FFP Annual Report to the Voluntary Principles Plenary 2013

Published March 20, 2013
Publication SVPS1308
Report available in PDF Flash format
 
 

Report for the Calendar Year 2012

A. Commitment

1. Statement of commitment or endorsement of the Voluntary Principles.

The Fund for Peace (FFP) is strongly committed to continuing its support of the Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights (VPs). We publicly endorse the VPs on our website and undertake efforts to raise public awareness of their existence as well as to support information sharing between those involved regarding implementation. We greatly welcome feedback from other participants as to how we could more strongly support the VPs going forward.

B. Policies, Procedures, and Related Activities

2. Relevant policies, procedures, and/or guidelines to implement the Voluntary Principles.

  • Key aspects of the VPs, such as security & human rights and risk assessments, are the focus of three dedicated Human Rights & Business Roundtable discussions per year.
  • Continued to develop and deliver training programs on the VPs.
  • Continued to represent the NGO Pillar on VPs Steering Committee.
  • Developed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure FFP’s commitment to the VPs.

 
7. Examples of promoting awareness of the Voluntary Principles throughout the organization or government.

FFP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, independent NGO based in Washington, D.C. whose mission is to research the underlying causes of conflict and develop tools and programs to help alleviate the conditions that can cause conflict. The extractive industry has been a focus of the FFP’s Human Rights & Business Roundtable because extractive companies are more likely to operate in conflict-sensitive environments and need support to understand the conflict issues and ensure that their operations do not exacerbate the risk of conflict.

Three sessions per year of the Roundtable focus on key aspects of the VPs and each staff member is familiar at different levels with the VPs. All FFP staff are invited to the Roundtable to encourage greater understanding of the issues.

As in the previous year, key staff learned more about the implementation of the VPs as FFP undertook conflict and human rights assessments for companies and worked on projects to develop training tools. We currently have three staff members with deeper understanding of the VPs, who are also working on various projects – both national-level implementation work and corporate and project-level work with corporations.

8. Examples of promoting and advancing implementation of the Voluntary Principles internationally

  • As in previous years, we have promoted the VPs directly with companies who are not currently VP participants, at the project and corporate level. Sometimes the discussions are about joining the VPs formally, but we focus first on the adoption of the (small “p”) principles themselves in the companies’ policies and procedures. Extractive companies with whom we have spoken about the value of the VPs include five extractive companies and four non-extractive companies.
  • Continued our partnership with Inmet Mining, which contributed to their formally joining the VPs in 2011.
  • Encouraged Partners for Democratic Change to join the VPs and anticipate their application prior to the plenary in 2013. Also met several times with representatives of Australian Government to encourage them joining the VPs.
  • Worked with World Gold Council on Conflict-Free Gold Standards and ensured inclusion of VPs.
  • Worked with OECD on Conflict Minerals Gold Supplement to ensure inclusion of VPs.
  • Staff working on our conflict early warning networks in Liberia and Nigeria continue to explore opportunities for the VPs in those countries. We have also followed up on interest in Australia, Libya, and the Philippines. We are continuing to look for opportunities to engage the companies and civil society on the issue of security and human rights in those countries, given that we will have a presence both through field visits and our early warning network.
  • Included the VPs in lectures and panel discussions related to corporations operating in conflict-sensitive areas and conflict and human rights impact assessments in several university classes and conferences. In many of the cases, the theme of the presentations was the VPs and multisectoral collaboration. In all cases, the Voluntary Principles were highlighted. Conferences included:
    ICMM’s panel on Multisectoral Collaboration at Mining Indaba, South Africa, Feb 2012
    VPs panel at Ethical Corporation Conference, London, March 2012
    Business in Conflict-Sensitive areas panel at World Bank, April 2012
    Training at Quantico, U.S. Marines, Virginia, May 2012
    Workshop co-facilitated by FFP and International Alert to train local civil society members on VPs national-level implementation, with participants attending from Nigeria, Liberia, and Papua New Guinea.
    Facilitated Conflict-Free Gold conference, World Gold Council in DC, October 2012
    Multisectoral collaboration panel at UNICEF Conference, Washington D.C., November 2012
    Security and Human Rights panel at Sustainability Conference, Minerals Council of Australia, Bangkok, November 2012
    CSIS Panel on Security and Development with Chevron and Office of Transition Initiatives, USAID, and Retired U.S. Colonel from COIN Academy in Afghanistan, DC, November 2012
  • Worked with World Bank staff throughout the year to ensure that the Voluntary Principles are included in recommendations to countries developing their mineral sector with World Bank support. In November, joined World Bank staff at their request at a Conflict Minerals and Communities meeting with the Minister of Mining for Afghanistan to encourage adoption of the VPs. This work will continue in 2013 and likely include field visits to Afghanistan.
  • Highlighted Voluntary Principles in an Op-Ed piece on Burma, Washington Post, July 2012
    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-07-27/opinions/35487021_1_burma-...

