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First-ever Board Meeting of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative

(New York, 7 December 2006) - Today, the UN Global Compact Office hosted the first-ever Board meeting of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI is a coalition of governments, companies, NGOs, investors and international organisations tackling corruption in the oil, gas and mineral extraction sectors.  Established in 2002, it seeks to overcome the so called “resource curse” in the extractive sector by encouraging members to become more accountable through the full publication and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining activities.

The EITI’s efforts in the extractive sector are an important step in the Global Compacts’ goal to promote transparency in all business transactions, expressed in its tenth principle: “Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.” Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact said in his welcome remarks of the EITI Board meeting: “We encourage our business participants in the extractive sector to use this initiative as an implementation tool. It is an important step in our overall goal to eradicate corruption in all business transactions.”

During the meeting, the EITI Board decided that Oslo would be the headquarters for its new Secretariat. Setting up the Secretariat is critical in establishing EITI as the global yardstick for monitoring revenues from the oil, gas and mining sectors.

Countries and companies currently implementing the EITI include Azerbaijan, Ghana, Nigeria, Timor Leste, Republic of Congo, Kyrgyzstan, Sao Tome & Principe, Sierra Leone, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Niger, Peru, Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Mongolia and Mali, Anglo American, BP, Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, and Rio Tinto. Recently more countries including Yemen, Madagascar, Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire have committed to join. EITI is also supported by Transparency International, Open Society Institute, Revenue Watch and the Publish What You Pay Coalition.

More than three and a half billion people live in countries rich in oil, gas or minerals. These natural resources provide great opportunities to improve the lives of poor people but there are problems. Bad management and lack of openness undermines these opportunities and can lead to poverty, conflict and corruption. Improving transparency of the revenues generated by these resources makes it more likely that all citizens benefit from them.

For additional information about the EITI, visit www.eitransparency.org or contact:

Mr Yasser Mehmood
UK Government, Department for International Development
Press Office
+44 20 7023 0620

Mr Jonas Moberg
Advisor to EITI Board Chairman
+44 795 068 4444

For information about the UN Global Compact, please contact:

Ms Eleonore Kopera
Communications and Public Affairs Manager
UN Global Compact Office
New York
+1 212 963 3866