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UN Environment Programme

In 2012, the Nigerian government set up the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) to lead and co-ordinate the activities needed to implement the recommendations of a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on oil contamination in Ogoniland. This is an area of the Niger Delta from which SPDC withdrew in 1993 following many years of attacks on staff and facilities. The setting up of HYPREP is an essential first step, which SPDC has welcomed and pledged to support. While awaiting government leadership on the UNEP report, in 2012 SPDC undertook a range of activities related to the report in Ogoniland, where it was able to do so. These included helping to fund the provision of emergency water supplies and installing permanent water facilities in one affected area, launching a programme across Ogoniland that delivered primary health-care services to more than 50,000 people, and cleaning up a number of sites where SPDC was granted access. But as the UNEP report described, before clean-up activities can be effective, it is crucial to put an end to the widespread theft and illegal refining of crude oil which continues to cause environmental damage in Ogoniland and the wider Niger Delta (see letter from Mutiu Sunmonu).