CAN Mezzanine customer Publish What You Pay, based in Borough, have seen some exciting developments in their work recently.
Publish What You Pay are a member led organisation working globally to increase transparency in the extractive industry. PWYP has members working in some of the poorest countries in the world, including Zimbabwe and Zambia-countries that are very rich in natural resources, such as diamonds however the money from the extraction of these resources doesn’t always enter the state budget.
This year, 15 billion dollars of diamond revenue in Zimbabwe went missing. It is the role of certain Publish What You Pay members to find out what happened and why, other members work more in prevention. PWYP’s role is to try and promote laws to make it more difficult for money just to disappear that way, aiming to avoid a situation where this can happen. Many of the members working in countries such as Azerbaijan or Gabon face restrictions in their work such as having their bank accounts frozen or they won’t be able to travel out of the country.
Members have been known to get stopped at borders and face harassment, violence and intimidation. As oil, gas and mining is an industry with a lot of revenue and private interests at stake, it is inevitable that there are going to be those trying to shut down some voices.
Publish What You Pay are working on a report to be published in December, an assessment of the situation where its members are. The report will detail the kind of restrictions and backlash they face, and include recommendations for how to prevent these and further action for how they can be helped.
“It’s good to have a hub like this.
Working at CAN, you feel like you’re in a really big office even though we’re just nine people. You really feel like you’re part of something much larger and it’s a good way to get to know people who face the same opportunities and challenges you may have. We’re actually looking at working more with Transparency International who are on the floor above us, what they do is very relevant to what we do.”
Image titled 'Curious Yet Unsuspecting' taken from the Publish What You Pay member's photo exhibition.