High Ranking Officials Advocate for Afghanistan’s Re-Validation in the EITI Standard

Today, the last of a four-day self-assessment and planning workshop for Afghanistan’s re-validation into the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Standard took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Amongst the participants were five parliamentarians from the Natural Resources and Environment Commission (NRC) and representatives of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP), including the Deputy Minister Wali Ullah Zadran. In attendance were also representatives from the Afghanistan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI), the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the Revenue Development Foundation (RDF), the World Bank, USAID, civil society, the private sector as well as two representatives from the EITI Secretariat Oslo. The Afghan-German Cooperation facilitated the workshop.

Deputy Minister Wali Ullah Zadran of MoMP said, ‘This joint pre-self-assessment event is a good opportunity to evaluate the progress which will lead to better preparations for the next validation process.’

The aim of the workshop was to determine Afghanistan’s readiness for re-validating its membership to the EITI standard in 2020. Afghanistan has implemented EITI since 2010. The EITI is a global standard for the good governance of a country’s oil, gas and mineral resources. To fulfil the EITI standard requirements, countries have to disclose information on their tax payments, licenses, contracts, production and other elements of natural resource extraction for transparency. At the recent Geneva Conference in November, President Ashraf Ghani emphasised the Afghan mining sector’s relevance and pointed out further steps where EITI can help support the governance of the sector.

EITI’s Validation Director Alex Gordy said, ‘This pre-validation self-assessment is timely to take stock of progress since Afghanistan’s first validation in January 2019 under the EITI Standard. There have been important efforts to improve disclosures related to the upstream mining, oil and gas sectors, including the launch of the MoMP’s Transparency Portal. The EITI International Secretariat looks forward to supporting Afghanistan’s preparations for its second validation in 2020.’

At the workshop, participants conducted a self-assessment against corrective actions identified by EITI and determined to what extent AEITI has addressed them. AEITI’s current status was then evaluated to see whether it meets the requirements for a re-validation according to the EITI Global Standard. If it does, this would enable AEITI to request re-validation in December 2019 or January 2020. Participants assessed AEITI progress in line with its Work and Action plans to identify barriers for activities that were not implemented in 2019. From this, comprehensive Work and Action plans for 2020 were prepared.

NRC Vice-Chairman, Haji Khan Mohammad Khan said, ‘The development of the mining sector can help Afghanistan become economically self-dependent. We hope that the new leadership of MoMP will work jointly with all stakeholders for positive changes in the sector.’

The workshop marked the follow up within the new phase of the Afghan-German Cooperation’s programme for promoting good governance in the Afghan extractive sector. It has been supporting AEITI to improve the governance of the sector since 2014. Among other activities, the programme conducts capacity development workshops for AEITI employees and supports Afghan participation in events organised by the EITI to improve transparency and good governance. Further, it technically assists the initiative on a regular basis when preparing documents such as the beneficial ownership disclosure roadmap and annual operational plan.

The programme Promoting Good Governance in the Extractive Sector in Afghanistan is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). To fully leverage the Afghan mining sector’s potential, the programme aims at increasing state revenues, promoting investment and fighting corruption in the sector. The project trains stakeholders to ensure that mining activities are carried out transparently and according to law as well as international health and environmental standards.