Rustad, Siri A., Philippe Le Billon and Päivi Lujala 2017. Resources Policy 51(1): 151-162.
Launched in 2003, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has become a global standard for transparency in extractive sectors. Yet, there remains much debate over the success of the EITI. In this article, we establish a conceptual categorization of goals for organizations like the EITI, systematically identify the various goals associated with the EITI, and then examine empirical evidence to evaluate its specific achievements. We find that the EITI has been most successful in reaching its institutional goals, notably by becoming a recognized brand and consolidating transparency as a global norm. The EITI has been fairly successful in reaching some of the operational goals, such as setting up standards for auditing, reporting, and civil society involvement in multi-stakeholder groups. Whether the EITI has had an impact on developmental goals remains an open question as it is challenging to identify the correct measurements for impact and many evaluations assess goals that are over-inflated compared to what the initiative formally seeks to achieve. We conclude that any evaluation of the EITI needs to be clear about which type of objective it is measuring, and that an evaluation should not deem the EITI in general as a success or failure based on evaluating only one or two aspects of the initiative.