 

C. Country Implementation

9. Overview of country operations selected for reporting

FFP does not have any field offices or other current in-country activities in countries pertinent to the VPs, but we continue to explore further opportunities to support in-country activities in 2013. Site visits with security and human rights components occurred in Panama, Lao, Mexico and Cameroon.

Libya

In the beginning of the year, FFP was invited by DFAIT Canada to host a Roundtable in Tripoli, Libya on responsible business practices in post-conflict environments. As part of this Roundtable, much focus was given to the VPs’ implementation, especially pertinent given the significance of the oil and gas industry to the country. Several oil and gas companies – both local and international – were present at the Roundtable, which was also attended by senior Libyan Oil Ministry representatives and Canada’s Minister for International Trade, Hon. Ed Fast MP. Meetings also took place on the sidelines of the event with representatives of Libya’s Oil Ministry and National Oil Company, wherein the VPs were heavily promoted.

The Philippines

In April, FFP conducted a series of meetings in Manila with various local organizations to discuss participation in establishing a national-level implementation program in the Philippines. The process is ongoing, however continued progress will be dependent on adequate resourcing and further country visits.

Panama

In Panama, FFP is partnering with Partners for Democratic Change in their grant from DOS-DRL to encourage multisectoral dialogue on best practices related to the extractive industry and communities and the Voluntary Principles are a major focus of that work. FFP is also working with Minera Panama (Inmet Mining) to set up a human rights monitoring system with the communities in their area of operations. In both cases, local civil society organizations are strongly involved.

10. Engagements with stakeholders on country implementation

FFP has engaged numerous individuals and organizations on the VPs and continues its work to support their implementation in countries as opportunities arise. These have been touched upon in previous sections.

12. Examples of supporting outreach, education, and/or training of relevant personnel, private security, public security, and/or civil society

In 2012, FFP continued its work, in partnership with three VP participant companies to draft or review training materials for project-level implementation of the VPs. FFP has also entered into similar partnerships with multiple companies that are not currently participants of the VPs, although as part of these partnerships, FFP is strongly encouraging such corporate partners to consider applying for formal participant status in the near future. In all such partnerships, FFP is being compensated for its time and direct travel expenses.

D. Lessons and Issues

14. Lessons or issues from this reporting year, as well as plans or opportunities to advance the Voluntary Principles for the organization

As in previous years, FFP was approached again this year by several companies (or consultants to companies) about the value of adopting the VPs and becoming participants in the formal process. We are encouraging their formal application to join the VPs although greater focus is given to local-level implantation in the first instance. FFP will continue to support in-country implementation as the opportunity arises in partnership with other VPs participants. FFP is promoting awareness of the VPs through its work on assessments with companies on their policies and procedures, its discussions with private security companies, public lectures and panels, and is specifically focused on getting more civil society actors into a position to support the implementation of the VPs in focus countries.

Additionally, through gained training experience, we are learning that as one gets closer and closer to the operational level, the high-level language of the VPs can lose relevance and may even be potentially harmful. Military and police officials, for example, do not necessarily need to be taught international humanitarian and human rights law, as much as they need to be trained about proper behavior, use of force, and command and control. Additionally, showing them greater respect and discussing their needs and expectations, as opposed to coming to them with packaged training materials, carries a lot more traction. Furthermore, we are increasingly seeing that in the cases of the most egregious allegations of human rights abuses, the forces themselves could be considered also abused – similar to domestic violence. Greater work needs to be done to ensure the safety and well-being of the forces themselves, as only when they are safe and respected will they be able to show respect and ensure the protection of human rights of civilians. We hope to start programs related to this last finding in 2013.
 
 
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