University of Oulu

Philippe Le Billon, Päivi Lujala, Siri Aas Rustad; Transparency in Environmental and Resource Governance: Theories of Change for the EITI. Global Environmental Politics 2021; 21 (3): 124–146. doi:

Transparency in environmental and resource governance : theories of change for the EITI

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Author: Le Billon, Philippe1; Lujala, Päivi2; Rustad, Siri Aas3
Organizations: 1University of British Columbia
2University of Oulu, Finland
3Peace Research Institute, Oslo
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: MIT Press, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-02-01


Transparency is now a core principle in environmental and resource governance. Responding to calls for a clearer identification of pathways from transparency to effective change, this article identifies three “Theories of Change” for governance-by-disclosure and applies them to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Among the best known global transparency initiatives, the EITI has used an inclusive multistakeholder governance model and elaborate compliance standards, disclosing trillions of dollars in natural resource revenues. Yet, after two decades, the EITI is still largely without an explicit and proven theory. This study finds that a Theory of Change for the EITI is possible, valuable, and even necessary as the EITI risks becoming obsolete in some participating countries. The proposed Theories of Change provide valuable templates for environmental and resource governance, yet such models need to reflect national contexts, needs, challenges, and objectives to ensure fit and effective implementation, including measures enforcing accountability.

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Series: Global environmental politics
ISSN: 1526-3800
ISSN-E: 1536-0091
ISSN-L: 1526-3800
Volume: 21
Issue: 3
Pages: 124 - 146
DOI: 10.1162/glep_a_00610
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland (grants 322097, 309206), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (grant 410-2010-2035), the Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s Conflict Trends project (grant QZA-18/0227), and Chr. Michelsen Institute.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 322097
Detailed Information: 322097 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
309206 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.