Grievance Mechanisms

Author: IPIECA
Date: 2012
Categories: Good practice, Governance, Guides for Practioners

Wherever companies do business, engaging with affected communities and responding to their concerns is essential to operating successfully whilst ensuring respect for human rights. Processes that allow concerns to be raised and remedied—also known as grievance mechanisms—are an important means of achieving this aim. Grievance mechanisms benefit companies and communities by providing an opportunity for concerns to be identified and resolved before they escalate. When implemented as part of a broader community engagement strategy, they contribute to enhanced relationships, reduced risk, better management of operational impacts and the avoidance of potential harm.

This IPIECA Good Practice Survey on Operational Level Grievance Mechanisms builds on a decade of active engagement by IPIECA on business and human rights. IPIECA was among the first industry bodies to incorporate human rights into our social responsibility work in the early 2000s, later establishing a dedicated task force to advance best practice. Member companies actively supported the mandate of the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights. Most recently, following the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, IPIECA launched a three-year initiative to advance implementation of two key pillars of the framework: human rights due diligence and grievance mechanisms. In each of these areas, IPIECA is developing guidance tailored to the unique needs of the oil and gas industry through a combination of field testing, collaborative learning and consultation with a range of external stakeholders and experts.

This Good Practice Survey is designed to summarize the growing body of literature on community grievance mechanisms. It extracts the key insights from an array of publications and draws them together in a single, easy-to-use document focused on the needs of industry practitioners. As the guidance surveyed in this document is yet to be tested systematically within the oil and gas industry, IPIECA has initiated a series of pilot implementation projects sponsored by member companies to field-test approaches to grievance mechanisms in different operating contexts. The pilots will test the basic precepts of this survey, with an emphasis on promoting local solutions to local challenges. During this process, participating companies will take part in a collaborative learning process designed to share knowledge and understanding about how to make grievance mechanisms work in practice. The results of this experience will inform the IPIECA Guide to Grievance Mechanisms in the Oil and Gas Industry, to be published at the conclusion of the project.

IPIECA will share the results of these activities and continue to engage with a wide range of stakeholders as this process moves forward.

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