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Myanmar Moving Towards The EITI

Myanmar is preparing to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI), an international standard that ensures transparency around countries’ oil, gas and mineral resources.

The matter was discussed when Myanmar President U Thein Sein met with visiting Chair of the EITI Board Clare Short in Nay Pyi Taw last week.

Myanmar aims to apply for EITI candidature in the next couple of months, the EITI International Secretariat said.

President Thein Sein acknowledged the need for better governance of Myanmar’s natural resource wealth.

He said: “We want to use the EITI to ensure that these resources are developed and managed in a transparent manner for the sustainable benefit of our people.

“Political and economic reforms are an important part of the democratisation process. Becoming a member of the EITI will be a tangible result of these reforms.”

In December last year, President Thein Sein publicly announced that Myanmar would implement the EITI and appointed U Soe Thane, minister for the President’s Office, to lead the EITI process in the country. 

Two important steps remain to be completed before Myanmar can submit its EITI application.

The first is to form a multi-stakeholder group. The EITI secretariat said important progress was made at a EITI multi-stakeholder consultation meeting in Nay Pyi Taw last week when some fifty representatives from government, industry and civil society met to discuss the process for nominating members to Myanmar’s EITI multi-stakeholder group.

“This first multi-stakeholder meeting is an important milestone for the EITI process in Myanmar and the openness of the discussions is a reflection that the transition towards democracy has come a long way,” Clare said.

The second step is for the multi-stakeholder group to develop a workplan that sets out the objectives for EITI implementation in Myanmar, including what sectors to be covered and what the first EITI report should look like.

Topics such as contract transparency, beneficial ownership and extension to the hydropower and forestry sectors were also discussed in the meeting.

Clare called on stakeholders to maintain an ambitious long-term EITI agenda, but reminded participants that implementation will not be easy and encouraged a step by step approach.

EITI is developed and overseen by a coalition of governments, companies, civil society, investors and international organisations. All of these groups are represented on the EITI Board which is supported by the EITI International Secretariat.

The EITI Standard has a robust yet flexible methodology, which countries adopt to address the specific issues they are facing. When implemented, the EITI ensures more transparency in how the country’s natural resources are governed, and full disclosure of government revenues from its extractive sector.

The EITI International Secretariat is located in Oslo, Norway and is headed by Swedish former diplomat Jonas Moberg.

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