Extractive resources such as oil, gas, minerals and timber can have a transformative impact on the development trajectory of a country. They can create jobs, generate revenue to fund basic government services and stimulate further economic growth. However, in many cases the extractives sector is plagued by decades of opaque contracts, backroom deals and decisions taken without public consultation or dialogue with local communities. As a result, stakeholder trust breaks down, benefits are not shared equitably, and there is little public access to authoritative information about the profits the sector is generating, the development gains it is catalysing or the risks it is causing.
Despite significant progress, current transparency initiatives need to be taken forward to enable data to be published in an open, easily accessible and interoperable format. Stakeholders can benefit from access to not just financial information, but data relating to social and environmental benefits and risks of concern to local communities. The range of transparency information can also be presented in more compelling visual and interactive formats that support dialogue and decision-making.
Mapping and Assessing the Performance of Extractive Industries͟, or MAP-X, is an answer to some of these challenges. The initiative was born out of a request by the g7+ group of conflict-affected states for UNEP and the World Bank to start building an open data platform to map and assess the performance of extractive concessions and contracts in member countries.
Open data platform MAP-X will offer a national open data platform for visualizing extractives sector data that can be tailor-made to local needs, is owned by stakeholders, and supported by UNEP and the World Bank. MAP-X is a tool that can reinforce the implementation of national transparency commitments, such as those under EITI as well as National Action Plans of the Open Government Partnership.
Normative data standard and workflow MAP-X will support data suppliers and other stakeholders in consolidating, validating, reconciling and licensing the data and making it available in standardized open data formats. This will ensure that different data sets can be integrated together, and support quality control by ensuring that all the data fed into the system is accurate, authorized, validated and interoperable.
Stakeholder capacity building MAP-X will offer a capacity building programme for stakeholders to comply with the standard, manage the workflow and use the open data platform to inform decision-making. This will ensure a bottom-up approach and strengthen the national ownership of the platform for it to become key information and monitoring tool adapted to conflict-affected contexts.
Given recent advances in information technology and communications, the MAP-X initiative is being designed to function at three different scales and be accessible by either web-connected computers or mobile smart phones.
Local level Stakeholders will be provided a range of tools to access the operational requirements of individual concessions in order to monitor their compliance and performance throughout the value chain. This will cover financial, social and environmental aspects using a score card system.
National level The platform will permit open access to authoritative information on all extractive industry concessions, including ownership, duration, resource type, and payments. It will support strategic planning and investments by providing other important contextual data layers, as well as help identify key risks and potential development impacts.
Global level Data from country platforms can also be aggregated to the global level as a basis for comparative analysis and tracking the performance of individual companies and beneficial owners.