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CSOs Committed to effective participation in the SLEITI Process

Civil society organizations (CSOs) working around natural resource governance have committed themselves to effectively engage in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Sierra Leone- the global standard for the good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources. 

The CSO representatives were responding to a call by the Minister of State-Vice President's Office, Frances Piagie Alghali, also Chairperson of the Multi-stakeholder Group (MSG) of the Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative ( SLEITI), who urged them to come up with two proposals that will significantly "strengthened civil society representation on the SLEITI MSG beyond that provided by the National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives (NACE); and for effective participation in the EITI process in order to address the 2018 SLEITI Validation corrective actions."

Madam Alghali made this call during a half-day orientation workshop organised by the Office of the Vice President and SLEITI Secretariat with heads of civil society organizations of national character working on natural resource governance transparency, including economic and human rights issues. 

"The objective of the this consultation meeting is for CSOs to discuss ways on how to address implementation challenges and improve coordination within the constituency, as well as address the corrective actions emanating from the 2018 SLEITI Validation report," she said. 

As the most senior political head on the SLEITI MSG, Madam Alghali reiterated government's commitment in ensuring that the EITI process is on a good footing, adding:"there is need to strengthen civil society engagement in the process beyond the MSG platform." She said not all CSOs will eventually serve on the MSG but however, the role of those presently on the Board is to enable effective CSO participation through engagement and dissemination of information to the broader CSO constituency involved in extractive industries governance. 

In order to fully and effectively engage in the process, Madam Alghali called on CSOs to familiarize itself with the EITI Requirements and to ask necessary questions including interrogating SLEITI reporting against the EITI Standard. She expressed optimism that through CSO and government engagement, the requirement on sub-national payments among others will be addressed, including promoting effective governance of the extractive sector to stimulate sustainable economic growth in the country. 

Lead facilitator Mina Horace's presentation was explicit on the EITI Validation corrective action related to CSO engagements in the EITI process. Among other things, she informed participants that the EITI Board agreed that Sierra Leone has achieved meaningful progress overall in EITI implementation. Despite the progress made, she said that the EITI established 14 corrective actions to be addressed before 17 December 2020. One of the corrective actions states that "all interested civil society stakeholders must be able to fully, actively and effectively engaged in the EITI Process; that the constituency may wish to formalize further CSO engagement in the EITI Process; and strengthen coordination between MSG members and the broader constituency..."

Following lengthy deliberations, CSOs committed to effectively participate in the EITI process pending further consultations any time soon in order to respond to the call that will address the EITI Board's corrective actions including improving their representation on the SLEITI MSG. They called on the government, through the Minister of State, to continue such laudable consultations and help them secure funding for improved capacity building. 

On be half of the SLEITI MSG, the Program Manager Mohamed Baimba Koroma gave an overview of upcoming activities during his closing remark. He said that the SLEITI Secretariat has scheduled to commence work on the production of the 2019 EITI reporting process for publication by 31st December 2020; the dissemination of the 2017 and 2018 reports' findings and recommendations; and a feasibility study in mainstreaming EITI requirements in government and company systems. 

The meeting attracted prominent CSOs including Green Scenery, Network Movement for Justice and Development, Human Rights Defenders Network, Women on Mining and Extractives, Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Transparency International Sierra Leone, and Centre for Democracy and Human Rights.

 

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