14. STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
KENNETH Paul Charman, RADU Mares
Participation and transparency (chapters 4 and 13) are hallmarks of good governance and part of the ‘human rights based approach’ to development. Human rights due diligence as developed in the UNGPs emphasizes stakeholder participation at all stages of preventing and correcting abuses: starting with consulting on corporate policies and codes of conduct (chapter 8), continuing with participatory impact assessments and tracking of performance (chapters 9, 12), going through multistakeholder efforts to implement corrective actions (chapter 11), and finishing with social reports that should provide stakeholders with ‘material’ information (chapter 13) and appropriate remedies agreed with the victims (chapter 7). To achieve such participation, stakeholder engagement is needed and it has therefore become a sub-field of management (stakeholder management). Strategically, engaging with stakeholders is important for preserving the trust of local communities affected by large infrastructure projects (chapters 25-26). Similarly, engaging with the workforce through consultative committees and trade unions is essential for maintaining peaceful labour relations (chapter 19). Having proper processes of consultation is particularly needed with some vulnerable groups such as indigenous people where the international standard of ‘free, prior and informed consent’ is well established (chapter 22). Collaborating with stakeholders is at the heart of multistakeholder initiatives (chapter 5) as an innovative governance mechanism to deal with systemic or intractable problems that each participating organization cannot cope with alone (chapter 2). There is ample guidance and decades of experience, including from leading companies especially in the extractive industries, about what to do and what not to do in stakeholder engagement. Stakeholders are commonly defined as “any group or individual who is affected by or can affect the achievement of an organization’s objectives”. Stakeholder groups include employees, customers, financers, communities, the environment, and other affiliated groups, such as suppliers, trades unions and professional bodies.
Companies’ responsibilities to protect stakeholder rights in Cambodia are incorporated in the overall legal framework for Corporate Governance (chapter 13). The Prakas on Corporate Governance refer to stakeholder rights but do not refer specifically to stakeholder engagement. Cambodia adheres to international and ASEAN standards that refer to corporate responsibilities for stakeholder engagement. These standards include the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The legal framework for governance and stakeholder engagement is now in place, and there has been a significant increase in the number of large and small companies producing annual sustainability reports. Cambodia addresses stakeholder engagement within the broader framework of improvements to governance and the overall business climate for investment. Cambodia’s requirements for investment for infrastructure projects are greater than other ASEAN countries. Its capital markets are at an earlier stage of development, Indeed Cambodia is a young market economy and although expanding rapidly still has only five companies listed on the Cambodian Stock Exchange. Virtually all listed companies are owned either by the Government or have a majority ownership by one company or individual. Stakeholder engagement seems high on the list of priorities for publicly owned companies because of this concentration of ownership. Stakeholder engagement is an important issue and the role of the private sector is critical in increasing respect for human rights, labour standards and the environment as Cambodia ranks 126/128 in the World Justice Report Rule of Law Index (2020).
- Relevance of stakeholder engagement/consultation (impact assessment, corrective actions, tracking performance, communication, grievance remediation)
- Role of stakeholder engagement (information, joint action, trust)
- Forms of engagement (formats such as individual meetings, workshops, public hearings, advisory committees)
- Scope of engagement (determining relevant stakeholders)
- Role of third parties (e.g. experts, mediators)
- Inclusive engagement (marginalization of vulnerable groups)
- Legitimate representation (leaders representative of communities or not)
- Elements of stakeholder engagement (stakeholder analysis, dissemination of information, consultation, participation, grievance mechanism)
- Stakeholder Engagement Plan/Strategy
- Gender aspects of consultation (views and priorities of men and women)
- Timing of consultation
- Accessibility (of information and engagement process)
- Conflict management
- Consultations (criteria for meaningful consultation and manipulation)
- Indicators for stakeholder engagement
- Partnerships (agreements)
- Fair wages (living wage)
UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, An Interpretive Guide
Stakeholder/affected stakeholder [definition]: A stakeholder refers to any individual who may affect or be affected by an organization’s activities. An affected stakeholder refers here specifically to an individual whose human rights has been affected by an enterprise’s operations, products or services.
Stakeholder engagement/consultation [definition]: Stakeholder engagement or consultation refers here to an ongoing process of interaction and dialogue between an enterprise and its potentially affected stakeholders that enables the enterprise to hear, understand and respond to their interests and concerns, including through collaborative approaches.
