Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Techniques (SCAT) under the Bodo Mediation process: Putting the record straight

  • The Bodo Mediation Initiative (BMI) was established under the auspices of the former Dutch Ambassador who, until 2015 co-chaired the mediation process to deliver the clean-up of Bodo. The mediation is between SPDC and the Bodo Community with representatives from UNEP, NOSDRA, Rivers State Government, the Dutch Embassy and a coalition of NGOs in the Niger Delta, NACGOND. The BMI strives for clean-up of the Bodo community to international standards and the purpose of the Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Technique (SCAT) under the BMI was to form judgments on the best remedial methods applicable to each grid at individual sites.

  • The SCAT approach was recommended by the UNEP representative in the BMI (Dr. David Little) as the best method to ensure effective clean-up to international standards. SCAT allows clean-up action to be selected and implemented based on site specific findings during the detailed site assessment. This was accepted by BMI in order to ensure that clean-up is carried out to international standards and best practices.
  • A preliminary SCAT (Pre-SCAT) mission (which is basically a reconnaissance visit to have a visual assessment of the impacted area) was carried out from 4th to 15th May 2015. The main SCAT mission (which included taking sediment samples from the impacted area for laboratory analysis of the hydrocarbon compound) was carried out from 3rdAugust to 25th August 2015. It is important to note that the area covered by the SCAT included areas impacted by the 2007/2008 spills caused by equipment failure as well as areas impacted by artisanal refining activities.
  • The results of the pre-SCAT and main SCAT were issued by the SCAT team leader, Dr. Erich Gundlach, in June 2015 for the pre-SCAT and in September 2015 for the main SCAT.
  • The SCAT results confirmed areas of pollution and the need for clean-up. These results did not raise new concerns because they were not different from existing observations from earlier reports. At a meeting held on 18th July 2016 with members of the Bodo Community, the BMI chair discussed the observations in the SCAT report and emphasized that the only possible way to mitigate against continued exposure to the negative consequences of the polluted environment was to immediately commence the clean- up and remediation exercise.
  • The SCAT results were worrisome but not surprising. They confirmed that the degree of oil contamination in the Bodo Creek was high. This, however, did not warrant immediate emergency measures – the extent of the pollution was known, people were already aware they had to stay out of polluted areas – but rather emphasized the need for clean-up.
  • SCAT is a cradle to grave process. It was to continue throughout the duration of the project to monitor and evaluate progress. Sadly, the clean-up process was shut down by Bodo community members two weeks after the report was released, because these community members wanted to receive money rather than have their Bodo community cleaned-up.
  • As of then, the main priority of the BMI was to ensure that all parties, in particular the Bodo community, would re-commit to the BMI process and clean-up of the Bodo community. The SCAT report results were kept under consideration until the clean-up could be relaunched.
  • The Bodo mediation process is a delicate process based on trust and confidentiality. Documents are shared with relevant BMI stakeholders on a need to know basis. The SCAT report was shared with relevant BMI stakeholders and its contents were used to inform the Bodo community.
  • It is important to note that project director Kay Holtzman’s six month contract was not extended following constant appraisal/evaluation by the BMI technical team, which consisted of the Bodo delegation, SPDC, NOSDRA and Min of Environment. In view of Mr Kay Holtzman’s poor performance the BMI technical team recommended that a more competent project director should be sourced for.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Bodo Mediation Initiative (BMI).

For all questions on this press release, please contact Inemo Samiama, BMI chair person:

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Source:: Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Techniques (SCAT) under the Bodo Mediation process: Putting the record straight


Categories: AFRICA | Tags:

Saudi Arabia takes steps to boost trade with TIR – the global customs transit system

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced today its decision to accede to the global customs transit system for moving goods across international borders – the United Nations TIR Convention – ( and to make the system operational in 2017.

Due to its strategic location, the KSA is the critical link between the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the wider Middle Eastern region. The country’s accession to TIR, with its benefits of seamless cross-border connectivity, will therefore open new road corridors along the spine of the Arabian Gulf – transforming the trade potential of the region.

Saudi Customs hosted IRU – the world’s road transport organisation – ( with IRU Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto, in Riyadh this week, at a workshop offering insights and guidance on the application of TIR to streamline trade facilitation.

Ahmed Alhakbani, Director General of Saudi Customs, reinforced that the Kingdom is one of the most important transit countries in the region and he confirmed the decision to begin implementation of TIR this year.

The workshop provided a framework to build awareness among the pertinent stakeholders and to discuss the practical aspects of accession and implementation.

Umberto de Pretto explained,
“This workshop demonstrates the seriousness with which Saudi Customs approaches accession to TIR. IRU is highly motivated to facilitate knowledge-sharing and to help generate a clear understanding of the TIR system. Our aim is to communicate its simplicity, efficacy and compelling capability to transform the region’s trade potential.”

Participants at the workshop unanimously acknowledged the advantages and benefits of TIR, gaining an understanding of how Saudi Arabia’s accession and implementation of the TIR Convention will facilitate trade in a secured manner, with seamless intermodal connectivity.

The TIR workshop supports discussions on improving and developing the transport sector as outlined in the Saudi Arabian Vision 2030 and National Transformation Program 2020, with the objective of positioning Saudi Arabia as a logistics hub linking Asia, Africa and Europe.

Stakeholders from a comprehensive cross-section of both the public and private sectors attended, notably from the Ministries of Transport, and Commerce and Investment, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, the Council of Saudi Chambers, the Saudi Port Authority, customs clearance agencies and a number of leading transport operators.

