EITI works for extractives transparency in Burkina Faso
Via the Business and Human Rights resource centre and Burkinabe news site lefaso.net (both in French) we bring you news of EITI's work in Burkina Faso to increase transparency in that country’s extractives sector.
The permanent secretariat of the Burkina Faso initiative for transparency in the extractive industries (SP/EITI-BF) is currently in the midst of a tour to publicise the contents of their third report to stakeholders. Last week they were hosted by Nantou mining and the town of Réo, from where this report comes.
A group of nearly 40 stakeholders including local councillors, personnel from Nantou and from the government, civil society representatives and local cultural and religious leaders attended a presentation on the contents of the report.
The deputy mayor of Réo, Mathieu Baki, set the tone by asking participants to "ask any questions related to mining in order to dispel prejudices and misinformation." Participants by all accounts engaged well, asking many questions, covering such diverse topics as the processes behind the compilation of the report; the methods for choosing the companies it covers; voluntary contributions from mining companies for the development of local communities; and compensation for environmental impact of the mining project.
EITI also gave a presentation on the work of the initiative, its objectives, and the process of Burkina Faso’s admission to the EITI. He reminded the audience that the primary concern of the EITI is what mining companies pay to the state, and explained how in this context, it prepares a report every year with an update on the relationship between tax payments made by the mining companies and the payments actually received by the State.
In an encouraging outcome for the push towards greater transparency nationally the participants expressed a wish for more such meetings.
Choice quotes (excuse our translation):
"This is a very commendable, timely initiative because there is an eruption of mining in our area, but there are many aspects [of it] that [local] people do not understand. So this is an opportunity for our representatives to learn about certain realities surrounding the extraction of minerals” - Mathieu Baki, first deputy mayor of Réo
"At this meeting, we saw a situation that was unclear become clear, and everyone understood. We accuse and gossip [about] whether it’s the mine that’s exploiting us, or the State, whoever’s in charge. Now everything is clear. EITI has done well to come and talk with us.” -Aimé Bassolé, local tailor
“…people attach great importance to the mining issue. This means that there is a demand for transparency in the management of financial resources from mines.” -employee of the Ministry of the Environment
All in all, a solid testament to the gains to be made from structured engagement with communities. We hope to be able to bring you news of more such initiatives from around the world as the industry matures.