Panelists: Atul Mehta (IFC Agribusiness Director), Morgan Landy (Director, IFC Environment, Social and Governance Department)
IFC – Head of IFC Team Engagement with Dinant
Have tried to provide regular interim updates – on website.
- Copies of updated Action Plan distributed– live and in draft.
- Environmental and Social Update presentation:
- Working to improve situation on the ground. Limited amount of information from others on ‘best practices.’ Not much available.
- Sought outside expertise in development of Action Plan. Disconnect between community and Dinant – effort at improved engagement plan.
- Improved grievance mechanism.
- Accelerated utilisation of Action Plan.
- Since April – considerable progress made by Dinant – operational guidelines for security forces, including standing down and not-being armed during engagement with communities.
- Hired Foley Hoag – DC Law Firm – instrumental in Human Rights law development. ToRs are on the website. Just beginning to work with IFC and will also assist Dinant.
- Have sought outside support for community mediation – Consensus Building Institute (CBI) retained in consultation with CAO.
- Feel that Dinant is making good progress. On issues in Dinant control, largely on target.
- IFC said it would consult with communities on Action Plan- CBI advised that Action Plan requires work prior to consultation and that issues that concern communities go well beyond Dinant.
- Dinant has been moving forward within the limitation of its resources.
- There have been a couple of new complaints. IFC believes that complaints largely relate to known issues.
Update regarding CBI findings:
- One trip a month since July. List of stakeholders consulted is available.
- In September met with 70 people that represent campesino organisations. Travelled to Aguan.
- Generally cautiously positive – groups want dialogue, are frustrated with current situation – it will take time to build trust. Currently assessing whether there is a will for engagement / discussion.
Four themes of issues:
- Only one of which is directly under the control of Dinant/ IFC – security mechanisms, grievance mechanisms.
- Others: land tenure, social economic development issues, and impunity – structural issues.
- Groups don’t yet understand process. There are people calling for a disengagement from Dinant, including distrust of CBI.
- Provided willingness to engage – process will move to a stakeholder analysis – conflict mapping.
- Eventual multi-stakeholder analysis. Issues certainly go beyond IFC/ WB-specific model.
- Have had focus groups on grievances mechanism.
- Stages in a process – each is dependent on previous step. Success is not assured.
- Conflict causes are systemic…
- There is a concern about GoH buy-in. Trust building remains essential.
- Next steps – attempting to move forward- engaged with CAO. Taking feedback on communication and are attempting to become more transparent.
- What is IFC doing to assess internal challenges identified by CAO.
- ESS group seeks to help business side to find solutions. Capacity development and learning throughout organisation.
- Made a similar presentation to the Board. Focused on a two-way dialogue.
- Mainstreaming ES issues – Oct 1st new structure – all support function on risk side will be VP for Risk Function. To address perception that ES were considered subsidiary.
- Build capacity for increased capacity to hand hold and provide long-term support to clients. Mainstreaming of staff training.
- Resourcing – new budget approved. Additional resources will be allocated. Try to address issues before they arise.
- Senior management – JYC Blog on importance of ES issues within the past month.
- Staff: targeted training for investment professionals, particularly on high risk- focus on IF issues.
- Agri-business – also target of training. Mandatory training on use of security forces. Seeking to bring in outside expertise – security forcers, human rights, conflict and labour.
- Human rights due diligence approach guidance note. Including animal welfare.
- Will scale up advisory support to clients.
- Currently following up on other issues – FICOHSA, Tata Mundra. FIs discussions continue.
- Engage in discourse and dialogue on issues that go beyond IFC/ client competency.
- Discussions about confidentiality, labour and union issues are being discussed.
More information on ‘moving away from volume targets’ – Welcomes re-structure.
Disclosure and confidentiality information/ update – During meetings at AM Eurodad was told to try to find information of problematic cases in advance. Need information and transparency in other to be able to contribute.
