After the German federal cabinet took the decision to go ahead with Germany’s EITI candidacy in July 2014, a multi-stakeholder group (MSG), chaired by Wolfgang Scheremet, head of the industrial policy department within the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, was set up in March 2015 to prepare for EITI candidacy.
The EITI was first established in 2003 as a voluntary multi-stakeholder initiative to increase transparency in the raw materials sector. The transparent utilisation of revenue from raw materials is an important precondition for the sustainable development of producer countries. The aim of the initiative is allow the respective local civil society to gain better control of its funds by disclosing cash flows associated with raw material transactions. The initiative currently includes 27 EITI compliant countries and 17 candidate countries. In July 2014, the German federal cabinet decided it would not only support the EITI politically and financially, but would become a member of the initiative itself. This will result in the introduction of disclosure requirements for German companies operating in raw materials extraction.
German industry expressly supports the move to increase transparency in the raw materials sector. German mining law is considered a “best practice” example for the approval of mining projects, with corruption in the domestic raw materials sector practically non-existent. However, Germany’s EITI candidacy sends an important political message to other countries that are rich in raw materials to likewise join the transparency initiative.
The MSG consists of five representatives each from the government, industry and civil society. They are tasked with setting up a schedule in the course of the next few months for EITI implementation in Germany. This requires a consensus between the three stakeholder groups on the objectives and scope of application of the EITI in Germany (“D-EITI”). The MSG therefore has a significant influence on the structuring of EITI reporting standards in Germany.
The two umbrella organisations, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), are both represented in the MSG and will coordinate industry’s positioning within the EITI process. As part of the inaugural meeting, an agenda and time schedule were decided for the EITI candidacy. The aim is to be able to submit an official application for EITI candidate status by the end of 2015. A working group was established to prepare for the discussion within the MSG on the objectives and scope of application of D-EITI. The group held its first meeting in mid-May 2015.