The proposal below represents the action plan discussed at the Implementation Conference and further developed in subsequent discussions with partners and another meeting held in London in December 2002.
Organisation: Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future
Project Manager: Irene Gerlach
Contact Address: 7 Holyrood Street London SE1 2EL
Tel: + 44 (0) 207 089 4308 Fax: + 44 (0) 207 089 4310
Project Title: NORTH-SOUTH PLATFORM
Background: A recent comparative study of petro-states has concluded that “natural resource endowment has not been positively correlated with economic development and social progress. Rather the contrary, international statistics show that countries rich in natural resources have had a performance which is markedly poorer than those counties that have possessed little natural resources” (Bergeson and Haughland 2000).
Shetland in its thirty years of oil extraction, appears to be a notable exception to this phenomenon in securing at a local level advantage for the entire community from social investment from oil revenues. This is in marked contrast to the experience of less developed countries such as Angola and Nigeria, where communities benefit very little or not at all from oil industry activities. In fact they so often end up bearing the real social, economic and environmental costs, on behalf of an elite and the oil industry itself. Therefore, the Shetland experience can be seen as one which has had a relatively positive experience of engagement with the oil industry. This is clearly not the case in most other less developed countries.
Over the past few years we have seen the evolvement of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), amongst some multi-nationals including the oil industry. However, whilst the intention has been welcomed by many critics of oil companies, we have seen very little evidence of CSR working in terms of its commitment to human rights and producing sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits to communities. One reason for this is that the power gap is too large to enable any meaningful dialogues to take place between the oil industry and communities. If communities are to benefit, and CSR is to work, then the development of a more level playing field must be addressed. Otherwise communities have every right to ask the question “Do we really need the oil industry”?
Project Concept: The project aims to enable the sharing of experience of best and worst socio-environmental community development models of oil extraction. It will use Shetland, Nigeria and Angola as case studies and platforms upon which to build community exchanges in order to strengthen links between oil-affected communities in less developed countries.
The links are an essential part of enabling oil-affected communities to capture benefits from oil extraction activities in their locality through the evolution of participatory processes. These processes will arise from the development of local democracy and good governance, based on existing constitutional institutions.
Overall Objectives: To enable communities affected by oil extraction to gain tangible and sustainable benefits from engagement with the oil industry. These benefits will be social, economic, environmental and political: they will support, and be linked, to good governance. The programme will use the Shetland, Niger Delta and Angola Platforms (other countries may be included later), to share experiences, build linkages and devise possible strategies for dealing with the Double Standards of the oil industry.
The establishment of a North-South Platform offers an opportunity to compare and contrast experiences of oil-affected communities, producing a learning exercise. The three principal elements of the North-South Platform are that:
The Shetland Platform itself is a mechanism which provides oil-affected communities throughout the world with access to independent research, broadcasting and media outlets available within Shetland in order to extract some benefits from oil activity. Shetland will use this unique Best Practice experience of the oil industry to highlight the Double Standards being operated in less developed countries and explore possible ways of how Best Practice can be used effectively to benefit communities in Angola and Nigeria. The Platform would therefore act as a voice for these less fortunate communities. All this would be achieved by:
1) The participatory identification and definition of stakeholders, existing institutions, relevant needs and solutions;
2) The effective dissemination of information using Website, Video and Press Coverage;
3) A series of exchange programme/activities which meet the learning and capacity building needs and aspirations of the communities from Angola, Nigeria and Shetland;
4) An exchange programme for local journalists, from Nigeria, Angola and Shetland; and
5) The use of the new study centre in Shetland for students, activists and other community representatives involved in environment/development work, to research, build on their knowledge and skills in relation to the political, economic, social and environmental issues in their country.
The resulting outcome will help increase the consciousness of Double Standards, currently being maintained by the oil industry, encourage the global practice of corporate citizenship, and empower civil society to demand appropriate standards.
To kick-start the project, two Workshops are planned. The first will take place in Nembe in the Niger Delta sometime end-2003. It will be hosted by the Nigeria based NGO Environmental Rights Action. The second, building on from the Nembe workshop, will take place in Shetland mid-2004, hosted by the Shetland Island Council and the Unst Partnership.
The purpose of the two workshops will be to bring together representatives of organisations from oil affected communities in Angola and Nigeria and Shetland to share their different social, economic, environmental and political experiences in relation to the oil industry. Through the shared experiences, an exchanges programme will then be designed by the participants arising from the dynamics of the workshops and in line with their own aspirations and needs.
The third workshop, which will take place in Angola at the end of 2005, will be a review of the North-South Platform project, and looking at sustainable post-project processes, using the project evaluation reports.
Outputs and Activities for three years (2003 – 2004): Refer to Log-Frame below
Invited Partners: The invited partners will be from Angola, Nigeria and Shetland (UK) at this stage. These partners will be a cross-section of representatives from Angolan civil society including the recently established Coalition for Reconciliation, Transparency & Citizenship; Development Workshop; GEMIO ABC; and other identified civil society groups; Environmental Rights Action/Oilwatch (Nigeria) and other identified groups in Nigeria; Shetland Island Council, the Unst Partnership in Shetland. Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future will be the lead organisation for this.
This project is one of the collaborative action plan at the Implementation Conference: Stakeholder Action for Our Common Future, facilitated by Stakeholder Forum in Johannesburg, August 2002 (www.earthsummit2002.org/ic)
LOGICAL FRAMEWORK SUMMARY