The World is Watching – Tearfund's Policy Blog

November 13, 2012 By Andy Wilson

Today Tearfund’s Unearth the Truth campaign has joined forces with Friends of the Earth and Publish What You Pay members to publish an advert in the Financial Times reminding European leader that the world is watching.

Publish What You Pay advert appearing in the Financial Times 13 Nov 2012

The world is watching to see if the European Union will seize this historic opportunity[1] to pass new transparency laws for oil, gas and mining companies. If these laws are passed citizens will be able to track key financial information; a significant first step in empowering them in holding their governments to account on how that money is spent.

Strong rules have already been passed in the United States through section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

It is now time for Europe to play its part and we need rules which are at least as strong as those in the US. This means project by project reporting, “project” defined as a legal agreement, a low disclosure threshold, and no reporting exemptions for countries.

But this EU law is still under pressure from industry lobbyists. Some companies want loopholes in the legislation to allow country governments to continue secretive relationships with companies.

We need a law that empowers poorer communities to know how much their leaders are making from oil, gas and mining contracts in their country.

The world is watching.

We hope and pray that European leaders deliver.

[1] On Wednesday, ambassadors from EU member states will meet to agree their position before continuing crucial negotiations with the European Parliament later this month. It is possible a deal will be reached by the end of the year.