On Friday 26 August, 2005, the inaugural meeting of the International Advisory Group (IAG) to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative was held at Lancaster House, London. Mr. Samir Sharifov, the Executive Director of the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Chairman of the EITI National Committee and member of the IAG represented Azerbaijan government at the meeting.
Convened under the Chairman, Mr. Peter Eigen (Chairman, Transparency International) the members of the IAG discussed the visions of the future of EITI, incentives for implementing EITI, validation of the EITI implementation and governance of the Initiative. Senior representatives of the IAG member countries including, Larry Greenwood, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US State Department, Mr. Leiv Lunde, State Secretary for International Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Oby Ezekwesili, Minister of Solid Minerals Development of Nigeria and the representatives of the Department of International Department of United Kingdom, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, World Bank, IMF, Open Society Institute, Chevron, BP and non-governmental organizations participated at the meeting.
Mr. Sharifov informed the meeting participants about current stage of the EITI implementation process in Azerbaijan, where the government has already disclosed two EITI reports. He outlined that unlike the other countries which also joined EITI, the Government of Azerbaijan together with local and foreign extractive companies (oil and gas) was going to prepare and make public the third EITI report. Mr. Sharifov underlined that few of 20 countries, which joined EITI after announcement of EITI by British Prime Minister Tony Blair on June 17, 2003 London conference, has implemented the Initiative. Chairman of the National Committee stressed that Azerbaijan Government encourages practical works for realization of EITI worldwide. Mr. Sharifov outlined that Azerbaijan has already shared its EITI implementation experience with Kazakhstan and was ready to help other countries joining EITI.
It was stated at the meeting that Azerbaijan was playing an important role in informing and promoting transparency in the region. Graham Baxter of BP and others hailed successful implementation of EITI in Azerbaijan.
The IAG is agrred to meet next on 21 October 2005 in Washington. Provisional dates for future meetings are February 16 in Abuja and 5 April in Baku.
The EITI London Conference March 17, 2005 established an IAG to guide the further work of the International EITI Secretariat on defining and refining proposals on the future of the EITI. IAG consists of senior representatives from countries implementing EITI, companies, NGOs, and donors. It is supported by a Secretariat based in the Department for International Development.