, bringing together governments, industry and civil society. Its main objective has been to create a global transparency standard which allows light to be shed on all payments made by extractive-industry companies to governments of resource-rich developing countries, and to cross-check all revenues received by these governments from the industry. Thanks to robust international political backing as well as financial and technical support, the EITI has seen rapid expansion across Africa, and beyond to Asia and Latin America. Considerable gaps in coverage have nevertheless remained and for the EITI to become a truly global standard, emerging economies and industrialised countries will need to join as well.
The introduction of mandatory financial reporting requirements for extractive-industries companies listed in Hong Kong, the US and the EU as well as severe criticisms of major shortcomings in the EITI, such as its voluntary nature and limited focus on a small part of the value chain, have been the main drivers of its 2013 revision. Most assessments of the impact of the EITI concur that its major achievement has been to bring together stakeholders with radically differing interests, but that the degree of empowerment of civil society varies considerably across countries. The EITI has also facilitated broader reforms going beyond mere revenue transparency, albeit so far only in a limited number of EITI countries which stand out as pioneers. Overall, results to date have been uneven and partial.