ANEEJ and EWMI to Launch the NEAT Initiative at The Carter Center in Atlanta during COSP10 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption
BENIN CITY, NIGERIA. December 5, 2023… The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and the East-West Management Institute (EWMI) are pleased to announce the launch of the Nigerian Endowments through Asset Transformation (NEAT) Initiative during the 10th Session of UNCAC Conference of the State Parties (COPS10) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The launch will take place during off-site panel at The Carter Center on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at 3:30pm EST.
The NEAT Initiative is pursuing the potential application of a well-documented framework—entitled “Philanthropication through Privatization,” or PtP—whereby assets deriving from the transfer or monetization of public or quasi-public assets are used to endow transparent, independent, community-responsive foundations. Nearly 650 cases of foundations endowed by PtP-style transactions have been documented globally, including some of the largest and most-well known philanthropic institutions in the world. The NEAT Initiative aims to bring this approach to Nigeria to help address pressing development needs, empower communities, and strengthen Nigeria’s CSO sector by tapping into proceeds from three assets classes, including repatriated stolen assets, extractive industry proceeds, and debt swaps. More information about the NEAT Initiative is available at neatinitiative.org.
The need to develop sustainable, locally endowed, community-responsive funding sources to support Nigeria’s crucial CSOs is urgent. As shared by David Ugolor, Executive Director of ANEEJ: “Nigerian CSOs rely disproportionately on international donors, with more than 500,000 organizations competing for scarce donor funds even as Official Development Assistance to Nigeria has declined from $11.43 billion in 2006 to just $3.38 billion in 2020. This justifies why alternative funding sources for development work like the NEAT initiative should be explored.”
EWMI’s President, Adrian Hewryk, shared: “EWMI launched the PtP Program in 2008 because we believe that a strong civil society sector is crucial to addressing the needs of citizens around the world. To fulfil this role, local CSOs need to be able to rely on sustainable, responsive funding sources. The PtP model holds great potential to address Nigeria’s challenging development needs—including pervasive poverty, broad access to education and healthcare, corruption, and climate change adaptation—and we are pleased to bring this proven approach to Nigeria in collaboration with ANEEJ.”
ABOUT THE LAUNCH PANEL
During a December COSP10 off-site event, ANEEJ and EWMI will present a panel that will provide an overview of the NEAT Initiative, and a deep dive into how this approach—as demonstrated by the previous success of the BOTA Foundation in Kazakhstan—can ensure that, when assets that have been stolen from Nigeria are returned to the Nigerian people, they remain out of the corruption stream and are used to mitigate the harms caused by the underlying corruption.
The NEAT panel will take place at 3:30pm EST on Tuesday, December 12, as part of “Exploring multi-faceted approaches to prevent corruption and enhance accountability,” an afternoon of panels hosted by The Carter Center. The Carter Center is approximately 3 miles/15 minutes driving distance from the Georgia World Congress Center, where official United Nations Convention Against Corruption COSP10 events will take place. The Carter Center event is free to attend in-person or via live stream, however registration is required. To register, please visit the Carter Center’s Eventbrite listing here.
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) is a non-government organization whose goal is to amplify the voice of the weak, the less privileged and the marginalized groups in the society including women, youths, and People Living With Disabilities in order to increase their participation in the democratic decision-making process. As its basis, ANEEJ believes in a democratic system for managing human interest and operates within two broad focal areas namely environmental and economic justice. Specifically, ANEEJ implements projects relating to governance and democracy, human rights (including migration and development issues), anti-corruption, peace building and conflict resolution, development effectiveness, environment including water, sanitation, and hygiene among others. Since 1997, ANEEJ has championed the call for stoppage of illicit financial flows from Nigeria and other developing countries to the secrecy jurisdictions in western countries. It has in same vein championed the campaign for the repatriation of looted assets of Nigeria stashed in Western banks and was active in calling for a UN instrument against corruption, money laundering, and illicit financial flows. In April 2016, the UNCAC Coalition Coordination Committee (CCC) approved ANEEJ’s application to become an ordinary member of the new Association: UNCAC Coalition. In addition to their on-going work in relation to the three identified asset classes, ANEEJ has been involved in the initial PtP exploratory work in Nigeria since 2019, including direct outreach, research, and coalition building.
Founded in 1988, the East-West Management Institute (EWMI) is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to strengthening civil society, economic and legal reform globally and a worldwide leader in rule of law promotion and civil society development. EWMI’s success is based on over 30 years of field experience in over 30 countries, including implementation of numerous programs throughout Southeast Asia, as well as in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union. EWMI works to strengthen democratic systems, emphasizing the importance of bringing together government, civil society, and the private sector to solve problems. With funding from USAID, the U.S. Department of State, U.K. DfID, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Union, and various private foundations, EWMI has developed justice sector institutions in emerging democracies that are accountable, capable, and transparent; has played an instrumental role in building sustainable civil society institutions that advocate for their citizens, in promoting governmental responsiveness, and in assisting governments with privatization; and has pioneered efforts in developing countries to monitor and encourage corporate social responsibility. EWMI concentrates on developing and leaving local institutions that are accountable, capable, and transparent, and thus able to constructively fulfill their mandate long after donors depart. In cooperation with the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, EWMI launched the PtP Project in 2008.
The US government is hosting the 10th Session of UNCAC Conference of the State Parties (COPS10) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA from 10th – 15th December 2023 at the Georgia World Congress Center. The conference will gather global leaders to make policy decisions and to continue its work in charting the way forward for the international community in the prevention and fight against corruption.