MULTI-STAKEHOLDERS MEETING ON ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF NIGERIA
PUBLISH WHAT YOU PAY NIGERIA
SUPPORTED BY CORDAID
APRIL 10, 2019
Multi-stakeholders meeting on Environmental Social Human Rights Impact Assessment of Nigeria
April 10th 2019
1.3. Location and Venue
Nigeria Police Officers Mess and Suites, Plot 55, Samuel Ladoke Akintola Boulevard, Garki 11, Abuja.
This is to promote and support a participatory framework for Environmental, Social and Human Rights Impact assessment in Nigeria to help achieve an EIA Policy and Legislative reforms that will promote, protect and remedy Human Rights breaches occurring during extractive operations in Nigeria.
This Consultative meeting had the following objectives.
a. To contribute to efforts of PWYP in advocating for enshrining Environmental Social and Human Rights Impact Assessment in EIA Policies in Nigeria.
b. To engage the relevant stakeholders responsible for enshrining Environmental, Social and Human Rights Impact assessment in EIA Policies in Nigeria and heighten their interest in the inclusion of same in EIA Policies in Nigeria.
c. To elicit commitments and support from relevant stakeholders.
On the basis of the objectives of the Consultative Forum, relevant stakeholders involved in Environment, Social and Human Rights, Petroleum Industry, government and various media houses were invited to dialogue and proffer solutions on enshrining Environmental, Social, and Human Rights on EIA Policies and legal framework in Nigeria.
A total of 35 participants were in attendance. This included government agencies like Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Department of Petroleum Resourcing (DPR), NOSDRA, National Human Rights Commission and NNPC. The media, Civil Society Organisations, CORDAID, PWYP Coordinators and staff were also present.
Arrival and Registration of Participants
The Consultative meeting commenced at about 10am with registration of participants.
Introduction of Participants
At the commencement of the Consultative meeting, Mr. Paul Ogwu the Programs Manager, PWYP Nigeria welcomed all in attendance as he introduced Barrister Chima Williams as the moderator of the meeting. Barr Chima Williams called for participants to introduce themselves for all participants to know each other’s name and the organization they represented.
Mr. Peter Egbule, the National Coordinator of PWYP Nigeria gave the opening speech. In his opening speech, he thanked everyone for coming and encouraged all participants to speak up sincerely during the meeting in the interest of Nigeria. He also noted that having a holistic Impact Assessment policy and framework for Nigeria is necessary towards building a more habitable society.
3. GOODWILL MESSAGES
Mr. Hussaini Ali, the General Manager, Group Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Department of the NNPC gave his goodwill message on behalf of the NNPC. In his goodwill message, he said that this consultative meeting was apt and a welcome development for all participants to look into the aspects of human rights as it affects the activities and projects undertaken in the Oil and Gas industry. He noted that the issue of environmental, social and health impact assessments, which the oil and gas industry routinely uses to evaluate projects and activities basically provides an introduction to human rights and their relevance to the activities of the oil and gas industry, and briefly describes why it is important for the oil and gas industry to consider the impact that its projects and activities have on human rights. He also noted that just recently, during the House of Representatives public hearing on the amendment of Environmental Impact Assessment Bill, NNPC raised some key concerns concerning the amendments. The concerns ranged from the nomenclature of the bill as it concerns DPR and Federal Ministry of Environment and their overlapping functions (multiple regulations and certification), issues of report formats, technical review documentation and non-inclusion of construction of mega stations (land/floating) and retail outlets. All these considerations significantly affect humans and there is need for total consideration of such issues that affects humans in the bill. He concluded his goodwill message by assuring participants that NNPC will support any action towards the protection of human life and preservation of the environment as enshrined in its HSE Policy.
There was also a Goodwill message from Mr. Tolase Olatinwo of CORDAID, as he gave a brief background of the project, CORDAID collaboration with PWYP and he wished all participants a fruitful deliberation.
