WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said it was committed to helping Myanmar improve transparency in the management of its natural resources.
U.S. special envoy for international energy affairs Carlos Pascual met with Myanmar Energy Minister Than Htay, who was part of a visiting delegation from Naypyitaw.
Both officials signed a joint declaration committed to transparency in the management of natural resources, including oil and natural gas. Both sides pledged to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
"We view EITI as a valuable tool to support increased sector good governance and multi-stakeholder engagement in sector decision-making," the declaration read.
Advocacy group Revenue Watch Institute published a governance index last week that measured transparency and accountability of 58 countries. Myanmar ranked worst with a score of 4 out of a possible 100.
The U.S. government last year eased some sanctions pressure on Myanmar in response to political reforms. That could open the door to more investments in the energy sector.
"Managing the energy sector transparently and in line with international best practices is an objective of both our governments," the joint statement read.
EITI adds a layer of transparency to payments made by extractive industries to respective governments.