Strengthening Revenue and Contract Transparency of IFIs in the Caucasus and Central Asia

A major focus of Revenue Watch's collaboration with the Bank Information Center (BIC) has been the effort to make revenues and contracts related to International Financial Institutions (IFI) projects more transparent. The first phase of this work advocated strong IFI commitments on transparency. Partially as a result of civil society pressure, IFIs introduced significant changes in policy, such as revisions related to the World Bank's Extractive Industry Review and the new energy policy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The second phase of BIC's work focused on monitoring and implementation of IFI commitments to greater transparency requirements for individual IFI projects and efforts by IFIs to build capacity and encourage transparency at the national level.

The efforts of civil society, in which BIC has played an important role, have contributed to significant improvements in policy, including revisions in the World Bank’s Extractive Industry Review, the IFC's Social and Environmental Sustainability Policy and the EBRD's Energy Policy.

In 2010, BIC plans to focus its efforts on revising the IFC Policy on Social and Environmental Sustainability and the IFC Performance Standards through advocacy, monitoring, research and organizing public participation throughout the 2010 review process. This project is part of ongoing work by Revenue Watch and BIC to influence current IFI policies and to monitor the commitments made thus far. Its primary objective was to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations by working with existing RWI partners in-country to better understand and influence the activities of IFIs towards revenue and contract transparency in the extractive industries. The work aims at reducing important gaps in current IFI disclosure policies and exposing the weaknesses in implementation of  IFI commitments on extractive industry transparency.

BIC is a unique agent in the revenue transparency movement. Their clear understanding and familiarity with these donor institutions gives them considerable expertise in the operational policies of IFIs, which can be translated into digestible advocacy efforts by local NGO movements.

For more information on the activities of BIC, please see www.bicusa.org/.