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The United States and United Kingdom: Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
In December 2000, the American and British governments announced that a set of "voluntary principles on security and human rights," had been adopted by the two governments, companies in the extractive and energy sectors, and nongovernmental organizations (including Human Rights Watch), following a dialogue over the previous year. The principles, an initiative of the Clinton administration, set out a set of "best practices" for companies in the fields of risk assessment, relations with state security forces, and private security agencies.133 In November 2001, American and British officials traveled to Nigeria to discuss the principles with oil companies subscribing to them and others that were interested, as well as with the Nigerian government. The U.S. State Department also plans to post an officer in the embassy in Abuja with responsibility for following issues of corporate responsibility in Nigeria.

In line with its international profile as a leader on these issues, Shell was among the founder members of the group developing the voluntary principles. SPDC reviewed its security policy in 2001, to ensure that it was in line with the principles.134 Shell also states that "All SPDC contractors are informed about the company's security policy and business principles and are expected to be guided by them."135 In a surprise move, ExxonMobil announced in June 2002 that it would also subscribe to the principles. Given the situation in Finima, near MPNU's Bonny River Terminal, this would be a good starting point to begin monitoring the behavior of the Mobile Police and urging the authorities to ensure that they abide by human rights principles.

It is still too soon to assess the effect of these principles. Much of their success is dependent on the willingness of the companies to respect them fully and of the governments to monitor and press for their implementation. While the U.S. has devoted resources to this effort in Nigeria, it is not clear whether that will be enough unless the governments involved also exert pressure on the companies and most importantly, perhaps, on the Nigerian government to ensure that its security forces respect human rights and hold those that are alleged to have committed abuses accountable.

U.S. interest in Nigeria has increased as the government has sought to diversify its oil supplies from the Middle East: Nigeria is the fifth largest supplier of oil to the United States, selling about 885,000 bpd. This interest has not, however, included a focus on human rights issues. In May 2001, Human Rights Watch expressed its concern at the implications for protection of human rights in energy-producing nations of a new U.S. government energy strategy. The report of the National Energy Policy Development Group analyzed the impact of energy development on the environment, but failed completely to acknowledge the impact energy development may have on human rights. On the contrary, the report suggested making energy security an even greater priority in U.S. relations with some of the worst violators of human rights around the world, while proposing no strategy to keep necessary oil investment from perpetuating dictatorships or fueling conflicts, as it has in countries such as Angola, Sudan, Iraq-and Nigeria. Although the energy strategy recognized the need for "more transparent, accountable, and responsible use of oil resources" in Africa, the recognition was only in the context of enhancing "the security and stability of investment."136 American Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Walter Kansteiner visited Nigeria and Angola in July 2002, on a trip dedicated to "counter-terrorism, economic cooperation, democratization, counter-narcotics, and regional issues."137 Kansteiner asserted that African oil was of "national strategic importance" to the U.S., and urged Nigeria to increase production-prompting a denial from the Nigerian government that it intended to leave OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.138 But no public mention was made of human rights or community issues in respect of oil production, nor of corporate social responsibility in developing countries.

    The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has devoted scant resources to ensure implementation of the voluntary principles by British companies. Although a political officer in the Abuja High Commission monitors the Niger Delta, there are no dedicated personnel to address these issues. British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Nigeria in February 2002: he did not publicly raise human rights issues, in the Niger Delta or elsewhere in the country. In a useful initiative, however, the FCO paid for twenty-five individuals working on environmental issues for government, private sector, and nongovernmental organizations from the Niger Delta to participate in a training program in environmental management developed by the University of Bradford. The program consisted of a three-week course in Nigeria in June 2001 and a five-week course in the U.K. in 2002, and supervised individual study projects in the intervening period.139

The European Union
The European Union (E.U.) has a €84 million (roughly the same in U.S. dollars) plan for the period 2001 to 2007 covering 5,000 "micro-projects" in the Niger Delta (Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers States). The projects focus on water supply, the health system, education, rural transport, and income generating schemes, as well as microfinance.140

The Cotonou Agreement governing relations between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the E.U. includes provisions relating to human rights, democracy, good governance, and the rule of law. Article 96 of the treaty provides that if there is a dispute over human rights issues the parties may request "consultations" about the issue, though this provision has rarely been invoked. There have been discussions within the E.U. institutions about issues of corporate social responsibility, but no binding or even voluntary standards have been adopted for European corporations at E.U. level.

World Bank
In addition to the support for the NDDC mentioned above, the World Bank has also made loans to the Nigerian government which may benefit the Niger Delta. In March 2002, the World Bank approved two loans to the Nigerian government, totaling U.S.$237 million, for the development of the health system and for a community-based urban development project. Akwa Ibom was one of the states selected to benefit from the urban development project.141

In June 2001, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector lending arm, approved the establishment of a U.S.$30 million revolving credit facility by the IFC, SPDC and a local bank, despite protests from Nigerian environmental groups focused on a lack of consultation with civil society and on inappropriateness of working with Shell, given its history in Nigeria. The facility would provide access to credit for Nigerian oil service companies to assist them compete with international contractors. While the IFC did undertake some consultation, this was cursory, and the project is poorly designed in other respects: for example, there are no explicit provisions to ensure that the entrepreneurs benefiting come from the delta area itself nor that the IFC will monitor compliance with environmental and other standards.142 In March 2002, the IFC announced a partnership with Nigeria's Fate Foundation, a nonprofit organization, in a project to develop entrepreneurship and small business development in the delta area.143