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Road Transport Organisation (IRU).

Karen Mazzoli
Senior Manager, Media and Communications
Tel: +41 22 918 2796
Mobile: +41 79 633 8953


About TIR
TIR ( is the only global customs transit system for moving goods across international borders. Supporting trade and development for more than 60 years, TIR is governed by the United Nations TIR Convention, overseen by UNECE, and managed by IRU. TIR stands for “Transports Internationaux Routiers”. One of the most successful international transport conventions, TIR makes border crossings faster, more secure and more efficient, reducing transport costs, and boosting trade and development.
Watch the video “What is the TIR System?”:

About IRU
IRU ( is the world’s road transport organisation, promoting economic growth, prosperity and safety through the sustainable mobility of people and goods. Founded in 1948, IRU has members and activities in more than 100 countries. IRU conceived TIR in 1949, and manages the system to this day.

Source:: Saudi Arabia takes steps to boost trade with TIR – the global customs transit system


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The Global Gig Economy and its Implications for African Digital Workers

Professor Graham, addressing the 4th UNI Africa Conference in Dakar, Senegal (, warned of the danger of ‘parasitic capitalism’ where digital companies give little back to the places where they are embedded and platform workers are left to fend for themselves.

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings’ said research into the Future World of Work followed by action was crucial, “We have to face the reality – the research that has been undertaken by Oxford University, the World Economic Forum, the OECD and others all points to a bleak future of employment which cuts across many sectors. This poses policy questions at all levels and there needs to be more urgency in the policy response.”

Professor Graham, the Oxford-based digital expert, drew on his recently launched paper “Digital Labour and Development” and the corresponding report “The Risks and Rewards of Online Gig Work At the Global Margins.”



Professor Graham said, “There is an alternative to the ‘ ‘ and ‘Mechanical Turk’ model which is unfortunately successfully pushing the platform economy in its image. Unions must work together to produce an alternative which safeguards the rights of workers. There is no time for excuses because the new structures are being put into place now.”

Professor Graham proposed concrete solutions centered around creating bargaining power for digital platform workers including:

“We could imagine organisations committed to transparency and identifying best practices doing a lot to ensure that workers are paid living wages, have appropriate social and economic protections, and aren’t saddled with an undue amount of risk. So, a Fair Work foundation instead of a Fairtrade foundation – verifying and certifying these sorts of things.

“We can also use what we know about the socially disembedded nature of this work, to push for more of it to be sourced through firms, social enterprises, non-profits, and of course cooperatives – of the non-platform – variety – that adhere to local labour laws.”

“The geographically dispersed nature of digital work platforms has made it extremely hard to regulate. There are many who thrive in that environment. But the role of labour regulation should be to help the most vulnerable. One solution may be that employment status should be established in the place that a service is actually provided. Why should an employer based in Germany or the US be able to avoid adhering to labour laws and minimum standards just because they used a digital platform to connect with a worker?”

Professor Graham advocated creating a transnational digital workers’ union: “If we lack the physical proximity that unions traditionally needed, we at least need some sort of shared occupational identity…One explicit role for a digital workers’ union could be building class consciousness amongst the varied workers, part-time, temporary, full-time, entrepreneurs etc. Highlighting the precariousness of this work. Highlighting that workers are receiving many of the risks of entrepreneurship, but few of the rewards.”

Professor Graham concluded that he was not pessimistic about the Future World of Work but that we should not shy away from the challenges. He pointed out that some African countries were taking the initiative such as Nigeria’s government which has developed a programme called ‘Microwork for Jobs creation.’ Kenya’s government is planning something similar.

Instead of imagining digital work as being undertaken in digital spaces, beyond the realm of regulation and worker-led governance, let’s remember it all happens somewhere. Digital work always has a geography. And we can use what we know about the economic geographies of digital work to envision and strive towards alternate and fairer future for working people in Africa and around the world.

Distributed by APO on behalf of 4th UNI Africa Regional Conference.

Contact Professor Mark Graham:

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Source:: The Global Gig Economy and its Implications for African Digital Workers


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Famine risk, Alfano: “Emergency assistance from Italy for Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen”

“Responding to the appeal made by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, we have arranged, through Italian Cooperation, a package of humanitarian aid worth 10 million euros in response to the very serious food crisis that is endangering the survival of 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia, including 1.4 million children under 5 with acute malnutrition problems”.

This statement was made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, specifying that the actions in question will be implemented by “the UN Agencies working on the front line of the colossal human effort currently under way, in particular the World Food Programme and UNICEF, as well as the Committee of the International Red Cross”.

Specifically, the action taken by Italian Cooperation will provide funding of three million euros for the WFP and UNICEF to distribute food rations and water in the States of North Eastern Nigeria, with particular attention being paid to children and pregnant women. Two million euros will be destined for Somalia for the distribution of food and medical assistance, entrusted to the WFP and the International Red Cross, respectively, in the areas most seriously hit by the drought.

In South Sudan as well, Italian Cooperation will be working with the WFP and UNICEF, providing 2 million euros to fund a programme of school canteens and to combat acute malnutrition in children. Finally, three million euros will be allocated to Yemen for food distribution by the WFP and to provide assistance in the health sector and support for hospitals with the Yemeni Red Crescent.

“The sums put in place,” concluded Minister Alfano, “are not the end of our humanitarian commitment to the affected countries. We shall soon be making further resources available to fund other emergency activities, the implementation of which will be entrusted to Italian civil society organisations”.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy.

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Source:: Famine risk, Alfano: “Emergency assistance from Italy for Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen”


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