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IPIECA attends Third United Nations Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights

IPIECA was at the Third UN Forum on Business and Human Rights held in Geneva on 2-4 December to share with external stakeholders the progress industry has made on implementing the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs). The coordinated voice of IPIECA and its members throughout the Forum highlighted the significance industry places on respecting human rights.

IPIECA was represented on two parallel sessions at the event. Shane Boladeras, BG Group, presented during a session on ‘Embedding the UN Guiding Principles in decision-making and processes’ where he highlighted IPIECA’s work on grievance mechanisms.

During a session organised by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Anupama Mohan, Statoil, presented IPIECA’s pilot project that field-tested approaches to community grievance mechanisms (CGMs) in different operating contexts and geographies, including onshore and offshore, unconventional and conventional, and in settings with indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. The learnings from these pilots led to the CGMs Toolbox, published in May 2014 and the forthcoming Manual on Community grievance mechanisms in the oil and gas industry.

Anupama outlined that CGMs provide a means for dialogue between company and community and can prevent conflict from escalating. She emphasised that the key to an effective mechanism is to ensure the community participates in the design phase as this will generate trust in the process. Work on implementing the UNGPs by individual companies and in collaboration with peers through IPIECA was highlighted in various sessions at the Forum, including in the opening plenary, by Nili Safavi, BP.

The Forum was attended by over 2000 representatives from business, governments, civil society organisations and Indigenous Peoples groups, as well as IPIECA members: BG Group, BP, Chevron, Eni, EXXONMOBIL, Repsol, Statoil, Total. It provided companies with the opportunity to share experiences, good practices and lessons learned on a broad range of topics including non-judicial grievance mechanisms, labour standards, multi-stakeholder engagement, responsible security management and engagement with indigenous communities. However, it was clear that future forums would benefit from the involvement of companies of different sizes from across different geographies and sectors that have made less progress on implementing the UNGPs. NGOs and Civil Society groups emphasised the need for further action, particularly from States that have not yet made progress on meeting their duty to protect human rights, in line with the UNGPs.