A pity that Honduran partners were not present to represent their own interests. A couple of messages from the community:
Acknowledge progress, however communities continue to face same situations as last year. Violent conflict July this year. Evictions were not carried out by Dinant security, however the close cooperation between state forces and Dinant.
Group of women has set up a Human Rights Observatory – were there in July – were arrested, cameras taken. 3 of women have been charged.
The community must know that investigation process established in response to Dinant has been very slow, while the repression of protest is quite rapid.
Mantra – Land conflicts are too complex and beyond the scope of Dinant/ IFC mandate. Could IFC assist communities to establish an independent process to evaluate land disputes?
Agrees with BWP analysis – however under pressure from Board, stakeholders. Need to reach out to other partners for expertise. Wider scanning of social context – have missed that aspect. Integrate risk analysis from the outside.
Try to find companies that share philosophy – however risks cannot – how to sequence work? Timelines may be different. People need development.
Where and how IFC engage are related – have been led by senior management are more concerned by impact. Continue concerned about the financial health of the institutions, however internal incentives and accountability are shifting.
Sequencing – IFC are at high end. When companies can operate at that level they no longer need the assistance of a development entity.
If not properly able to evaluate gaps in capacity one cannot move forward. Have learned a difficult lesson from Dinant – working closely with WBG.
IFC has not said it washes itself of land situation – if addressed it would lead to a significant increase of economic activity – government is a key part of the process. IFC has received good feedback from the government on the need for economic development in Aguan. IFC by itself cannot resolve the land issue.
Regarding request for independent analysis – through CBI
Regarding Myanmar/ Burma – recent Senior Management Team has visited country and consultations have taken place. Working on potential for support to regulatory framework.
Disclosure – still struggling to find balance. Not only in terms of legal requirements, but also vis-à-vis willingness of clients to engage – in the end that will be a business consideration. Much progress has been made – it has normally been achieved by leaps of bounds.
Sequencing – extractive industries review – ten years ago – recommendation is very clear – it can’t be done. Once money is out of the door there is little or no incentive for compliance. Chad pipeline project – from best practice to one that impoverished the communities.
E.g., Yoma Bank – building capacity. Could it be done without financing? Perhaps but perhaps more effective when linked to finance support.
How are IFC and Dinant responding to abuses outlined by Oxfam? – Companies are responsible to issues beyond the direct operations of its security forces, eg, cooperation with government security forces.
Agree that a separation is necessary between land issues linked to Dinant vs. others.
Regarding sequencing – human rights due diligence must disallow partnerships with Dinant and others in Burma. Perhaps US military due diligence standard could be used, which goes beyond the sanctions list.
More information about the guidance note mentioned earlier.
Security – it is true that links and challenges are complicated. Working first to defuse situation. Begin with appropriate policies. Dinant has retained external advice as has the IFC. How the government reacts to ‘invasion of land’ is an issue beyond IFC’s control. IFC has expressed its concern to the government – outlining that trust is essential to economic development in the valley.
Land – there is a government investigation underway. Pass on concerns to government when these are known.
On Dinant – keen to follow advice of experts now hired. Must be cautious to ensure that Dinant focuses on issues related to national law and its obligations/ commitments to IFC.
Law firm ToRs are available.
Due diligence – have strengthen capacity and resources. Has increased presence on the ground – now in 90 countries, increased understanding.
Every organisation is now vetted. It requires clearance. However in many countries there is no clear-cut division between tainted and other partners.
Working on guidance to clients on incorporation of HR into operations. Drafting currently ongoing. There will be a consultation process.
Have written quite a few times, no answer to date on lessons learned. Requests continued engagement.
Santa Rita was again a concern as it highlights ongoing concerns.
Has suspended FI work in Honduras due to CSO pressure. Not the desired output.
Santa Rita – one must wait the outcome of the discussions and ‘investigations’. It is possible that the community is split and that some community members support the damn. One must be wait and see.
Government has requested modernisation of land titling process. Agriculture – government focused on economic growth – must focus on agri-business.
Has seen improved commitment by the government.