Journalist Workshop in Kabul – How to Report on the Afghan Extractive Sector

13.03.2019
Yesterday, a workshop for journalists and representatives from Civil Society Organisations took place at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) in Kabul. In total, more than 20 people participated. The activity put particular emphasis on the Afghan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI) and the MoMP’s online transparency portal. It aimed at drawing journalists’ attention to the Afghan mining sector. The MoMP, the Afghan-German Cooperation and AEITI facilitated the workshop.

At the workshop, AEITI’s country director, Mr Hashmatullah Sayes, emphasised, ‘Making data accessible through the Online Transparency Portal is the only realistic way for Afghanistan to fully comply with the EITI standard.’

Since 2018, the database has been available under https://afghanistan.revenuedev.org. It provides up-to-date and accurate data on mining licenses, their owners, related payments and production. The data stems directly from the MoMP’s internal systems such as the Mining Cadastre Administration System that keeps track of the location and attributes of mining licenses.

The Director of the MoMP’s Cadastre Directorate, Mr Qaseemullah Qaderi, commented, ‘The information on the portal is accurate. It will help civil society, journalists and the public to have the data available anywhere at any time.’ The MoMP’s spokesperson, Mr Abdulqadir Mutfi, added, ‘This data source will assist any Afghan regulatory authority involved in mining issues as well.’

The event aimed at increasing frequency and quality of databased reporting on the Afghan mining sector by drawing attention towards the database and training journalists on how to use it. Increased media coverage of Afghanistan’s mining sector shall put the public in a position to hold the government accountable for its sector policies and request concrete statements and actions.

Since applying for Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) membership in 2010, the Afghan government, the private sector and civil society are committed to the EITI standard. This global standard for governing national oil, gas and mineral resources requires member countries to disclose information on tax payments, licenses, contracts, production and other key elements of natural resource extraction. A well-developed mining sector and transparent extraction of mineral resources are crucial for Afghanistan’s sustainable economic development.

The programme Promoting Good Governance in the Extractive Sector in Afghanistan is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). To fully leverage the Afghan mining sector’s potential, the programme aims at increasing state revenues, promoting investment and fighting corruption in the sector. The project trains stakeholders to ensure that mining activities are carried out transparently and according to law as well as international health and environmental standards. Among other activities, the project has implemented 26 training courses on topics such as mine planning, mining economics and mining supervision for more than 380 mining inspectors and other employees at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) and provincial authorities since 2014. At the same time, the programme has financed 13 scholarships for Afghan women to promote female participation in the sector. The programme further supports the Afghan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI) to promote transparency and fight corruption.

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