Civil Society Presented Attempt to Publicise Soil Management Contracts within EITI in International Workshop

Civil Society Presented Attempt to Publicise Soil Management Contracts within EITI in International Workshop

On 18 May, “Contract Transparency: How civil society is making use of the data from extractive companies” peer learning workshop was held, which was organized by the International Secretariat of the EITI.

The aim of the workshop was to involve civil society members from Armenia, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste to share their experience of using oil, gas, and mining contract data as a civil society effort to improve the management of the mining industry in these countries. Countries whose governments have taken significant initiatives by selecting mining contracts, licenses, and agreements have been selected and published on publicly available websites.

The aim of the workshop was to engage civil society members from Armenia, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Timor Leste to share their experiences using oil, gas, and mining contract data as a civil society effort to improve the management of the extractive industry in these countries. Countries whose governments have taken significant initiatives by making mining contracts, licenses, and agreements publicly available on the websites have been selected.
From Armenia, the workshop was attended by Lusine Tovmasyan, Head of RA EITI Secretariat, Hasmik Manukyan, RA EITI Expert, member of the Civil Society Faction of RA EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group, Director of Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center NGO Sona Ayvazyan, President of EcoRight NGO Arthur Grigoryan,  Marie Chakryan - President of Public Awareness Monitoring Center NGO, Inga Zarafyan - President of EcoLur Informational NGO, Roza Julhakyan - Expert of EcoLur Informational NGO, Vice President of the EcoLur Informational NGO, Alternative Member of the Civil Society Faction of EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group member Victoria Burnazyan.

The EITI International Secretariat asked questions to civil society representatives regarding the further use and analysis of the data. Victoria Burnazyan answered the questions on behalf of the participating Armenian NGOs “ We have studied the extractive contracts of the metallic mining companies. We have prepared information leaflets concerning the metallic mining companies activities in the frame of EITI, socio-economic, environmental, mines closure obligations which the companies have taken by the extractive contracts. We have distributed information leaflets in the affected communities, we have provided them to the local self-governments, residents, and NGOs, and have collected suggestions from them.
The main suggestions are:
1.     Affected communities should participate in the process of concluding extractive contracts.
2.     Certain criteria to be developed, on the basis of which the socio-economic assistance of the extractive contract should be determined and the real needs of the community will take into account.
3.     All contracts must have applications for socio-economic support and mine closure.
4.      Affected communities should be aware of this process and their opinion should be taken into account.

In order to promote these suggestions, it is necessary to work hard to have a constructive dialog with the responsible state bodies and business and to manage to reach the decisions based on these proposals,” Victoria Burnazyan outlined.

Victoria Burnazyan stressed the need to study soil management contracts for non-metallic mines. “We have studied very well the contracts of metallic mines, but about 360 non-metallic mines’ contracts need to be studied, which are also published. More than half of the contracts do not have socio-economic assistance appendixes, which is also a requirement of the law. It is necessary to work so that all contracts to have those appendixes and to have public control over their fulfillment,” she outlined.
Referring to the experience of partner countries and their application in Armenia, she noted that the experience of conducting trainings in communities can be applied in Armenia. It is also necessary for contracts to be technically accessible for use, for example, to be able to see their connection to other contracts and documents so that users can easily access the documents and perform the analysis. According to Victoria Burnazyan, we need technical and financial support, exchange of the best practices to be able to realize programs for increasing the transparency and accountability of the mining industry.”

May 20, 2022 at 13:29