28 April 2021, Juba—Key stakeholders committed to a series of joint actions during the first-ever convening of the concurrence in Juba on 28 April 2021 to advance South Sudan’s alignment to the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The meeting provided an overview of the steps South Sudan must take to achieve greater transparency and accountability required to grow the national extractives sector.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global standard for the good governance of oil, gas, and mineral resources. The standard provides a blueprint for transparency and accountability with a set of fixed principles and requirements. H.E. President Salva Kiir expressed South Sudan’s intention of applying to the EITI standard in 2011.
“By paying keen attention to the extractive industry and ensuring that the natural resources of South Sudan are managed prudently, the country will derive maximum financial benefits from our abundant resources and use these to fuel development In other sectors,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon. Ambassador Beatrice Khamisa Wani-Noah, who hosted the first EITI conference in Juba as part of the responsibility the ministry to speed up the joining of the initiative according to Article 184.108.40.206.11 read together with Annexure D on Chapter IV of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.
Hon. Ambassador Wani-Noah was joined in the conference by high-level government officials and members of the international community in South Sudan: Hon. Puot Kang Chuol, Minister of Petroleum; Hon. Athian Ding Athian, Minister of Trade and Industry; Hon. James Hoth Mai, Minister of Labor; Hon. Agok Makur, Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning; H.E. Christian Bader, Ambassador of the European Union; H.E. Joram Biswaro, Ambassador of the African Union; H.E. Marc Trouyet, Ambassador of France; Mr. Pal Klouman Bekken, Chargé d’Affairés of Embassy of Norway; and Samuel Doe, UNDP Resident Representative.
“Implementation of EITI can help reassure both the people of South Sudan and the international community of government’s commitment to transparency and accountability. It will encourage foreign direct investment, and it will help unlock South Sudan´s economic potential,” said Chargé d’Affairés Mr. Klouman, representing the Norwegian Ambassador to South Sudan at the event.
United Nations Development Programme’s Governance and Economic Support project (GEMS), with support from the Kingdom of Norway, is working with the Government of South Sudan to implement the EITI which will support transparency and accountability in the extractive industries sector; an activity under Chapter IV of the revitalised peace agreement.
“Good governance of natural resources is a part of cementing the social contract between the government and the people. The stability brought about by peace is important for the business community, as more stable conditions will enable more investment, trade and commerce across the country,” said UNDP Resident Representative Samuel Doe.
Mr. Bady Balde, the Deputy Executive Director of EITI and Director for Africa gave a presentation via virtual link: "A country intending to implement the EITI is required, within two and a half years, to: issue an unequivocal public statement of its intention to implement the EITI; appoint a senior individual to lead on the implementation; commit to work with civil society and companies; and establish a multi-stakeholder group to oversee implementation,'' he said.
Ministers, representatives of private sector, civil society, media, women, and youth leaders deliberated on how best and far South Sudan can benefit from joining the EITI. Several participants followed the conference virtually, including Embassies of South Sudan abroad. The panelist discussions, the closing remarks and the communique released after the conference recommended the following steps to be taken to speed up the process of joining the EITI:
- Increase awareness about the EITI and present the deliberations from the first conference to the governance cluster of RTGoNU, and onwards to the Council of Ministers.
- Seek guidance from the EITI Secretariat in Oslo, Norway, to offer technical assistance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to map the multi-stakeholder group.
- Enhance tripartite collaboration by the government, civil society, and business community to ensure that results of natural resources are seen by the people of South Sudan, including appropriate allocations to oil- and mineral-producing states/communities.