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Goal to improve well-being of citizens

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, Aug. 29, 2011) – The Solomon Islands is determined to use its mineral resources to improve the well-being of its citizens and not lead to conflict.

The Solomon Islands have made a landmark decision by choosing to endorse the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, as a cornerstone of transparency in the management of the country's growing mining sector. Minister of Finance and Treasury Gordon Darcy Lilo made the announcement at the EITI regional conference hosted last week in East Timor.

Making the announcement, Lilo said, as a country emerging from conflict, Solomon Islands is, "determined to use its mineral resources to improve the well being of its citizens rather than to allow the resources become a source of future conflict."

With the endorsement of EITI, Solomon Islands now join 58 other countries in various stages of implementing EITI. Solomon Islands will now begin the process of gathering the government, operators, civil society and citizens to join the process of implementing EITI and validation to reach compliant status.

[PIR editor's note: The EITI is an agreement by governments, companies, civil society groups, investors and international organizations to use natural resources appropriately to help growth and decrease poverty. The EITI accomplishes this through verifying and publishing company payments and government revenues from natural resources, such as natural fuels and mining.]

EITI was first announced by Tony Blair, the then-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2002. Ghana, Nigeria and Azerbaijan piloted the EITI approach.

EITI increases transparency over payments by companies to governments and to government-linked entities, as well as transparency over revenues by those host country governments. The Chair of the EITI is Clare Short, former UK Secretary of State for International Development.

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