Carolus Tuah, Executive Director POKJA 30 (member of PWYP Indonesia , East Kalimantan Province)

It all begins from a grieve statement. President of Bantay Kita, Filomeno St. Ana III, looks upset when he tells of the struggle Bantay Kita is currently facing: Its two most difficult counterpart, government and extractive industry companies. Bantay Kita’s effort to pulls back the curtain over the revenue received by the government from extractive sector is like hitting an invisible wall. He even almost sounded jealous to other PWYP coalitions in other countries that already have information disclosure mechanism, like in Indonesia. However, he promised that Bantay We will never lose the spirit to continue push for information disclosure to be present in the country.

While PWYP International Director, Marinke Van Riet, has a slightly different stand. As she goes toward the podium, she put on a smile that looks highly cheerful. When she reach the podium, she holds up her left hand and showed the audience a small paper that has the words “extracting the truth” on top. It’s the PWYP’s CSO guidance that describes the 12 steps on how to reach information disclosure. No stopping there, she challenged the participants to also use the four strategies she called the four pillars, to make sure that transparency is useful not only for civil society but also benefitting the entire community. She then further mention that the 12 steps and the four pillars as part of PWYP strategy in in the Vision 20/20, which described in a short but inspiring phrase:  a world where all citizens benefit from their natural resources, today and tomorrow .

While, Bantay Kita National Coordinator, Cielo Magno, provide three most urgent issues CSO need to be aware of in terms of advocating for EI governance:

  1. CSOs should not be tempted to follow the government and company who believes that market is above everything. Dependence on the market in turn will dictate the government to fulfill the market demand instead of putting what’s best for its citizens.
  2. Extractive industries have a high influence in the formulation of legislation. Referring to Indonesian case, the reluctance of companies to comply with the recent raw minerals export ban resulted with the government half-heartedly enforcing the regulation in fear of losing revenue.
  3. That decentralization of political authority is one of the challenges faced by EITI implementation. CSOs are not only dealing only with companies and central governments, but also local politicians who deliberately concealing information in an effort to retain power and gaining personal benefit through corruption.

Magno ’s warning may not be the first time that comes to fellow PWYP activist. The warning is based on observation and research that she and Bantay Kita did. We should not forget that scientific research requires that we explore the evidence from the past to account for the proposition that is pronounced. While Van Riet offers a somewhat different challenge: that we need to always put high hopes. In building hopes, there is no requirement on looking for evidence but to simply put it as high as our reach and beyond.

That’s why, Van Riet’s smile seems always convenient to imagine, as convenient as having the Vision 20/20 in front of us or, maybe, to only put it in a standing shelves in PWYP office around the region. The choice is ours.