Tuesday, May 29, 2012

'Environmentalists Query World Bank's Honesty on Climate Change initiatives'

Photo above
L-R: Mr. Kokou Amegadze (FoE Togo), Mr. Noble Wadzah (FoE Ghana), Chief Temitope Agemo, Mrs. Dele Omobuwayo and
Chief Alex Kunnuji (JP), reps of Badagry communities impacted by the WAGP projects.

Does the World Bank mean well for developing nations? When they announce their 'good intentions' on salvaging us, should we trust them or take their words with a large dose of salt?

These contentious issues were among those discussed at a two-day workshop held recently in Lagos by the Environmental Rights Action\Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA\FoEN).

With the theme, 'Exposing the World Bank's Complicity in Worsening the Climatic Conditions of African Communities', it examined the negative impacts of the West African Gas Pipelines (WAGP) on communities in Nigeria, Ghana and Togo through which the pipelines traverse. The workshop paid particular focus on the global financial body's interest in climate financing, as participants wondered; 'how can World Bank claim to be honestly keen on mitigating the impacts of climate change when it at the same time enthusiastically finances projects such as the WAGP which worsens climate change conditions in poor and defenseless communities, when it impoverish their lives by polluting their water bodies, forcefully annex lands, under-pay or refuses to pay compensation for lands taken among other oppressive measures?

One of the slogans at the workshop, held from May 24 to 25 was, not surprisingly;
To Save Our Climate!"

The workshop which had representatives from WAGP host communities in Badagry, Lagos Nigeria as well as Friends of the Earth, Ghana and Friends of the Earth Togo, similarly witnessed presentations and discussion sessions presided over by Barrister Chima Williams, Head, Legal Resources of ERA from the Benin City headquaters of the ngo, Noble Wadzah of FoE Ghana and Kokou Elorm of FoE Togo. Betty Abah, Gender Focal Person, ERA and coordinator of the workshop also gave presentation on how women's health, livelihoods etc in all the impacted countries were affected, having been to several of them and discovered that 'it is the same sad story, the same story of socio-economic dislocation and broken promises.'

There was also a provocative presentation from Mrs. Victoria ibezim-Ohaeri, ED of Spaces for Change, formerly with SERAC, on 'The Legal Options'. Another was by Mrs. Sophia Mbanise, founder of Healing Hearts Foundation, (a charity ngo focused on widows and orphans) on 'Wounded Women'.

Among the several community reps from Badagry representing Ajido, Imeke and Araromi communities in Badagry was Chief Temitope Agemo, the Oba-elect of Araromi-Ale.
Discussions and strategy sessions on the second day climaxed in a press briefing with the FoE countries' reps and community people fielding questions from journalists drawn from the electronic and print media.

Chima Williams, ERA's head of Legal Resources Dept, addressing the participants at the workshp held in Lagos Nigeria

Betty Abah, Gender Focal Person, ERA

Mrs. Victoria Ohaeri, Executive Director of Spaces for Change, who gave the talk on 'The Litigation OPtion'

Mrs. Sophie Mbanise, ED of Healing Hearts Foundation who spoke on 'Wounded Women'.

No comments:

Post a Comment