PIB & HOST COMMUNITIES: REPORT OF CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS 3The 2-day conference, Host Communities & the PIB: Opportunities, Challenges and the Way Forward held at Aldgate Hotel, Sani Abacha Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State on April 23 – 24, 2013 was an outstanding conference bringing together 55 participants from various states in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, advocates and stakeholders in the oil and gas industry plus 12 speakers and panelists over the two days. 

As the central point of oil production, the Niger Delta region is most gravely affected by oil prospecting and exploration activities in which the traditional means of subsistence, farming and fishing in the creeks, streams and mangroves are adversely affected by constant oil spills, gas flares, blow-outs and leaks, with spiraling effects on health, soil productivity, aquatic life and the environment. The conference therefore aimed to campaign for the improved governance of the environment and to strengthen the structure for community participation in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Nigeria’s latest legal regime for reforming its oil sector.

The conference was organized by Spaces for Youth Development and Social Change (Spaces for Change-S4C), a leading advocacy group on oil sector transparency famed for its track record in generating extensive publicly available data on oil and gas, energy and natural resource issues in Nigeria. The organization hosts an E-library: http://issuu.com/spaces.for.change/docs/  where a wide range of online users have unrestrained access to materials, reports, analytical papers and documentation on oil and gas and natural resource governance issues. The site continues to offer a rich repository for policy makers, the media, non-governmental organizations, community associations, grassroot movements, with the sole aim of bolstering their capacity to contribute to making the Nigeria’s oil sector reform processes more participatory, robustly transparent and effective.

The hallmark of the conference was the public presentation of S4C’s latest publication, the PIB RESOURCE HANDBOOK which contains a detailed analysis of the PIB provisions relating to community participation and the environment (CPE). The Handbook forms part of a broader organizational strategy to promote awareness of the PIB, while expanding access to reliable energy-focused data and resources for building the capacity of industry stakeholders and ordinary citizens to monitor and engage meaningfully in the PIB passage architecture. 

Spaces for Change is grateful to the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for supporting its Oil Sector Legislative Engagement and Accountability Project (OSLEAP) under which this research was conducted. Many thanks to the entire staff of Spaces for Change, consultants, non-governmental organizations, community partners, government officials, comrades and many others we cannot mention here, whose insights, interviews and comments invaluably contributed to the successful completion of the Handbook, and the organization of this 2-day conference. 

To download the full report of the conference proceedings, please click HERE

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