The Ford Foundation commits $ 3 million to support ESG initiatives related to the resource sector in West Africa

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Focusing primarily on Nigeria and Ghana, the fund will be hosted by the African Center for Energy Policy to support a network of resource governance organizations and civic actors, anti-corruption organizations, budget advocates and local and community organizations addressing inequalities in the region’s natural resource sector.

“Climate change reflects a fundamental failure of global development that is rooted in the extraction of natural resources,” the private US foundation said in a statement. “In West Africa, the extraction of metals, minerals and fossil fuels has exacerbated inequalities and caused severe environmental damage leading to climate change.

In the Foundation’s view, whether natural resources worsen or reduce inequalities depends on who controls those resources, how the benefits derived from them are distributed among different communities, and whether these resources are used in such a way as to promote the restoration or degradation of ecosystems.

“With renewed efforts for the energy transition, there is an opportunity to transform the natural resources sector to embrace equitable governance and sustainable practices,” said Anthony Bebbington, Ford’s program director on natural resources and fuel. climate change, in the brief. “An energy transition that is both low carbon and socially just will be an asset that will help economies to prosper in West Africa while mitigating the impacts of climate change. The key to this is to focus on the needs of local communities affected by resource extraction and to rethink development models and energy systems that benefit communities and support the planet.

According to Bebbington, the decline in financial support associated with the covid-19 pandemic makes it difficult for civil society organizations in West Africa to effectively promote policy actions that target inequalities and injustice.

Areas of intervention

Given the situation that NGOs in the region face, the new fund will support organizations whose programming ensures that revenues from resource extraction are equitably distributed to meet the development priorities of citizens, especially communities. impoverished, people with disabilities and communities affected by resource extraction. .

Another area of ​​interest is that of an active civil society that demands transparent, efficient and effective allocation of income, expenditure and accounting of income from natural resource extraction to help promote socio-economic development. fair.

The fund will also provide government, non-government and industry groups working to advance an African solution to financing for development that moves away from a model that keeps countries in debt and delays socio-economic progress.

A final key point will be made on industrial groups to ensure that the extraction of natural resources takes into account and mitigates the environmental and social impacts on host communities and their inhabitants.

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