Tearfund welcomes measures to tackle corruption

Tearfund has welcomed a ruling by the US to increase transparency in global oil, gas and mining operations.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission ruling includes project by project reporting that requires companies to report all payments above $100,000.

Tearfund said the ruling was a positive step for the developing world and the fight against corruption.

Now it is looking for the European Union, which is currently drawing up new accounting and transparency directives, to follow America's lead.

Whilst welcoming the US ruling, Tearfund's head of public policy, Laura Taylor said the published information on company operations would empower communities to stand up to their local authorities and government in order to seek a better deal from the contract revenues.

Taylor explained: "This is a route to reduce poverty and vastly improve local services such as clean water, health care and education."

She said there was still some ambiguity over the definition of a mining or oil project that could "leave this open to industry interpretation with the risk of confusion".

The EU must build on the US government move, she said, by making sure the new legislation clearly defines a project.

“Resource-rich communities are often blighted by extractive company operations," she said.

"Many of the world’s poorest communities are literally living on top of natural resources, and yet they see little or no benefit from them. That’s why Tearfund is continuing to press the EU for watertight legislation, and we urge the UK Government to continue the leadership it has shown.

“The EU must grasp the nettle, making sure legislation is robust enough to make a real and lasting difference; one that tackles corruption, and allows companies globally to play a valuable part in this progress.”