On Tuesday 18th June, Grassroot Diplomat was kindly invited to an event organised by the Ambassador Partnership. As part of its re-branding launch with the Maritime Asset Security and Training (MAST), the event analysed oil security in Africa and the Middle East with former British Ambassador Sir William Patey KCMG and former Ghanaian Ambassador Patrick Hayford as its keynote speakers.
With the rise of terrorism, piracy and resource conflicts, oil security is becoming even more of a complex field to work in. All key stakeholders are dealing with new realities and new layers of accountability that largely involves the grassroots. While Sir Patey provided a good insight into how the Arab States respond to threats, risks and challenges, Mr Hayford asked many high hitting questions that are already being addressed by Grassroot Diplomat.
Throughout his presentation, Mr Hayford threw questions at an audience made up of corporate lawyers, financial advisors and resource consultants as to whether parliamentarians were competent and had adequate access to real time information, and if bills were just written by oil companies? Having left the service, Mr Hayford commented on the inefficient lack of regulation and legislation managed by government and how appalled he was that the grassroots were continually left out of discussions that directly affected them.
The grassroots are becoming better mobilised in making their voices heard by companies and governments. Local people are putting pressure on industries and the government, who are backed up by their own lawyers and making their impact felt by those at the top. Communities impacted by oil drilling should be brought into discussion, but unfortunately, it is still the case that contracts are made first with the people left as an afterthought.
As part of its partnership with Ambassador Partnership, MAST deals with commercial disputes with a political dimension. There is, indeed, a need for corporations to work closely with diplomats to ensure that there is security on land and sea, but it is also important that people of all nation and divide talk together on common grounds.
The words echoed by Mr Hayford reflected very strongly to the work and mission of Grassroot Diplomat, and we would like to thank Ambassador Partnership for their continued support and insight to the complex issue of oil and security in Africa and the Middle East.