Jakarta – On November 14, 2022, Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia invited Dr. Hasrul Hanif, Lecturer at the Department of Politics and Government FISIPOL UGM and Political and Government Researcher, as a resource person in the PWYP Knowledge Forum (PKF). In this forum, he elaborated on his dissertation at the Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, UK, namely “Extractives Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI) and Democratic Governance in Indonesia.” PKF is a discussion and knowledge-sharing forum regularly organized by the PWYP Indonesia coalition to increase understanding and capacity and develop a public discourse on current issues, topics, and policies in the spotlight.

Hanif started with an extensive and skeptical question; is EITI a significant structure in answering the problem of challenges to extractive resource governance in Indonesia? This skepticism does not only exist in Indonesia but also in several countries around the world. In addition, there is another skepticism regarding transparency, where transparency in EITI itself is a meeting point agreed upon by members of the multi-stakeholder forum. There is criticism in the form of procedural entrapment, and there is a missing link that assumes a direct relationship between “providing information” and “empowering.” In addition, Hanif also conveyed that global political dynamics and geopolitical structures can significantly affect the extent of EITI’s role in domestic politics in Indonesia.

In its journey, EITI emerges with distinctive characteristics. First, EITI   becomes the game’s rules that must be obeyed, whereas a more complex scheme sees several principles set, and countries can achieve these principles. However, the conduct might become complicated when they have to meet uniform standards. Secondly, the role of the MSG (Multi-Stakeholder Group) is vital, seen from its representation, independent nature, and collective work in collaboration and cooperation. But what is interesting is that in EITI Indonesia, politicians do not play an essential role in the MSG, he added. 

His research found that EITI does admit to being trapped in the legal context and variations of procedures but ignores the political power relations in the issue of natural resource governance. However, this context of transparency then also becomes the side of a double-edged knife, which will be demanded to be opened continuously. On the other hand, EITI implies a natural resource governance reform movement even though the relationship is more “conceptual” and individual than institutional. But in the end, it raises a statement, is EITI Indonesia still relevant in the future in expanding issues and interests for the government and CSOs, as well as changing public communication patterns? This must be answered together by all activists of natural resource governance in Indonesia.

Author: Raudatul Jannah
Reviewer: Aryanto Nugroho