“If at first you don’t succeed, Dust yourself off and try again.” These lyrics from the late, great singer Aaliyah could serve as an anthem of sorts for a US transparency law that has traveled a long, dusty road to achieve its aim of helping end extreme poverty.
Well at long last, there’s great news. That law, Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is finally set to go into effect. Last week it finished the last leg of its journey when the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a final rule that will implement the law.
The law requires publicly listed oil, gas and mining companies in the US to publicly disclose the payments they make to governments around the world for the extraction of natural resources. That increased transparency will provide critical information to citizens in some of the world’s poorest countries, enabling them to hold their governments accountable for spending that money on things that will improve their lives, like schools and hospitals.
Why has it taken six long years for the law, which was passed way back in July 2010, to go into effect? Some oil companies did their best to hinder and weaken the law’s implementation and preserve the status quo of secrecy.
But thanks in part to the raised voices of ONE members, the SEC didn’t give in to the efforts of those oil companies. The SEC received two petitions from ONE members with a combined 260,000 signatures, as well as hundreds of individual letters, urging it to release a strong rule to implement the transparency law.
It worked. The law is finally set to go into effect and begin helping the world’s poor ensure that their governments spend much-needed revenues from oil, gas and minerals on such things as life-saving medicines, education, clean water and other critical programs that will help end extreme poverty.
It’s been a long fight to achieve this victory—thank you for joining us in this struggle.