Wednesday, November 30 • 1:20pm - 2:40pm
Leveraging a human rights approach in the extractive and energy industries

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(Version française ci-jointe)
(Versión en español adjunta)

Interpretation available in English, French and Spanish

Session organized by the UN Working Group on business and human rights

Brief description of the session:
The extractive industry consists of a wide range of business enterprises, institutions and peoples involved in the extraction of oil, gas, solid minerals, and rare metals needed to generate energy. Extractive and energy industries therefore have the potential to create both positive and negative impact upon human rights and the lives of communities. The industry can provide significant contributions toward much needed economic growth that in turn can provide the funds required to build infrastructure, provide better social services and meet international targets such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Similarly, if the world is to transition from brown to green energy, then extractive industries are vital to meet the Paris Agreement and provide the metals and minerals needed to create green technology that moves countries away from brown to green economies. A human rights-based approach in the just transition towards greener, resilient and climate-neutral economies will ensure this process is fair and inclusive.
Despite the potential for positive change, extractive and energy industries also have, and are currently having, a negative impact upon individuals and communities who have seen their human rights and environments adversely impacted from large scale energy projects. These projects can cause great harm, as they can damage ecosystems, which many communities, particularly indigenous and minorities, rely on for their right to food, water and sanitation, health, and cultural rights amongst others. A human rights approach is therefore key to advance a more sustainable path towards responsible business conduct in extractive and energy investments and operations.  For the UNGPs to engender change in the extractive and energy sectors, as envisioned in the Roadmap for the next decade of business and human rights developed by the Working Group, there is a need to focus on how decision-making and planning by stakeholders in the sectorcan be accelerated from a rights holder’s perspective.

Key objectives of the session:
  • Highlight some of the key human rights issues related to extractives and energy projects globally;
  • Encourage open and constructive dialogue on the challenges involved in ensuring responsible business practices in the extractives sector;
  • Highlight good practices and provide examples where extractive and energy companies have worked with local communities to ensure human rights are protected and the environmental impact is kept to a minimum; and
  • Provide key recommendations for the different actors involved in the extractive and energy industries and further identify ways in which collaborative dialogue can lead to a just, inclusive, and rights-based transition to a zero-carbon economy.

Key discussion questions:
  • What key environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges remain as extractive and energy industries worldwide seek to operationalize the UNGPs? What has worked and what has not worked to date?
  • How can extractive and energy companies work toward the least economic and social disruption to communities and where problems do arise, how can they provide access to effective remedies?
  • How can extractive and energy companies work with indigenous and minority communities to ensure that consultation is based upon the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) principles and, especially in relation to land acquisition, and not just a box ticking exercise?

Background to the discussion:
Both the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have recognized the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. These resolutions recognize the unsustainable management and use of natural resources result in environmental damage which has negative implications for the effective enjoyment of all human rights. The extractive and energy industries play a key role in ensuring the right to a healthy environment is fulfilled. A rights-based, inclusive and sustainable governance of extractive and mineral resources is needed in order for the industry to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations, academia and international institutions are encouraged to promote due diligence best practice along the supply chain, addressing broad-based environmental, human rights, labour and conflict-related risks in mining. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide guidance towards better practices that lead towards a human rights-based approach in the extractive and energy industries.
Additional background documents (pdf format) or relevant links: 

avatar for Damilola Olawuyi

Damilola Olawuyi

member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Damilola S. Olawuyi is a Professor and UNESCO Chair on Environmental Law and Sustainable Development at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar. He is also the director of the Institute for Oil, Gas, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development at the Afe Babalola University... Read More →

avatar for Timothée Mbuya

Timothée Mbuya

Director, Justicia Asbl
Timothee Mbuya is Director of the Congolese NGO Justicia, ASBL based in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo that focuses on promoting respect for human rights in DRC’s cobalt and copper mining belt. Justicia also serves as the Secretariat for the multistakeholder Working Group... Read More →
avatar for Adriano Nuvunga

Adriano Nuvunga

Director, Centro para Democrazia et la Desenvolvimento CDD, Mozambique
Prof. Dr. Adriano Alfredo Nuvunga – is a scholar, Democracy and Human Rights Defender in Mozambique and Africa. He is the Director of the Centro para Democracia e Desenvolvimento (CDD), a Democracy, Governance and Human Rights Organization in Mozambique which, inter alia, is catalysing... Read More →
avatar for Julieta Lamberti

Julieta Lamberti

Director of Research, PODER
Feminist and human rights defender. Director of Research. PODER (www.poderlatam.org). She/Her
avatar for Ellie Pahlow

Ellie Pahlow

Ellie works for Pillar Two, a specialist business and human rights advisory firm. Prior to working Pillar Two, Ellie worked for the Australian Government on a range of modern slavery and broader labour rights issues, including leading the Government team responsible for driving implementation... Read More →
avatar for Rafael Chaves

Rafael Chaves

Chief Sustainability Officer, Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. - PETROBRAS
Rafael Chaves Santos is the Chairman of the IBP – Instituto Brasileiro de Petróleo e Gás (https://www.ibp.org.br) and the Chief Sustainability Officer of Petrobras (https://petrobras.com.br)
avatar for Monica Ndoen

Monica Ndoen

Special Envoy to the Secretary General, Indigenous Peoples' Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN)
Monica is from Rote, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. She completed her bachelor's degree from the Law Faculty in 2013 and joined the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), an Indigenous organization with 2449 Indigenous communities as its members. Since then, for... Read More →

Wednesday November 30, 2022 1:20pm - 2:40pm CET
Room XX