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General News of Friday, 30 July 2004

Source: GNA

Gov't urged to implement Extractive Industry Mechanism

Accra, July 30, GNA - Friends of the Earth (FOE)-Ghana on Friday called on the Government to press for the full implementation of the Extractive Industry Review (EIR) mechanism recommendations.

A release to the Ghana News Agency in Accra by FOE-Ghana said in order to arrive at realistic and achievable poverty reduction targets, it was necessary for the Government, which was presently a member of the World Bank's Board, to listen to the voices of the people and commit itself to the implementation of the Banks' own initiated EIR.

The EIR is mandated to identify the negative impacts of the Bank's operations in the extractive industries, assess whether the Bank's activities in these sectors could advance its mandate of poverty reduction through sustainable development and recommend the future role of the Bank in the oil, gas and mining industry.

The release said academic studies and the Bank's own reports found out that countries relying primarily on extractive industries tended to have higher levels of poverty, conflict and corruption than countries that had more diversified economies.

It said it was important that the Government recognized that support for the EIR had come from a broad spectrum of civil society organisations including indigenous people, labour unions, human rights and environmental groups as well as academics and politicians around the world.

"This ground breaking three-year EIR exercise, the most comprehensive global review to date on the impact of public investments in oil, gas and mining on developing economies, concluded that the World Bank must put in place many new changes in order to deliver on its core mandate of poverty alleviation."

The EIR recommended that the Bank should stop financing the oil, gas and mining projects sectors.

It also recommended the protection of areas of high biodiversity and an aggressive commitment to investments in renewable energy. 30 July 04

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