Publish What You Pay

Global Development: Views from the Center

2010 Commitment to Development Award Presented to Publish What You Pay; Bipartisan Panel Comments on Policy Implications and Enforcement

December 6, 2010

Kaci Farrell

CGD president Nancy Birdsall and Foreign Policy editor-in-chief Susan Glasser presented the 2010 Commitment to Development “Ideas in Action” Award to Publish What You Pay during a public event this week at the Center for Global Development.

The award, bestowed annually since 2003, honors an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to changing attitudes and policies toward the developing world. Reflecting CGD’s and Foreign Policy’s missions, it is designed to highlight the ever-increasing ways in which the actions of individuals, governments, and institutions transcend borders and shape our world.

Isabel Munilla, Director of Publish What You Pay United States, accepted the 2010 award on behalf of the Publish What You Pay coalition, which comprises over 600 organizations working in nearly 70 countries. The award recognizes the work of Publish What You Pay U.S. in helping pass the Cardin-Lugar Transparency Provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The provision requires all oil, gas, and mining companies registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to publish how much they pay to foreign countries and the U.S. government.

Describing Publish What You Pay coalition members as “pragmatic optimists,” Munilla said resource-rich governments are fully capable of using natural resources revenues wisely to tackle critical development gaps. “We believe that citizens have the right to decide how the money generated from oil, gas and mining is used – and with some assistance, we believe that they can and must be empowered to exercise that right,” said Munilla.

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The SEC will develop regulations to implement the Cardin-Lugar Transparency Provision by April 2010. In her acceptance speech, Munilla encouraged members of the audience to comment on the proposed rules.

The program also featured remarks from Birdsall and Moisés Naím, co-chairs of the award’s selection committee, and a bipartisan panel discussion, moderated by Glasser. Rori Kramer, a Senior Legislative Assistant in the Office of Senator Cardin, and Nilmini Rubin, a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations joined Munilla on stage to discuss putting the provision into practice.

Munilla and Kramer clarified key questions of interpretation, including what companies will be covered under the legislation, and commented on the implications of the provision.

Responding to questions from the audience, Rubin explained why is it important that civil society organizations such as Publish What You Pay continue to work with other rich country governments to require and enforce similar disclosure rules.

The audience included many Publish What You Pay coalition members, as well as representatives from the policy, academic, and NGO communities.

Previous winners of the Commitment to Development Award include: the European ministers of international development who constitute the Utstein Group (2003); Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair Campaign (2004); then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown (2005), then-U.S. Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) (2006), Global Witness (2007), the ONE Campaign (2008), and Diego Hidalgo Schnur (2009).

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