There were no more goodwill messages as participants from other MDAs declined to give goodwill messages on the grounds that they had no directives from their Ministries.
There were intensive deliberations on Social Human Rights Impact Assessment in the EIA Policy and legal framework in Nigeria. All the major stakeholders represented at the meeting appreciated the opportunity that PWYP provided for a robust discussion with open minds on the challenges faced in the EIA process and what can be done to have a more encompassing EIA process that is in tune with present realities and that is implementation friendly. The following were points noted from the discussions:
4.1 There was an agreement that the ongoing amendment of the EIA act by the NASS presents a very unique opportunity that should be utilized to achieve this objective.
4.2 It was pointed out that collaborative synergies among the key stakeholders will be very essential in this regard, as the various agencies can bring in their individual strengths to bear on the process to achieve desired results.
4.3 Stakeholders agreed that inter agency rivalry is one of the key constraints to an effective EIA process and implementation, and that we should strive for a single EIA process with inputs from all the concerned MDA’s in which their fears are placed on the table, discussed and agreed on to arrive at a win-win situation where no agency feels short-changed or left behind.
4.4 It was also agreed by participants that a situation where implementation of the EIA is dependent on the proponent corporate entity for logistics and funds is not healthy to achieving desired objective. A process must be found in which the process will be driven independent of funds from the proponent entity.
4.5 Participants were of the opinion that the EIA Department of Federal ministry of Environment should be funded and given a budget to facilitate the EIA process in Nigeria rather than the proponent facilitating.
4.6 Participants were also of the opinion that there should be an MoU between the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in implementation of EIA process just as there is with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
4.7 The need for the Federal Ministry of Environment to review the strategy for the public review of the EIA report, e.g. the use of animations/3-D videos instead of bulky reports, was presented.
4.8 There was an expressed need to engage independent bodies to jointly review the EIA.
4.9 Another suggestion was the idea that the community should be given part-ownership of any project sited in their community. About 5% ownership of the project was muted.
4.10 The addition of Climate Change issues into the advocacy for Social, Human Rights Assessment for sustainability of project and its benefits to the community was also considered.
4.11 There was also the deliberation on how to ensure that projects have sustained EIA, provide jobs, create food security and become all inclusive, in accordance with the Paris agreement of UNFCCC.
5. OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The following are observations and recommendations proffered at the end of the meeting:
5.1. Persons with disabilities are excluded in the EIA Process including employment and mitigation. The new EIA Act under review should address this gap and also deal with gender issues.
5.2. It was suggested that a copy of the summarized version of the EIA Reports should be made available to communities where it is conducted. In essence, EIA reports should be sent to the affected communities to get their feedback since it affects them.
5.3. It was agreed that a working group where all the key Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Publish What You Pay (PWYP) and other key stakeholders be put in place to drive the EIA Amendments process and to equally resolve other grey areas of inter MDA collaborations.
5.4. The stakeholders meeting agreed that human rights should be integrated into impact assessment to reduce conflicts with communities and other interests.
5.5. It was established that the National Human Rights Commission should be carried along by relevant stakeholders on issues that are centered on human rights.
6. PERCEPTION SURVEY BY CORDAID
Mr. Tolase Olatinwo of CORDAID conducted a perception survey on the issue. This was an online polling system where participants logged into an online platform where a live survey was taken on issues related to enshrining Environmental Social Human Rights issues into Nigerian EIA Policies and Legal Framework. The online poll gave instant graphical representation of responses from the participants to the survey questions.
The Multi-stakeholders meeting on Environmental Social Human Rights Impact Assessment in Nigeria came to a conclusion on a very good note as all stakeholders in attendance unanimously agreed that there was a serious need to advocate for enshrining Environmental Social Human Rights issues in the EIA policies and legal framework in Nigeria with each stakeholder agreeing that they will do their best within their organizations to advocate and promote Human Rights issues in their various capacities.