GOXI

sharing in governance of extractive industries

Dear GOXI members,

I would like to draw your attention to the work that UNICEF has been undertaking relating to children’s rights and extractives. They recently hosted the Roundtable Discussion on Children’s Rights and the Extractive Sector during the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva. I have also uploaded a presentation made by Dr Daniel Limpitlaw of Synergy Consulting on the importance of assessing impacts on children in the mining sector.

Please contact Ida Hyllested, Child Rights and Business Specialist at UNICEF (ihyllested@unicef.org)  if you have any questions or comments with regards to UNICEF’s work on this important topic.

Highlights of the UNICEF discussion included:

  • Children as distinct stakeholders and children’s specific vulnerabilities to the impacts of extractive activities which are often overlooked by companies in their environmental, social and human rights due diligence practices. UNICEFs work to understand how children are impacted by the sector has been captured in the 2015 reports: Children’s Rights and the Mining Sector Report and the Oil and Gas Scoping Study.
  • The legal requirements to respect children’s rights applicable to companies operating in the extractives sector. Top-line findings from a research project aimed at identifying direct and indirect protections of children’s rights in Canada, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. With the exception of labour laws, there are few laws that specifically address children’s rights in extractive projects. However, ‘soft’ law such as the UNGPs, and the extra-territorial nature of laws in developed countries are becoming increasingly important. Regulators and developers will interact multiple times during the life of an extractives project, which provides openings for the consideration of children’s rights (a summary report of the research will be published in early 2017).
  • How to understand the vulnerability of children living in close proximity to industrial mining and the integration of child rights considerations into management systems. UNICEFs forthcoming publication: Child Rights and Mining Toolkit. Best practices for addressing children’s rights issues in large-scale mining (UNICEF, 2017) provides practical guidance that enables mining companies to address child rights risks and opportunities through the implementation of appropriate management systems and actions.  The strategies and actions outlined in the Toolkit builds on and supplements existing guidance, handbooks and standards and should be viewed as suggestions for how companies can more effectively respect and support child rights, enhance children’s protection, health and well-being, and strategically invest in the communities where they live. The toolkit is in the process of being finalized and will be published in January 2017. Kindly contact Ida Hyllested (ihyllested@unicef.org) if interested in reviewing the Toolkit (specific chapters or the full toolkit). The consultation period is open until 12 December.
  • Engaging Stakeholders on Children’s Rights. In 2014, UNICEF published a tool for companies on engaging stakeholders on children’s rights.  The tool guides companies on why, with whom and how business should engage stakeholders – both children and child rights advocates – on issues affecting children as part of gaining a better understanding of a company’s impacts on children’s rights. The tool also includes guidance for companies that plan to consult children directly, and how to do ethically and with appropriate safeguards for children in place.
  • Finally, UNICEF is in the process of developing a tool on operational-level grievance mechanism fit for children. Kindly contact Patrick Geary (pgeary@unicef.org) and Anne Grandjean (agrandjean@unicef.org) if interested in reviewing this tool.

I hope that you will find this material of interest and that it will open up many conversations about this important subject.

Caroline Digby

 

 

 

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Dear Caroline,

thanks for your informative discussion. We are supporting this tools and initatives conducted by UNICEF.

Dear Caroline and colleagues,

Thanks so much, Caroline, for starting this discussion on Mining and Children's Rights!

This is an important topic including as part of our efforts to strengthen environmental governance of the mining sector and the role of public institutions to ensure the procedural and substantive rights for all groups and communities, including girls and boys.

The country examples you shared are very useful, as is the reference to UNICEFs forthcoming publication: Child Rights and Mining Toolkit. Best practices for addressing children’s rights issues in large-scale mining (UNICEF, 2017). In addition to strengthening country work plans, these should also be valuable resources for the EGP guidance note.

best to all, Tim

Good to see the progress that UNICEF is making in this regard. The power point presentation gives an overview of the process steps and identifies the different types of pollution. I hope that the tool kit gives more specificity on the types of physiological impacts and how they can be assessed.

 

Dear Caroline,

Thank you for drawing attention to this important issue of assessing the impacts of mining operations on children. I added the useful Stakeholder Engagement on Children's Right Toolkit resource you shared with us on our Guidelines and Toolkit Page.  

Warm regards, 

Tiffany

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