16, May, 2013

Mexico: A Moment of Opportunity – Increasing Transparency and Accountability in the Extractive Industries

Mexico’s oil and mining sectors are highly significant sources of economic development for the country with profound impact on the daily lives of the nation’s people. It is therefore crucial to have timely, comprehensive information that allows citizens to hold the government and companies accountable.

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Mexico’s extractive industry plays a significant role both domestically and internationally. The oil and mining sectors have accounted for an average of about 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) over the past decade. Oil revenue represents a third of public sector income, and 25 percent of the country is currently being exploited or explored by private mining companies. Mexico contributes approximately 2.4 percent of total world mining production. Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the country’s major state-owned oil company, ranks fourth globally in oil production.

During the past 10 years, Mexico has undertaken several reforms that have allowed it to increase transparency and accountability in the extractive industries. However, there is room for improvement, especially in the mining sector, which is being developed by private companies.

Comprehensive, timely and detailed information about the country’s oil and mining industries is a fundamental factor in holding companies and the government accountable. This document proposes several strategies to strengthen and create transparency and accountability mechanisms in oil and mining, and it identifies specific opportunities and possible champions to promote them.

The first is to advocate for the inclusion of transparency in the mining sector and the adoption of the Extraction Industries Transparency Intiative (EITI) into the Mexican government’s commitments to the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The second is to advocate broadening the spectrum of the discussion about transparency in extractive industries during the G20 meeting.

An opportunity exists to promote a transparency agenda among civil society organizations (CSOs). Due to the complexity of Mexico’s extractive sectors, collaboration between CSOs interested in reform will be critical. One important way to improve their effectiveness would be to create a coalition of CSOs with diverse agendas, structured in such a way as to encourage collaboration and contributions from each according to their expertise.

One roadblock to such collaboration may be the lack of information on how common aims might be jointly achieved. This could be overcome in part by illustrating how broad transparency helps individual organizations achieve their own specific agendas. For example, debate over the environmental impact of extractive industries usually occurs locally and within communities and thus fails to transcend to the national level. Many organizations working on these issues are grassroots and have a limited reach.

Mexico held presidential elections in the summer of 2012. In December, Enrique Peña Nieto was named the 57th president of Mexico. Neito’s election, along with the September elections of the legislature, present both opportunities and challenges for Mexico. Current strategies will have to be revised and new champions identified. Nevertheless, several ongoing international initiatives and key opportunities related to transparency combine to make this a moment of opportunity.

Author: Rocio Moreno
Orginal publication date: 2012
Publisher: Revenue Watch InstituteThe Transparency and Accountability Initiative

Click here to download the complete document in PDF format


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