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Azerbaijan first country to be downgraded by EITI

By Loukia Gyftopoulou

Azerbaijan has become the first country to be downgraded from compliant to candidate status by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) following deep concerns about the country's stance against civil society involvement.

The downgrade means that Azerbaijan is no longer an active member of the initiative, however it is still considered part of the EITI and can regain compliant status if it implements corrective actions within 12 months.

The action came after 280 groups from 35 countries alerted the EITI on an unprecedented crackdown on civil independent organisations in the country and the EITI sent a validation team to Azerbaijan to monitor the situation, as reported by The Accountant late last year.

"Validation is an external, independent evaluation mechanism, undertaken by a validator procured by the international secretariat," the EITI standard read. "It is intended to provide all stakeholders with an impartial assessment of whether EITI implementation in a country is consistent with the EITI standard."

EITI secretariat head Jonas Moberg said that after completing the validation, the board found that a number of requirements relating to reporting and the functioning of national EITI commission were not met.

Azerbaijan was found compliant in 2009 against the old EITI rules and it's the first country to be validated against the revised 2013 standards.

"The fact that the society is not able to function as it should be has contributed to this decision - I don't think the fact that the rules have changed made a significant difference," Moberg said.

EITI chair Clare Short said: "There has been some progress in addressing our concerns, but further work is needed to ensure that civil society in Azerbaijan can participate in the EITI in a meaningful way."

Azerbaijan has 12 months to implement changes or it might face suspension.

Related article:

News update: EITI reconsiders Azerbaijan's compliance to its standard

 

 

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