Skoll Foundation


Global Witness

Skoll Awardee(s): Simon Taylor, Charmian Gooch, and Patrick Alley
Award Year: 2014
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Environmental Sustainability, Peace and Human Rights, Sustainable Markets

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“Driving Transparency to Lift the ‘Resource Curse’ of Conflict and Human Rights Abuse”

Patrick Alley, Charmian Gooch, and Simon Taylor know that many of the world’s poorest people live in the most resource-rich countries in the world. Natural resources can incentivize corruption, destabilize governments, and lead to conflict and the looting of entire states. From 2002 to 2011, illicit money flows from corrupt deals in the developing world totaled nearly $6 trillion. Global Witness investigates and exposes the shadow networks underlying these deals that fuel conflict, corruption, and environmental destruction. They collect evidence and launch hard-hitting campaigns to find global solutions and end the “resource curse” by tackling corruption, protecting the environment, preventing conflict, and defending human rights.

Patrick Alley is co-founder and director of Global Witness. He took part in Global Witness’s first investigations into the Thai-Khmer Rouge timber trade in 1995, and since then has taken part in more than 50 field investigations in South East Asia, Africa and Europe, and in subsequent advocacy activities. Because of Global Witness’s experience in tackling conflict diamonds and former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s arms for timber trade, Patrick focuses on the issue of conflict resources, and on forest and land issues—especially challenging industrial scale-logging and land-grabbing in the tropics.

Charmian Gooch is co-founder and director of Global Witness. She jointly led Global Witness’ first campaign, exposing the trade in timber between the Khmer Rouge and Thai logging companies, and their political and military backers. Charmian also developed and launched Global Witness’ second groundbreaking campaign, combating blood diamonds. Global Witness was nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on conflict diamonds, and in 2005 Charmian received the Gleitsman International Activist Award.

Simon Taylor is co-founder and director of Global Witness. Simon launched Global Witness’s oil and corruption campaign more than 15 years ago, which began the global call for transparency of payments made by companies to governments for oil and gas extraction. Exposing corruption in these sectors led to Global Witness’s conception of the Publish What You Pay Campaign (PWYP), which Simon co-launched in 2002 with George Soros and other NGOs including Transparency International (UK) and Save the Children Fund UK. The launch of PWYP, which now consists of more than 750 civil society organizations worldwide, led directly to the creation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), now a global multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at delivering revenue transparency in the extractive sector.




© 2015 Skoll Foundation.