Accra, July 31, GNA - The Fund For Peace, (FFP), in partnership with the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, (WANEP-Ghana), has held a stakeholders meeting for extractive industries to educate them on the implementation of the Voluntary Principles (VPs).
It was also to enable stakeholders share experiences in their various communities and be able to learn more practices and adopt measures in addressing issues in their regions.
The VPs is a set of guidelines to help companies work with local communities and government together to improve safety and promote peace in oil and gas and mining affected areas while respecting human rights.
The meeting was on the theme: “Supporting the Governments Implementation of the VPs through Dialogue.”
The meeting was also aimed at discussing the Governments plans for implementation of the national action plan on the VPs since Ghana have joined the initiative and know how all could help to move the process forward.
Ms Hannah Blyth, the Programmes Manager, FFP speaking at the meeting said the key instrument stakeholders need to understand was that, the VPs seeks to engage companies and security forces in order to ensure that human rights are not violated in their areas of operation.
The Indigenes of communities with natural resources in most instances feel their resources are being taken away from them without any benefits, which in most cases allows the room for agitation.
The VPs thus, provides a framework and guidance for companies to make better informed and appropriate decisions when it comes to security at operations sites, she said.
Ms Blyth said it is necessary for such companies to dialogue with people on sensitive issues to let them understand the terms to enable them appreciate their responsibilities.
She said the extractive companies should be able to dialogue with the people in the communities to enable them address the challenges of unemployment because it is a major concern raised by the people.
She advised companies to have regular consultations, develop defensives, public security forces, have informed assessments, ensure good practices, documentations and competence in their daily activities.
According to Mr Albert Yelyang, the National Network Coordinator of WANEP said the meeting involved all the necessary stakeholders to ensure that they understand the content, context and process of the action plan and how they respond to issues.
He said the National Action Plan which is at the draft stage yet to be approved would outline how companies would respond to issues at the community level to ensure the human rights of the people are not violated.
Mr Yelyang urged all to support the National Action Plan on VPs so that peace and security of the country could be sustained.
FFP is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research and educational organisation. It works to prevent conflict and promote sustainable security by building relationships and trust across diverse sectors and by developing innovative technologies and tools.