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Guidance Related to the Voluntary Principles

The VPs were established in 2000 in response to security and human rights challenges around extractive operations. The VPs are a multi-stakeholder initiative in which governments, extractive companies and NGOs work together to guide extractive companies in “maintaining the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework that encourages respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”. (Extract from the introduction to the VPs)

The IGTs provide a “series of tools designed to help companies, their employees, and contractors implement the VPs” (IGTs front page). The tools are organized in four thematic modules: 1) Stakeholder engagement, 2) Risk assessment, 3) Public security providers, and 4) Private security providers.

This toolkit aims to provide guidance on how to develop a comprehensive VPs implementation program that companies can tailor to their specific location and needs. The document has six sections: 1) Developing an implementation plan, 2) Risk assessment, 3) Relations with public security, 4) Relations with private security, 5) Stakeholder engagement, and 6) Integration of the VPs into management.

This guidance document identifies indicators to help companies assess their internal and external VPs performance and bring about a climate of accountability in the evaluation process. “Indicators 1–3 deal with Human Rights Risk and Impact Assessment. Indicators 4-7 look to ensure the adequate legal, contractual and training measures are in place. Indicators 8-9 deal with monitoring and oversight. Indicator 10 evaluates equipment transfers to security forces while Indicator 11 documents human rights incidents on company property and actions taken in response” (Introduction).

This guidance document is aimed to support extractive and non-extractive companies perform audit activities to determine the degree to which the company has adopted the policies and is following the practices identified by the VPs initiative. The document builds on and supplements the VPs key performance indicators (KPIs) through practical examples and several cross-references to related principles, audit tests and guidance materials. 

This Guidance Note is aimed to support stakeholders initiating a national-level process to implement the VPs. The document identifies the different levels of VPs implementation and the basic elements that need to be considered for a national-level implementation process. The practical guidance has been informed by existing in‐country processes (largely Colombia and Indonesia) and includes suggested steps and topics for the scoping process and national-level dialogues. 

This BP guidance document identifies tools, case studies and frameworks to facilitate a more effective and consistent implementation of the Voluntary Principles (VPs). The Guideline is subdivided into 7 interrelated ‘Elements’ which need to be considered for a successful implementation of the VPs on the ground.

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