Issue-Specific Guidance and Tools

Issue Specific Guidance and Tools

In 2012, launching new Performance Standards to guide the environmental and social sustainability of its investments, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), established special safeguards for indigenous peoples. Under the Indigenous Peoples Performance Standard 7 (PS7), operators would be required to identify indigenous peoples affected by IFC investments and investigate whether conditions were present that would require the client to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of those indigenous peoples. By 2020, FPIC had only been required of clients no more than four times. This research looks at how PS7 is applied and limited, and what IFC can do to more fulsomely implement it. Dialogue between IFC and NomoGaia provided.

ABSTRACT: “In an age of globalization, free trade should be synonymous with prosperity for all. Yet too often small farmers, indigenous peoples, people with HIV and others are left out of the picture. The Future of Human Rights Impact Assessments of Trade Agreements proposes a new way to make free trade work for all people. It examines how trade pacts can benefit people but can also threaten their basic human rights – to access food, medicines and education or to protect their cultural heritage – and develops a step-by-step process to identify the human impacts of trade before trade pacts are finalized. A case study examines the impact of a US-Central American trade agreement on access to medicines in Costa Rica to demonstrate how the step-by-step process works in practice. The process works, but more efforts are needed to make sure such assessments of trade policies become standard practice. Human rights NGOs and academics but also governments should lead the way in the future. The Future of Human Rights Impact Assessments of Trade Agreements is important for all people who believe that globalization can do more, not just for corporations and the economy, but for everyone, even the poorest.

ABSTRACT: “This report clarifies the relationships between business, human rights and water and answers some of the key questions that arise when they are considered together. It makes the case for integrating human rights considerations, including those relating to water, into the policies and practices of business. Given the international political consensus that has developed, more generally about the responsibility of companies to respect human rights, and specifically about water as a human right, the report anticipates that governments and intergovernmental organisations will increasingly call on businesses to be transparent and accountable for their impacts in relation to water, in human rights terms…”

ABSTRACT: “The human right to water has recently been recognized by both the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. As the mining industry interacts with water on multiple levels, it is important that these interactions respect the human right to water. Currently, a disconnect exists between mine site water management practices and the recognition of water from a human rights perspective. It has been argued that the Minerals Council of Australia Water Accounting Framework can be used to strengthen the connection between water management and human rights. This article extends this connection through the use of a Social Water Assessment Protocol (SWAP). The SWAP is a scoping tool consisting of a set of questions classified into taxonomic themes under leading topics with suggested sources of data that enable mine sites to better understand the local water context in which they operate. Three of the themes contained in the SWAP – gender, Indigenous peoples and health – are discussed to demonstrate how the protocol may be useful in assisting mining companies to consider their impacts on the human right to water.”

ABSTRACT: “‘Children’s Rights in Impact Assessments’ is designed to guide companies in assessing their policies and processes as they relate to their responsibility to respect children’s rights and their commitment to support children’s rights. This tool should be used as part of ongoing assessments of human rights impacts, as outlined in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The criteria it offers can be used to review critical areas of potential or actual impact on children’s rights, based on the Children’s Rights and Business Principles. Respecting and supporting children’s rights requires business to both prevent harm and actively safeguard children’s best interests. By integrating children’s rights considerations into ongoing impact assessments, a company is taking an important step towards recognizing children as rights holders and stakeholders, and towards understanding its potential and actual impacts on children. Guidance on specific actions a company can take to address the identified risks to children is provided throughout the tool.”

ABSTRACT: “Responding to violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people worldwide, in the light of the universality of human rights, this paper demonstrates the need, benefits and opportunities for including sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in human rights impact assessment (HRIA) and related impact assessments. The United Nations legal framework (including the 2011 Resolution on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) and supporting international legal documents such as the Yogyakarta Principles provide the mandate and basis for this paper. The paper develops a typology of documents related to SOGI aspects in HRIA and provides examples of SOGI-centred HRIA approaches, specifically the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill and post-earthquake disaster relief in Haiti. Our findings identify research-practice gaps in modes and technicalities of the pioneer SOGI-centred HRIA cases, and attest to an absence of methodologies, tools and indicators. We call upon impact assessment practitioners to develop and use tools that are inclusive of gays, lesbians and bisexuals as well as transgender and intersex people.”

ABSTRACT: “High risk circumstances are situations in which the likelihood of severe human rights impacts is greatest.” High risk circumstances “should be the highest priority for company action since they present the greatest risks to individuals” and they “present high risk to the business as well, including commercial, reputational, investor related and legal risks.” Conducting human rights due diligence can be particularly challenging because high risk circumstances are “more complex and fluid. There may be practical difficulties in engaging directly with some affected individuals and groups. The capacity to manage identified risks and impacts may be beyond the sole control of the business enterprise. Key lessons and insights from business practitioners, further elaborated in this resource, include: To understand the source of risk, and determine where there are high risk circumstances, companies can ask themselves a set of targeted questions, looking at the operating context, the nature of the company’s business relationships, the nature of the company’s business activities, and the types of people who could be affected by the company’s activities (or activities of its business relationships). A listing of these diagnostic questions is an annex in this resource; Engage internal stakeholders in ways that: (a) raise awareness of high risk circumstances, (b) create expectations about identifying and escalating these types of risks, (c) ensure that due diligence is ongoing and responsive to changes in circumstances; Engage external stakeholders in ways that: (a) are integrated into more robust strategies, (b) involve independent third parties in support of company efforts, (c) enable the business to push information to stakeholders and empower stakeholders to push information to the company. Across these insights and examples, one crosscutting message becomes clear: while the tendency within many companies is to seek greater control over and protection of information as risks increase, in reality, enhanced transparency is critical for success.

ABSTRACT: “Respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights must become more prominent in both the processes and outcomes of resettlement. We have developed a Human Rights-Based Approach to Resettlement for use by project operators, rights holders and governments so that they can better understand what the corporate responsibility to respect human rights entails in situations of involuntary resettlement and expropriation. We outline the procedural human rights principles and resettlement outcomes that must be achieved in order for resettlement to be considered human rights compliant. We also consider how human rights are addressed in the International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 5 on land acquisition and involuntary resettlement. We suggest that the International Finance Corporation’s largely silent approach towards the private sector’s human rights responsibilities potentially understates the significant human rights risks that characterize displacement and involuntary resettlement.”

ABSTRACT: “Because children are affected by a wide range of issues, a comprehensive business approach will consider child rights throughout the company’s management systems and strategies. The Toolkit is designed to assist any of those in the mining sector who are responsible for designing and implementing strategies related to social and environmental performance at the project level. It provides 10 concise tools for improving social and environmental performance towards respecting and advancing children’s rights in the following areas: 1. Impact assessment 2. Stakeholder engagement 3. Resettlement 4. In-migration 5. Environment 6. Security 7. Health and safety 8. Working conditions 9. Protecting children from sexual violence 10. Social investment.”

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