The World Bank has established a website on "Best Practices in Dealing with the Social Impacts of Hydrocarbon Operations," in collaboration with a group of oil companies and nongovernmental organizations committed to the protection of the environment and mitigation or elimination of any adverse social impacts from oil and gas operations.144 The website remains a work in progress, however, and there are no mechanisms for monitoring company compliance with the recommendations. The Bank also conducted a review of its role in the extractive industries, which gives it the potential to take on stronger governance, transparency, and human rights roles.145 But this review will not be completed until 2003 and it is not clear whether the Bank will take on its recommendations; even if it does, they will take several years to implement.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Proper management of the oil revenues at all levels of government-federal, state, and local-is key to solving the problems that beset the Niger Delta, but the civilian government has shown little more commitment to transparency and fiscal good governance than the military. Since civilian government was restored, the IMF has supplied Nigeria with policy advice, technical assistance, and training, as well as financial support "for policies that will help achieve the country's economic and social objectives."146 In August 2000, it supported a government economic program with a U.S.$1 billion "stand-by arrangement." The objectives of the program were not met, and in October 2001, the IMF and the government agreed on an informal framework for the IMF to monitor economic policies over a six-month period. Such a program carried the potential to provide a transparent accounting of oil revenues, a necessary first step in allowing the Nigerian public to determine the scale of its resources in order to plan for social spending and hold government accountable. In March 2002, however, an IMF review concluded that "key targets relating to the implementation of macroeconomic policies were missed."147 The level of government spending already risked exceeding resources, and spending in 2002 could be even higher, which "could compromise the quality of government spending, reducing the social benefits."148 The IMF's Staff Monitored Program (SMP), an informal monitoring of government policies, was thus discontinued after the government withdrew from the SMP and indicated it would devise a "home-grown" program, taking account of Nigerian realities. However, it had little success in doing so: the executive and National Assembly deadlocked over competing proposals, and by September 2002 the executive's disregard for the National Assembly with regard to setting budgetary limits formed the basis of several charges in impeachment proceedings brought against President Obasanjo.149

The G8

    In June 2002, the G8 industrialized countries adopted an "Africa Action Plan," by which they agreed to support African leaders' own efforts to overcome obstacles to development in Africa through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).150 Among the commitments made are many relevant to improving the situation in the Niger Delta, including promoting participatory decision making, supporting the reform of the security sector, combating corruption, and helping Africa attract investment. It is important that the aim of greater international investment in Nigeria is not at the cost of the other aims, including respect for human rights.

Publish What You Pay
In June 2002, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations (including Human Rights Watch) launched a call to governments across the globe to insist that transnational resource extraction companies "Publish What You Pay."151 The coalition called for governments to ensure that oil, gas and mining companies publish net taxes, fees, royalties and other payments as a condition for being listed on international stock exchanges and financial markets. The Publish What You Pay campaign aims to help citizens hold their governments accountable for how these resource-related funds are managed and distributed. Mining, gas, and oil companies cannot control how governments spend taxes, royalties and fees. But they do have a responsibility to disclose the payments they make so citizens can hold their governments accountable. The coalition holds that companies that fail to do so are complicit in the disempowerment of the people of the countries to which the resources belong.

133 The principles are available at

134 "SPDC Response to Human Rights Watch Questions," May 31, 2002.

135 Ibid.

136 See Human Rights Watch letter to Vice President Richard Cheney, May 30, 2001, available at

137 Dave Clark, "US envoy in Nigeria as America looks to African oil," AFP, July 25, 2002.

138 Jim Lobe, "US Lawmakers, Israelis, push for more W African oil," InterPress Service, July 26, 2002; Carl Mortished, "US presses Africa to turn on the tap of crude oil," Times (London), July 29, 2002. Nigeria is already producing well over its nominal OPEC quota of 1.7 million bpd.

139 "Niger Delta Environmental Training Programme," Brief on Programme, FCO, 2001.

140 Nigeria-European Union Country Support Strategy and Indicative Programme for the period 2001-2007 (Brussels: European Union, 2001).

141 "World Bank approves $237m loan for Abuja," This Day, June 8, 2002.

142 "World Bank Delays Vote on Shell's Nigeria Fund After Criticism," Bloomberg, New York, June 15, 2001; Matthew Jones, "IFC postpones funding for Niger Delta," Financial Times (London), June 14, 2001; "IFC and Nigeria," IFC, August 2001. The IFC also approved a $2.5 million loan to construct a new hotel in Port Harcourt.

143 "IFC Partners with Nigerian Entrepreneurship Program to Promote Small Business Development in Niger Delta," IFC press release, March 14, 2002.

144 See

145 See

146 Gary G. Moser, IMF resident representative in Nigeria, "The IMF and Nigeria, an Enduring Relationship," This Day, April 15, 2002.

147 IMF, "Nigeria-Concluding Statement," March 6, 2002.

148 Ibid.

149 President Obasanjo proposed a budget of _840 billion (U.S.$6.5 billion), which lawmakers increased to _1.06 trillion ($7.73 billion).

150 See and

151 See

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