BY J.J. MESSNER DE LATOUR, HANNAH BLYTH, AND MARLENE WAFLER*
Innovative local-level mechanisms for fostering implementation of good practices in the field of business, security and human rights exist in many contexts and are linked to different policy frameworks. This Guide provides good practices and insights to support the development and successful implementation of local and In-Country Working Groups (ICWGs). While this Guide focuses on ICWGs that support implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), its application is of relevance to numerous international initiatives in the field of security, development and human rights predicated on effective implementation in often challenging environments.
ICWGs are diverse in their origin stories, implementation backgrounds, leadership, re-sourcing and objectives. However, the common thread that runs through all of them is the bringing together of national and local stakeholders from governments, companies and civil society to effect collective change on security and human rights in the natural resource sector. In practical terms, this means representatives from diverse backgrounds building sufficient trust to allow for open exchange on operational level challenges, address collective issue areas for advocacy or intervention, and generate best practices for reducing conflict risks in different sites and community areas.
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* This research study was conducted and produced by a core team comprised of J.J. Messner and Hannah Blyth (Fund for Peace) and Marlene Wäfler (DCAF). This study would not have been possible without the time, generosity and assistance of many organizations and individuals. DCAF and FFP would like to thank the Government of the United Kingdom for their generous support to this project made available through the DCAF Security and Human Rights Implementation Mechanism (SHRIM). In particular, the authors would like to thank Jean-Michel Rousseau, Lucia Hernandez, Julia Jäckle, Anne-Marie Burdzy and Alan Bryden at DCAF, Claude Voillat at the ICRC in Geneva, and Ignatius Onyekwere, Amanda Quinn, Christina Murphy, Ben Chandler, Giovanna de Miranda, and Rhea Bhambhani at FFP Washington D.C. and Abuja for their support over the course of the project. Thank you also to the in-country working groups for their engagement and for welcoming the FFP and DCAF teams into their meetings and providing logistical support. In particular, the authors wish to acknowledge and thank: Mark Detcher, Ghana Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Albert Yelyang, WANEP-Ghana, and the Ghana In-Country Working Group; Vicky Bowman, the Myanmar Center for Responsible Business, and the Myanmar Steering Committee; Babatunde Ajala, Embassy of Switzerland, Abuja, Joel Bisena, LITE-Africa, Nkasi Wodu and the Peacebuilding Team at the Partnerships Initiative for the Niger Delta (PIND), and the Nigeria In-Country Working Group; and Carlos Salazar, Socios Peru, and the Peru In-Country Working Group; as well as Pact and International Alert for their valuable insights into the process in D.R. Congo. In addition, the authors would like to thank Luz Stella, the Executive Director of the CME in Colombia. Finally, we wish to thank each of our interviewees for sparing their time (as well as their invaluable insights), often at strange and inconvenient times of the night.