Industries urged to promote voluntary principles

Business News of Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Source: GNA

Jubilee Oil RigOil rig

The oil and mining industries, as well as other large scale businesses although offer enormous benefits including economic development and jobs to their catchment communities, continue to face rivalry in their operating areas.

This is because their operations have the potential of negatively impacting on the quality of lives of people and the environment.

Ms. Hannah Blyth, Programme Manager, Sustainable Development and Security of the United Nations Fund for Peace Programme, told the Ghana News Agency at a training workshop on enhancing partnership and collaboration for ownership and sustainability of the voluntary principles (VP) in Ghana for members of the Coastal Platform for Peace Building in Takoradi.

The VPs are a set of binding rules that regulate the activities of the mining sector to maximise the benefits from the exploitation of natural resources to both the industries and the inhabitants.

Ms. Blyth said that the voluntary principles was instituted such that companies perform regular risk assessment in policies, operations and activities, taking into account the prevailing environment and economic conditions.

The Programme Manager said the voluntary principles on security and human rights have become a widely recognised standard for the extractive industries.

Ms. Blyth added that though implementation of the VPs is first and foremost the responsibility of the extractive players, the participation of government and civil society would facilitate effective implementation of the conditions.

The Programme Manager said the Fund for Peace together with United States Department of State’s Bureau for Democracy, Rights and Labour in partnership with the West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP- Ghana) was working to ensure that the VPs become more operational and entrenched across the country.

Mr. J.J. Messner, Executive Director for the Fund for Peace, said increasing public education and understanding of human rights, security, corruption, gender and violence issues could contribute to the overall learning and development of best practices in creating an inclusive, multi stakeholders VPs in-country process.

The Executive Director of Fund for Peace said the 18 month programme would focus on four key regions including Upper East, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Western which have many extractive industries operating there.