4 July 2012
Campaigners are urging Cyprus not to lose sight of EU legislation to improve transparency, as the island nation assumes the Presidency of the European Union this week.
Tearfund says the next six months are vital if the new laws are to have real effect in the extractives sector, stressing that Cyprus has the both the opportunity and the responsibility to take a lead and ensure that the detail isn’t diluted.
European leaders are expected to agree new legislation that requires mining, oil and gas companies to publish what they pay for all natural resources.
'Corruption costs Africa around £3,000 a second. A continent rich in natural resources,' says Paul Cook, Tearfund Advocacy Director. 'There is an opportunity to reverse this injustice if new legislation leads to financial information that is accessible for the poorest communities.
'Tearfund’s Unearth the Truth campaign is keeping the pressure on European leaders to ensure industry lobbyists don’t get their way to stop these laws, or water them down. If EU legislation doesn’t shine a light on the deals signed it will let down the people who need this to hold their own governments to account on how the money from contracts is spent.'
Cyprus, in its role of President of the European Union, has responsibility for steering the negotiations on EU transparency laws. Tearfund has written to the Cypriot High commissioner in London, urging his government to do all it can to ensure European leaders champion transparency and unearth the truth on corruption.
'They need to be aware of the fairer deal from natural resources that people deserve,' adds Paul. 'The Cypriot presidency can lead Europe to an outcome that will ultimately provide legitimate benefit – public services such as clean water, health care and education – to the world’s poorest communities.'
Tearfund believes this money should be spent releasing the world’s poorest people from poverty; it’s why the Unearth the Truth campaign has drawn wide support from more than 20,000 people and churches globally. Together they are putting pressure on European leaders, including the UK government, to adopt robust laws that tackle corruption by ensuring greater transparency in the oil, mining and gas sectors.
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Picture available - credit: Andy Wilson/Tearfund
Outside a gallery event in Westminster marking the EU Presidency handover, Unearth the Truth
campaigners try to explain the real picture
Tearfund's campaign at a glance: www.tearfund.org/unearththetruth-illustration
For further information contact Jonathan Spencer on 07767 473516 or 020 8943 7901 (out of hours call 07710 573749).
Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency building a global network of local churches to help eradicate poverty. Tearfund is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee.