UN Environment - Oil for development partnership

Finding substantial reserves of oil and natural gas offers significant opportunities for the social, economic and political development of any country. When managed in an efficient and equitable manner, with social and environmental safeguards in place, the petroleum industry can enhance human development.

However, without following environmental standards, the opportunities brought by oil and gas resources can be wasted. Oil and gas exploitation can pose significant risks, causing serious environmental damage and compromising public health and safety.

As the world transitions towards low carbon economies to mitigate climate change, it is recognized that fossil fuels will continue to play a role in the global energy mix. Countries with hydrocarbon resources can benefit from over 30 years of international best practice on environmental management in the oil and gas sectors to support sustainable development. Enabling countries to access this know-how is the key goal of the new partnership between UN Environment and the Government of Norway’s Oil for Development Programme. Norway’s Oil for Development Programme currently cooperates with 13 countries: Angola, Cuba, Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

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Through this partnership, UN Environment will enhance national capacities for improved environmental management in the oil and gas sectors in the 13 countries supported by Norway. UN Environment thus seeks to reduce environmental risks associated with the development of hydrocarbon resources. UN Environment provides these main services:

UN Environment has experience working with the oil industry in fragile and vulnerable countries and delivering capacity building support. It can draw from its in-house expertise and global network of partners, which will complement the specialized assistance provided by Norway.

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UN Environment carried out a comprehensive environmental assessment of oil contamination in Ogoniland, in the Niger delta, with the Ogoni people,  the Government of Nigeria and Shell Petroleum Development Corporation as key partners.