Analysis of Offshore Oil Plans in Senegal’s Saloum Delta

ELAW has collaborated with Dr. Fatima Diallo and her organization, CRADESC, since 2021 to support communities that will be directly impacted if planned oil exploration moves forward off Senegal’s Southwest Coast. The Saloum Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest Ramsar wetlands in West Africa, with over 200 islands and islets.

Dr. Diallo of CRADESC (right) presents the conclusions of the EIES review. PHOTO: CRADESC.

“Oil development near the Saloum Delta would threaten this integral wetland ecosystem that holds relics of human habitation over millennia and was named a UNESCO site of exceptional cultural value,” says Dr. Diallo. The Saloum Delta already faces the impacts of a changing climate, and this would be Senegal’s first offshore oil development. 

ELAW and CRADESC worked together to publish a technical analysis of the Environmental and Social Impact Evaluation (EIES) for the project. We found numerous deficiencies. For example, the project proponents failed to plan for oil spill prevention, underestimated the likely impacts of oil spills and oil operations on local communities and ecosystems, and failed to plan for managing waste produced by the oil extraction activities.

CRADESC supports local communities to participate in decisions that affect their lives, livelihoods, and the resources on which they depend. Oil exploitation in a marine environment poses extreme risks, and communities whose economy relies mainly on fisheries have a right to know about the real risks, and be involved in decisions about whether to take those risks.

CRADESC will use the technical analysis in workshops with communities that would be impacted and with other civil society organizations that are concerned about oil in a world suffering the impacts of fossil fuel industry abuses.

The EIES is available in French on CRADESC’s website.

2023 ELAW Fellow: Dr. Fatima Diallo

While in Eugene this spring, Dr. Diallo collaborated with our Law and Science Teams to protect the Saloum Delta from offshore oil development, empower agricultural communities in the Niayes region, and ensure that a battery recycling plant in the village of Ndiakhatt does not contaminate residents and the surrounding environment. Fatima also worked with our Development Team to strengthen CRADESC and identify funding prospects. Read more.

We will keep you informed of our progress with CRADESC to ensure that communities understand the potential impacts of oil development near the Saloum Delta and have a seat at the table.

Bern Johnson
Executive Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide