SWITZERLAND, NOVEMBER 21 – On Friday, 22 November 2019, energy experts, government representatives, host community members, celebrities and other stakeholders will converge in Lagos to deliberate on pathways for more sustainable community engagement processes in Nigeria’s extractive industries at the 8th Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) Conference.
The extractive industries sector, which includes the oil and gas, and mining industries, has been plagued by challenges stemming from conflicts with host communities. The 8th SITEI conference is coming at a time the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) puts the value of volumes of crude oil and refined products stolen from Nigeria in the last 10 years at $41.9 billion.
Experts believe that poor and unsustainable community engagement processes lie at the foundation of oil theft and vandalism as disgruntled members of oil producing communities often take to criminality to express their grievances and access alternative means of livelihood.
SITEI is organized by CSR-in-Action (CiA), Nigeria’s foremost sustainability outfit.
The 2019 SITEI Conference also includes Nigeria’s maiden Community Engagement And Human Rights (CAHR) Awards, for individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions in community engagement and the promotion of human rights in Nigeria.
The Awards, which consist of seven categories, will be a mainstay of the conference themed: Community Engagement: A Panacea for Peace in Extractive Operations.
Speakers and panellists at the event include top professionals from government, the private sector, and celebrities.
Prominent guests expected include popular brand expert, Charles O’ Tudor; Director of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative(NEITI), Waziri Adio; Co-Chair, Private Sector Advisory group, Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien; Lagos State Commisioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Engineer Olalere Odusote, Community Relations Manager for Addax Petroleum, Julius Brown; and Managing Director, Kinsfield Energy, Adekunle Akintola.
Celebrities expected at the event include singers Harrysong and Omawunmi; and actress Chioma Akpotha; .
According to a press statement released by CiA on its website, the CAHR Awards is co-founded with Growing Businesses Foundation (GBF) and is designed to provide a platform to encourage extractive businesses in Nigeria and Africa to take cogent steps to correct the anomalies of engagement within communities, primarily extractive communities, by acknowledging and appreciating best performing companies.
As the inaugural community engagement awards in Africa, CAHR will recognise and bestow awards upon outstanding individuals and corporate entities that have demonstrated exemplary service in several categories including:
The Ken Saro-Wiwa Environmental Management Award;
The MKO Abiola Community Engagement Awards;
The Hajiya Gambo Sawaba Community Impact Award;
The Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti Human Rights Award;
The Apostle Hayford Alile Humanitarian Award;
The Josephine Nkemdilim Equal Rights Award and
The Ahmadu Bello Award for Leadership.
Additionally, the 8th SITEI Conference will serve as a veritable platform to launch Nigeria’s pioneer Community Engagement Standards (CES), a framework for community inclusion and management during a project’s life cycle. CES was developed by CSR-in-Action with support and funding from the Facility for Oil Sector Transformation and Reform (FOSTER II).
The CES was adopted by the Office of the Vice President of the Federation and government parastatals such as the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources (FMPR), including its agencies such as the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Federal Ministry of the Environment (FMEnv) and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), during a two-day workshop in April 2019. It has also received the approval of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Speaking on the 8th SITEI Conference and CAHR Awards, Bekeme Masade-Olowola, Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action, asserted that:
‘’CSR-in-Action’s commitment to the advancement of sustainability in Nigeria and the African continent has seen us structure interventions and design events to advance overall the global sustainability agenda.’’
She noted that the CAHR Awards and the unveiling of the CES document will promote sustainability practices in Nigeria beginning from the extractive space. She added that: ‘While the CAHR Awards will motivate extractive agencies and companies to up their game in their sustainability practices across board, the CES will provide a focused guide for the extractive industries to engage effectively with their stakeholders in the host communities and generate meaningful sustainable impacts which align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Engr. Kamoru Busari, Director Overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, commended CSR-in-Action for their giant stride in developing Nigeria’s premier Community Engagement Framework, the CES and their commitment to advocating for sustainability in the extractive industries by hosting the SITEI conference for 8 consecutive years. He said that
“I am proud of our association with CSR-in-Action, and the fact that our teams have worked together towards building a tool that has the potential to solve the crisis we have in the Niger Delta, by its sheer simplicity and detail. If we in the government agencies can work with businesses to implement the guidance in the CES in good spirit, we will eradicate conflict within oil-producing communities.”
On the CAHR Awards, Engr. Busari expressed his thoughts that the CAHR Awards would be a valid reward for those companies which have exhibited compliance with global best practice in the industries.”
SITEI is a national stakeholder engagement workshop for stakeholders in the extractive industries, now in its 8th year. The conference annually brings together over 1,000 businesses, public and civic sector leaders – C-Level executives from the extractive industries, directors from multilateral and financial sectors, thought leaders and community and good governance advocates – with the common goal of harnessing and utilising the huge potential within the industries.
CSR-in-Action Advocacy, a subsidiary of the CSR-in-Action(CiA) Group, is the first United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) NWP private sector member in Nigeria and is a member of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), and the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) – with special consultative status.
CiA publishes the Corporate Sustainable Investor Report with the 3C-Index – the only sustainability bespoke analysis of business’ sustainability practices. Furthermore, CiA is the convener of the SITEI Conference – an annual conference that offers a platform to discuss and provide suggestions to better implement government policies in the mining and oil industries, which is attended by leaders in the industries, academia, civil society, community and business.