Feb 18, 2010

Ogoni: ECCR Report Calls on Shell to Clean Up

Sample ImageLegborsi Saro Pyagbara, National Coordinator of the Niger Delta UPR Coalition, and the International Advocacy Officer of Movement For Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), defending basic humanitarian rights of the Ogoni people

Below is an article published by ECCR:

As Shell faces a lawsuit in the Netherlands over alleged oil pollution in Nigeria, a new report published today argues that the oil giant can and should take both prompt and longer-term action to reduce the negative social and environmental impacts of its operations in the Niger Delta. The report, Shell in the Niger Delta: A Framework for Change, published by church-based investor coalition and membership organization the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR), considers how the operations of Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), affect the human rights and living conditions of Niger Delta communities.

Based on case studies researched and written by five civil society organizations working in the Niger Delta, the report raises concerns about Shell’s operations in relation to:

• International social and environmental standards

• Pollution levels

• Communities’ health and livelihoods

• The right of local people to a say in decisions that affect their lives

ECCR acknowledges that many of the problems in the Niger Delta are the responsibility of the Nigerian government. But it argues that the report’s ten concluding recommendations offer Shell and its operating subsidiary SPDC immediate confidence-building measures (quick wins) as well as longer-term ways to tackle some of the challenges they face. ‘The case studies in our report identify opportunities for Shell to do things better in the Niger Delta,’ says ECCR Co-coordinator Miles Litvinoff, who edited the report. ‘After years of unresolved community tensions, Shell could reap benefits by making accountability to local people a higher priority.’

Among the report’s most urgent recommendations are:

• An end to gas flaring

• Provision of sustainable drinking water for communities

• Action to replace aging pipelines

• Commencement of a major environmental audit and rehabilitation programme.

Longer term, the report calls for:

• Continuous human rights training for Shell’s Nigerian staff

• Greater respect for principles of open dialogue and community consent

• Independent monitoring 

• Effective grievance mechanisms

Senior Shell staff remuneration should be linked to progress on human rights and environmental challenges in the Delta, ECCR says. Citing the increasingly recognized corporate duty to respect human rights by `doing no harm’, the report argues that Shell has both responsibility and opportunity to improve its operational practices in Nigeria.

Note: Click here for the full report.