Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia shared its experience in using data for advocacy in the extractive industry in one of the parallel discussions of the PWYP Global Assembly Meeting in last January. On that occasion, PWYP Indonesia’s Program Manager Rizky Ananda shared the work of PWYP Indonesia coalition in carrying out data-driven advocacy on the area of spatial planning, beneficial ownership, and state revenue.

“Data is fundamental in advocacy. Even if the data needed is not available to the public, civil society could make its own data. That is what we did at PWYP Indonesia by utilizing drones to produce spatial data which become the main ammunition in conducting the advocacy on the spatial plan and the recognition of the customary forests in West Kalimantan Province,” explained Rizky.

Rizky continued, when the beneficial ownership discourse had not received much spotlight in Indonesia, PWYP Indonesia had mapped the coal mining corporate owners to identify the Politically Exposed Person (PEP) in 2015. The results of (limited) mapping at least showed a complex corporate structure and prone to be misused for tax avoidance. “This shows the urgency of beneficial ownership implementation in Indonesia, especially in the extractive sector, said Rizky.

Rizky also highlighted that currently, it is easy for the public to obtain the revenue data to the fiscal regime in the extractive sector as a positive impact of the growing transparency initiatives such as Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). “By utilizing publicly available data such as EITI data and company financial reports, we develop a financial model for copper mines in West Nusa Tenggara Province that was formerly managed by Newmont.”

“In a broader context, financial models can be used to project state revenues as one of the considerations for the extraction decisions as well as contract renegotiations to decide the provisions of the fiscal regime, such as taxation and royalties,” said Rizky.

Although it has led to massive revenue data openness, as raised by one of the participants, EITI has a downside in providing a timely data. The existing data today still has two year gaps.

Other speakers spoke at the session facilitated by the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN) were Norie Garcia from Bantay Kita (PWYP Philippines), Joyce Nyamukunda from PWYP Zimbabwe, and Alex Malden from Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI). Those three speakers shared how data become main modality to support local community in advocating their causes and rights.

“Data is critical for our work to help indigenous people groups in getting the best deal from mining operations in Philippine. As mandated by the government, extractive companies must make a payment to the indigenous people groups, at least 1% of revenue sharing fund. We also assist them to manage such fund for a better development,” said Norie.

One of the things that were highlighted in this discussion was how data/information was positioned as a tool to solve a problem. It is essential to reflect on “data/ information for what.”