Voluntary Principles in Ghana
The Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights (VPs) have become a widely-recognized industry standard for oil, gas, and mining companies to better ensure the human rights of communities affected by their operations around the world, particularly in relation to the provision of security. The VPs go beyond being simply a statement of commonly accepted standards – both the document itself, as well as the plethora of guidance that has been produced in relation to it, recommends extensive multi-stakeholder engagement to ensure that the VPs are successfully implemented.
Though implementation of the VPs is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the oil, gas, and mining companies themselves, the participation of “home” and “host” governments, as well as civil society from within the country and abroad, is important in fomenting the conditions that encourage and facilitate effective implementation.
With the government of Ghana announcing in 2014 that it would sign onto the VPs initiative as the first African nation to do so, it is now in the stages developing a VPs National Action Plan. Working with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Democracy, Rights and Labor, The Fund For Peace (FFP) in partnership with the West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP-Ghana), will lead a program which supports these VPs implementation efforts across Ghana.
Throughout this program, FFP and WANEP-Ghana will engage closely with CSOs, companies and the government, to ensure the project activities are effective and can remain sustainable. Our program aims to act as a pilot which will spur a highly successful and robust implementation of the VPs in Ghana, led through the government’s National Action Plan, as well as ongoing civil society dialogue and constructive company engagement. The implementation of the VPs initiative in Ghana has the potential not only to help address core issues such as human rights, violence, and transparency in extractives affected areas, but also presents a unique opportunity to identify best practices for in-country learning and future implementation by neighboring countries across Africa.
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