Multi-stakeholder in-country working groups (ICWGs)

Best practices in human rights due diligence ar every clear that companies should undertake meaningful consultations and maintain ongoing dialogue with potentially affected groups and other relevant stakeholders. This includes stakeholders both around the company's operations and along the entire value chain.

When it comes to security issues, this means that companies should adopt a proactive approach that focuses on prevention of company-community conflicts. Security risks are frequently the result of unaddressed concerns, negative impacts or misunderstandings about non-security related issues such as employment, land, environment, compensation and resettlement. This also includes negative legacy issues from previous projects or interactions between businesses, communities and security actors. When concerns and grievances go unaddressed or unmitigated, these issues can escalate into tensions and may eventually result in situations of violence.  

Multi-stakeholder in-country working groups can be effective platforms to build trust and engage in constructive dialogue, with the goal of preventing and resolving security and human rights issues. Though diverse in their origins, implementation backgrounds, leadership, resourcing and objectives, such working groups aim to discuss and advance respect for human rights and security by companies and their security providers. These groups bring together national and local stakeholders from governments, companies, civil society and communities. Through participation in such working groups, representatives from diverse backgrounds incrementally build trust to hold open exchanges on operational-level challenges, address collective issues and needs for intervention, and generate best practices for reducing conflict risks indifferent sites and community areas. Working groups enable different stakeholder groups to overcome their entrenched positions by working together to develop work plans and calendars, conduct meetings and workshops, build tools and resources, and implement activities like monitoring and oversight.

What does this mean in practice?