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Set of tools on implementing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights launched today

15-09-2011 News Release

Ottawa - A consortium of leading global organizations today launched a first-of-its-kind practical guide to help companies maintain operational security while ensuring respect for human rights and humanitarian law.

The Implementation Guidance Tools to the widely recognized multi-stakeholder initiative, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, are particularly targeted at companies operating in geographical areas of conflict and weak governance.

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights were developed in 2000 by governments, companies in the extractive and energy sector, and non-governmental organizations. The Voluntary Principles are non-binding and offer practical guidance to companies that helps maintain the safety and security of their operations while ensuring respect for human rights and humanitarian law. The Voluntary Principles also provide an opportunity for participants, which include governments, companies, and non-governmental organizations, to engage in mutual learning.

With support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the in-depth and hands-on toolkit was developed and co-financed by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues (IPIECA). Throughout the course of the project, the Voluntary Principles Participants provided feedback on the Tools to make them more effective and user-friendly.

Users of the Implementation Guidance Tools will directly benefit from the recorded experiences of many governments, non-governmental organisations, and extractive and energy sector companies that have been applying the Voluntary Principles since their launch in 2000.

The Implementation Guidance Tools are targeted at staff responsible for corporate security and human rights commitment at the project level. They are non-prescriptive and can be used both by Voluntary Principles participants and non-participant companies.

Applied and referenced whenever security is required and human rights could be at risk, the set of tools contains four modules, which can be used either individually or together. The modules cover a comprehensive journey of discovery, analysis, planning and implementation under the Voluntary Principles.

  • Module 1 Stakeholder Engagement
  • Module 2 Risk Assessment
  • Module 3 Public Security Providers
  • Module 4 Private Security Providers

Implementing the principles improves corporate judgement and decision-making. Direct business benefits include: reductions in production delays; access to financing; mitigation of litigation risk; safeguarding companies’ reputations; operating confidently in complex business environments.

Media comments from the four organizations which developed the Implementation Guidance Tools:

Aidan Davy, Director, ICMM, said: “One strength of this guidance is that it is informed by the rich experiences of those who contributed to its development, derived from addressing the implementation challenges that participants in the Voluntary Principles have been grappling with for over a decade.”

ICRC economic adviser Claude Voillat said: “Extractive industry operations are very sensitive, in particular in areas of armed conflict or weak governance. Careless management by companies of their interaction with private or public security forces can encourage violence, for instance. Companies need to be extremely cautious and alert, in order to minimize their negative impact on populations in areas where they operate. The Implementation Guidance Tools can help them do this and are therefore a very welcome development.”

William Bulmer, Director, Environment, Social, and Governance Department, IFC, said: "The Implementation Guidance Tools (IGT) are a new and useful resource for companies seeking to maintain the safety and security of their business activities. Benefiting from the experience of Voluntary Principles participants, the interactive modules and real-world scenarios help companies in any industry − not only in the extractive and energy sectors − to engage stakeholders and assess the risks and impacts of their security operations. Designed to be practical and adaptive, this wide range of tools can be easily integrated into companies’ existing due diligence and project management procedures to enhance protection for both company activities and local community members."

Estella Nucci, Social Responsibility Project Manager, IPIECA, said: “This guidance is extremely practical and hands-on. Our aim was to produce a concise, interactive workbook with a wide range of assessment, planning, action and reference tools. We will continue promoting the use of this document across the oil and gas industries.”

The Implementation Guidance Tools are free to download from:

For more information about the Voluntary Principles, visit:

For questions on how to participate, contact the Voluntary Principles Secretariat at:


Notes to editors



Casilda Malagon, Senior Program Officer, Communications
Phone: +44 (0)20 7467 5082

Carla Haddad Mardini, Head of Public Communication and Spokesperson
Phone: +41 (0)22 730 2405

Vanessa Bauza, Communications Officer Phone: +1 (202) 458-1603

Estella Nucci, Social Responsibility Project Manager
Phone: +44 (0)20 7633 2377

Voluntary Principles
Gare Smith, Secretariat
Phone: +1 202 261 7380


About ICMM
The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) was established in 2001 to act as a catalyst for performance improvement in the mining and metals industry. Today, the organization brings together 20 mining and metals companies as well as 30 national and regional mining associations and global commodity associations to address the core sustainable development challenges faced by the industry. ICMM serves as a change agent – not in areas affecting competitive positioning, but related to our members’ social and environmental responsibilities where collaboration makes sense. Our vision is one of leading companies working together and with others to strengthen the contribution of mining, minerals and metals to sustainable development.

About ICRC
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a neutral, independent and impartial organization which was established in 1863. It works worldwide to provide humanitarian help for people affected by conflict and armed violence and to promote the laws that protect victims of war. The work of the ICRC is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols, its Statutes - and those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement - and the resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The ICRC is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and employs some 12,000 people in 80 countries; it is financed mainly by voluntary donations from governments and from national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. IFC helps developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment,providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. IFC was launched in 1956 and is currently owned by more than180 member countries. Its purpose is to create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. IFC helps promote open and competitive markets in developing countries, supports companies and other private sector partners where there is a gap, and helps to generate productive jobs and deliver essential services to the

IPIECA is the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues. It develops, shares and promotes good practices and knowledge to help the industry improve its environmental and social performance; and is the industry’s principal channel of communication with the United Nations. Through its member led working groups and executive leadership, IPIECA brings together the collective expertise of oil and gas companies and associations. Its unique position within the industry enables its members to respond effectively to key environmental and social issues.

About the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights are a set of principles designed to guide companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework that encourages respect for human rights. The duty to protect human rights rests with governments, but other actors in society, including business, have a responsibility to respect human rights. Through formal participation in the Voluntary Principles process, governments, NGOs, and companies develop working relationships through which they engage in mutual learning and joint problem solving to address the challenges of security and human rights at the international, national, and project levels.