Consultation on Pilot Human Rights Impact Assessment Guide Ends

The Guide to Human Rights Impact Assessment and Management (HRIA) was published in pilot form in June 2007. It was developed by the IBLF and the IFC, in collaboration with the UN Global Compact. The Guide provides a methodology for conducting a HRIA.  Today marks the end of the public consultation period to update the ‘road tested’ pilot HRIA Guide.

Summaries of past on-line discussions posted on IBLF’s website list the potential benefits highlighted by stakeholders. The list is so generic and could apply to any impact assessment field (see also www.iaia.org). So I decided to not include them here. However, some of the challenges, concerns and obstacles, which I selectively picked and grouped together below, perhaps deserve a closer look:

a) How can HRIAs be integrated into existing processes, when should HRIAs be conducted and to what extend should it involve and/or be driven by the legal profession?

b) Disclosure of HRIA may undermine relationship with host governments, which may also consider published information libellous.

c) Legal departments may stymie initial discussions and progress on HRIA. ‘Privileged evaluation’, which may allow for attorney-client privilege of a HRIA, seems to be preferred compared to full disclosure. Historically, US companies have approached HRIAs with extreme caution and reticence.

d) Stakeholder expectations may be unrealistically high.

The HRIA Guide can be accessed on IFC’s website (requires registration):  

http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/sustainability.nsf/Content/OurStories_SocialResponsibility_HumanRights_Publication

Summaries of online discussions about the HRIA Guide are posted here: http://www.guidetohria.org/wiki?wiki=NSVW5D773211&sub=1&top=NFTMG1334731

Do you think that Human Rights issues are already part of a comprehensive environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) process as required by IFC Performance Standards and Equator Prcioples for extractive project developments? Why do you think that HRIAs will/won't become part of ESIAs?

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