Statement on UNEP's Ogoniland Environmental Assessment Report Mon, Jul 18, 2011

UNEP has published a statement following reports in the Dutch media regarding the forthcoming Ogoniland Environmental Assessment Report.

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Ogoni community input and assistance was a key element of UNEP's project

Nairobi, 18 July 2011 - In response to reports mainly in the Dutch media over the past 48 hours, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) wishes to clarify several points.

  • The forthcoming launch of its independent Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland report is on track and its release has not been delayed as a result of security concerns.

  • UNEP's report contains the findings and recommendations from its two-year assessment of the environmental and public health impacts of oil contamination in Ogoniland, Nigeria, conducted at the request of the Government of Nigeria.

  • An extensive peer review of the findings has been carried out by external scientists. The study represents an unprecedented effort to examine the location, nature, extent and implications of oil contamination in Ogoniland.

  • In early July 2011, UNEP informed the relevant authorities in Nigeria that the report will be ready for publication as of the last week of July, and proposed that the launch takes place in the capital Abuja.

  • Once the report has been released, it will be made available to the public and the national and international media via the UNEP website.

  • Claims that the independent report either exonerates some stakeholders or blames others for the oil spills are wrong - as has been previously publicly stated.

  • UNEP hopes the report and its findings will catalyze cooperation and a response to decades of oil-related environmental challenges and provide for the people of Ogoniland the opportunity for a sustainable future.

  • During 14 months of fieldwork in Ogoniland and its surrounding creeks, UNEP teams collected samples of soil, water, sediment, air and plant and fish tissue for analysis. The samples have been tested for more than 400 substances, or analytes, such as petroleum hydrocarbons and heavy metals.

  • Community input and assistance was a key element of the project and UNEP deeply appreciates the community support, particularly the widespread contribution of local knowledge of oil contamination stretching back over several decades.

  • UNEP had Community Liaison Assistants liaising closely with local communities in Ogoniland, and as part of the project, extensive consultations and discussion groups have been organized by UNEP. The main local academic partner was the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.

  • At the project's peak, some 30 local staff were employed with UNEP's project team based in Port Harcourt, who worked alongside international experts. The UNEP project team was supported in the field by voluntary community representatives.

The content of this statement can be attributed to Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson:

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