We must address gender and environmental issues in the extractive industry now – NEITI

By Emmanuella Anokam

The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has highlighted the need to go beyond the global standard prescription to address particular gender and environmental issues within Nigeria’s extractive industry.

Mr. Olusegun Adekunle, Chairman of the National Stakeholders Working Group (NEITI Board) made this known during his validation workshop on “Developing Frameworks for Gender and Environmental Impacts Reporting in the ‘extractive industry’ on Tuesday in Abuja.

In a keynote address, Adekunle said the frameworks were being developed to reflect the global standard of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

The Chair recalled that in 2020, Nigeria EITI released the first data on women’s participation and environmental practices in the industry.

He said that beyond the audits, he also carried out scoping studies to understand specific gender and environmental issues in the sector, and to generate information on the magnitude of the impacts.

Armed with the initial results of these studies and engagements, he said he was close to setting the parameters for disclosure on gender and environmental impacts.

According to the president, the framework will bring together the knowledge he has generated over the past two years.

“We are here as stakeholders, to review the work that has been done so far and to provide valuable input into the finalization of the Gender and Environmental Impacts Reporting Frameworks.

“However, we should go beyond what the global norm currently prescribes, to address the particular gender and environmental issues that we may face in our country’s extractive industry,” he said. .

He recalled that the EITI was founded 20 years ago on the noble principles of equity and sustainable development, adding that these principles remain relevant today if not more so than they were in 2002.

“While the EITI was created with the aim of disclosing payments and revenues from extractive resources, the global institution has made significant progress in facilitating openness across all processes of the value chain of resource extraction.

“In 2019, resource-producing countries committed to disclosing data and information on gender and the environment.

“This decision is a recognition of the growing impact that extractive industry activities continue to have on human communities and the natural environment.

“The decision also signals the urgent need for action at the global and national level to facilitate gender inclusion and environmental accountability in the extractive sector,” he said.

He highlighted the need for data that would help the government design policies to improve the conditions of our target communities and the environment.

Earlier, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary of NEITI, while outlining the background of the project, said his immediate task upon his appointment was to assess the status of Nigeria’s commitments under the new EITI standard.

“The evaluation left me with no doubt that we need to deepen the foundations that were already laid for implementation of the ever-evolving issues in EITI implementation.

“Two of these policy areas are the social and environmental impacts of extractive industry operations,” the executive secretary said.

“We believe that this framework will not only enable us to meet the specific requirements of the EITI, but will help us define the scope to reflect all gender and environmental impacts issues in our local (national) context”, a- he declared.

Orji noted his second consideration as the need to integrate gender and environmental impact reporting into existing government systems and institutions with the mandate and capacity to do so.

“Although NEITI is mandated to implement the EITI in Nigeria, we do not generate industry data. This is the responsibility of the entities covered and the institutions concerned. NEITI then collects this data for publication in annual audit reports.

“While NEITI reports industry data through the traditional data collection and reconciliation process, the long-term goal is to integrate disclosure practices,” he said.

He expressed optimism that stakeholder contributions would greatly enrich the framework and lay a solid foundation for future effective reporting on gender and the environmental impact of extractive industry activities.

The workshop brought together NEITI civil society partners, members of the academic community, researchers and experts. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Idris Abdulrahman