Policy advocacy training on natural resources kicks-off at AMDISS
Mary Ajith 4th left, AMDISS chairperson, Michael Duku AMDISS Executive Director, Denis Musinguzi the facilitator, CSO representatives and the media (photo by Woja Emmanuel Wani)
By Woja Emmanuel Wani
A four day advocacy training on Oil Resources for Journalists and Civil Society Organizations on Monday kicked-off at the Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS).
The training is aimed at highlighting policy issues on access to information from the oil companies and the government through Civil Society Organizations and the Media.
The exercise which brought representatives from the petroleum commission, access to information, civil society and representatives from Norwegian People’s Aid was launched under the theme “Policy Advocacy on Oil Resources” is expected to continue for three days.
Speaking at the opening session, the Executive Director AMDISS Mr. Michael Duku explained the training was aimed at enhancing both the civil society and the media on important areas the public needed to know about the extractive industries and its implications on the citizens.
“This policy advocacy is aiming at strengthening civil society and also equipping journalists with applicable knowledge on how they can go when it comes to issues of natural resources to ensure transparency in these sectors,” Duku said.
Duku said the oil is the only economic backbone of the country which constitutes over 98% of the country’s economy prompting for issues of proper management and allocation.
Meanwhile the Chairperson of AMDISS, Mary Ajith stated that the workshop was looking on how resources are utilized and how much quantity and quality of the oil is being produced and used daily.
She acknowledged how vital the training is for journalists in respect to raising awareness to the communities where extraction is practiced.
“The civil society and media are supposed to act as eyes and ears of the society through educating and raising awareness about the use of oil revenue and dangers that arise as a result of extraction,” she said.
The AMDISS chair said she expected a fruitful outcome from the training to mitigate challenges facing the nation.
She urged Journalists to do in-depth or investigative reporting of the dangers of local extraction as many people have been buried from digging underground natural resources.
On his part the chairperson of United and Safe the Nation, Mr. Ayar Deng Monyluach cited that the civil society with joint cooperation of the media and government will work in collaboration to look critically into the issues surrounding the transparency in the oil sector in the country.
Last week, the civil society coalition on natural resources issued a press statement expressing concerns and dismay over oil agreement arrangements which mandated Khartoum to be the overall over South Sudan oil.
The chairperson of the CSCNR Mr. Charles Onak Judo said that the recent efforts in the peace agreement in Khartoum were based on vested interests on South Sudan oil.
He said the progress made in Khartoum is a positive sign of peace, but it was paramount that parties should not compromise South Sudan’s natural resources particularly its petroleum to foreign interests.
He added that it was saddening that South Sudanese political elites are giving away the country’s only main source of revenue to foreign interests at the expense of the citizens.
Chapter 4 of the agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan 2015 provided resource, economic and financial management arrangement by South Sudanese themselves.