By Dianna Melrose, British High Commissioner with Alexandre Leveque, Canadian High Commissioner
This year the United Kingdom holds the Presidency of the G8. Prime Minister David Cameron has put greater transparency, freer trade and fairer taxes at the centre of the G8 agenda. These are all critical issues for global prosperity, jobs and sustainable development.
In the run up to the G8 Summit to be held in Loch Erne in Northern Ireland on June 17-18, a G8 Trade, Tax and Transparency event took place in London on Saturday June 15. The event, hosted by the Prime Minister, brought together African heads of government, G8, company and civil society representatives to agree practical action.
President Kikwete, accompanied by Minister for Lands Professor Anna Tibaijuka and Minister for Energy and Minerals Professor Sospeter Muhongo, participated in the launch of two new G8-Tanzania Transparency Partnerships on Lands and Extractives. Both partnerships are designed to increase transparency and accountability in the management and use of natural resources to ensure that the benefits are widely shared amongst all Tanzanian citizens.
To implement the Partnership Agreements, the G8, led by Canada on Extractives Transparency and by the UK on Lands Transparency, will work closely with the Tanzanian Government, other development partners, the private sector and civil society organisations.
The G8-Tanzania Land Transparency partnership aims to strengthen the security of tenure rights of all land holders, including women and other vulnerable groups, and improve transparency over large scale land deals. By creating accountable, transparent and efficient land administration, the partnership is also designed to attract increased foreign and national private sector investment to stimulate economic growth and poverty reduction.
Evidence from around the world shows that surveying and titling land, strengthening tenure rights, and ensuring transparency and accountability over land administration all contribute to positive development outcomes. The benefits include higher levels of productive investment by large farmers and smallholders alike, leading to increased agricultural output and higher rural incomes. Conversely, lack of transparency around land deals creates space for corruption. It can undermine the livelihoods of local communities, increase conflict over land, and act as a barrier to responsible investors.
To achieve the new Land Transparency Partnership objective of transparency over land tenure and land governance, a new Land Tenure Unit will be set up by the Government of Tanzania with support from development partners. Its initial priorities will include publishing information on large-scale land deals and setting up a multi-stakeholder forum for policy dialogue. The Land Tenure Unit will provide advice on evolving land policy, focussed on increasing transparency, investor confidence and developing models for better benefit-sharing from investment, including with vulnerable groups. It will design a road map coordinating and building on all current and planned land-related activities, such as setting up a coordinated land registry. The road map will include plans for accelerated land titling, underpinned by surveying and mapping to support participatory land use planning and identify land for investment. It will clarify the role of different government institutions, provide guidance for investors, information to local communities and identify ways of strengthening dispute resolution. It will raise awareness amongst the different stakeholders in the land sector of their rights, roles and responsibilities and build in stakeholder participation and consultation
The G8-Tanzania Partnership on Transparency in the Extractives Sector, on which Canada leads for the G8, is based on a shared recognition that transparency is essential to ensuring that natural resources support sustainable national development. In the words of Canada’s Prime Minister Harper last week: “the responsible and transparent management of natural resources is an important driver of sustainable economic growth in developing countries.” Along with effective regulation and management of the extractives sector, transparency helps to attract responsible investment and transform huge potential revenues from oil, gas and mining into economic growth, jobs and benefits for all Tanzanian citizens.
As a member of the Extractives Sector Transparency Initiative (EITI), Tanzania has taken important steps to promote transparency and accountability in the sector and achieved EITI compliant status in December 2012. The Tanzanian Government has stated its commitment to maintaining EITI compliance and deepening the implementation of EITI standards, including enhanced standards approved at the Global EITI Conference in Sydney in May 2013.
This G8-Tanzania Partnership will build on progress to date on the Tanzania Extractives Sector Transparency Initiative (TEITI) to strengthen transparency by increasing public access to comprehensive, timely and quality information on extractive sector revenues, and greater disclosure of revenue allocation and spending. It will work on wider information disclosure including of contracts. The Partnership aims to increase accountability over management of resources, reduce corruption and create a better business environment. To reduce social and political tensions, the revenues generated by extractive industries will need to be seen to be channelled into productive investments for inclusive economic development and meeting priority social needs.
UK and Canadian extractives companies, along with other responsible investors, welcome greater transparency to help ensure the benefits of resource wealth are widely shared. Companies and civil society organisations who are members of the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TEITI) Multi Stakeholder Group and others have indicated their willingness to be part of the new Tanzania/G8 Partnership.
These two G8 partnerships on Extractives Transparency and Lands Transparency will have counterparts in other countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But Tanzania stands out as the only country in Africa with two partnerships, building on the enthusiastic response of the President, civil society organisations and companies. The UK and Canada are committed to working with all our partners to ensure these new Partnerships deliver tangible benefits to Tanzanian people.
Dianna Melrose, British High Commissioner with Alexandre Leveque, Canadian High Commissioner