Ambassador Christian Bader speaking at the first EITI Conference on Wednesday.
The European Union Ambassador to South Sudan has urged the Juba government not only to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) but also ensure the transparent management of the natural resources of the youngest nation.
“Extractive Industries can be a blessing or a curse. The people managing them make the difference and the principles they decide to abide by,” Ambassador Christian Bader said during the opening of the first workshop organised by the South Sudan Government on the EITI in Juba on Wednesday.
“With South Sudan joining the EITI, local communities, international investors and partners in general and most of all, the South Sudanese citizens will have a public space to discuss and improve the management of extractive resources.”
The European diplomat said the EITI conference is a very welcome and timely development, especially as a recent Auditor General report showed gross mismanagement of oil resource proceeds, and when other damning reports on the environmental and health effects of oil exploration in country appear.
“The EU welcomes the engagements by different Ministers of the R-TGONU and is willing to accompany the country on a path of transparency. The South Sudan’s natural resources, such as oil, gas, metals and minerals belong to its citizens. The benefits of those resources must be used to support an inclusive economic growth and social development,” he appealed.
South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation convened the EITI Conference under the theme: Seeing results from natural resources!
The Ministers Beatrice Khamisa (Foreign Affairs), Pout Kang Chol (Petroleum), James Hoth Mai (Labour), attended the conference, joined by foreign representatives including French Ambassador Marc Trouyet, AU Ambassador Joram Biswaro, the Norwegian chargé, Pal Klouman Bekken, R-JMEC Interim Chairman Charles Gituai and UNDP Resident Representative Samuel Doe among others.