OECD, Due Diligence Guidance for Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement
Stakeholder engagement is an expectation of responsible business conduct. It is also an effective activity for identifying and avoiding potential adverse impacts of an extractive operation, appropriately mitigating and remedying impacts when they do occur, and ensuring that potential positive impacts of extractive activities are optimised for all stakeholders. In this sense, stakeholder engagement is an important means of implementing due diligence. Stakeholders themselves can contribute important knowledge to help identify potential or actual impacts on themselves or their surroundings. The values and priorities of impacted stakeholders are vital considerations in evaluating impacts and identifying appropriate avoidance or mitigation steps.
However, if stakeholder engagement activities are not properly supported, developed or executed, their due diligence function may not be realised, and adverse impacts may not be avoided or addressed. Furthermore, poor stakeholder engagement can in and of itself give rise to actual or perceived adverse impacts and jeopardise potential benefits to stakeholders.
Stakeholders are persons or groups who are or could be directly or indirectly affected by a project or activity. From a due diligence perspective priority should be given to those stakeholders for whom the risk of adverse impacts is greatest or the potential adverse impact is severe or could become irremediable. Priorities for engagement could include but are not limited to:
- potentially impacted local communities (…)
- indigenous peoples
- workers (including local and migrant workers)
- artisanal miners
- host governments (local, regional and national)
- local civil society organisations (CSOs), community-based organisations and local human rights defenders.
Additionally interested stakeholders that may be important for meaningful engagement may include:
- industry peers
- business partners
- the media.
UN, Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
3. In meeting their duty to protect, States should: (…)
(d) Encourage, and where appropriate require, business enterprises to communicate how they address their human rights impacts.
Communication by business enterprises on how they address their human rights impacts can range from informal engagement with affected stakeholders to formal public reporting. (…) Any stipulation of what would constitute adequate communication should take into account risks that it may pose to the safety and security of individuals and facilities (…)
18. In order to gauge human rights risks, business enterprises should identify and assess any actual or potential adverse human rights impacts with which they may be involved either through their own activities or as a result of their business relationships. This process should: (…)
(b) Involve meaningful consultation with potentially affected groups and other relevant stakeholders, as appropriate to the size of the business enterprise and the nature and context of the operation.
To enable business enterprises to assess their human rights impacts accurately, they should seek to understand the concerns of potentially affected stakeholders by consulting them directly in a manner that takes into account language and other potential barriers to effective engagement. In situations where such consultation is not possible, business enterprises should consider reasonable alternatives such as consulting credible, independent expert resources, including human rights defenders and others from civil society.
20. In order to verify whether adverse human rights impacts are being addressed, business enterprises should track the effectiveness of their response. Tracking should: (…)
(b) Draw on feedback from both internal and external sources, including affected stakeholders.
21. In order to account for how they address their human rights impacts, business enterprises should be prepared to communicate this externally, particularly when concerns are raised by or on behalf of affected stakeholders. (…) In all instances, communications should: (…)
(a) Be of a form and frequency that reflect an enterprise’s human rights impacts and that are accessible to its intended audiences; (…)
(c) In turn not pose risks to affected stakeholders, personnel or to legitimate requirements of commercial confidentiality.
(…) Showing involves communication, providing a measure of transparency and accountability to individuals or groups who may be impacted and to other relevant stakeholders, including investors.
Communication can take a variety of forms, including in-person meetings, online dialogues, consultation with affected stakeholders, and formal public reports. Formal reporting is itself evolving, from traditional annual reports and corporate responsibility/sustainability reports, to include on-line updates and integrated financial and non-financial reports.
23. Issues of context (…)
Some operating environments, such as conflict-affected areas, may increase the risks of enterprises being complicit in gross human rights abuses committed by other actors (security forces, for example). (…) In complex contexts such as these, business enterprises should ensure that they do not exacerbate the situation. In assessing how best to respond, they will often be well advised to draw on not only expertise and cross-functional consultation within the enterprise, but also to consult externally with credible, independent experts, including from governments, civil society, national human rights institutions and relevant multi-stakeholder initiatives.
28. States should consider ways to facilitate access to effective non-State-based grievance mechanisms dealing with business-related human rights harms.
One category of non-State-based grievance mechanisms encompasses those administered by a business enterprise alone or with stakeholders, by an industry association or a multistakeholder group. They are non-judicial, but may use adjudicative, dialogue-based or other culturally appropriate and rights-compatible processes. These mechanisms may offer particular benefits such as speed of access and remediation, reduced costs and/or transnational reach. (…)
29. To make it possible for grievances to be addressed early and remediated directly, business enterprises should establish or participate in effective operational-level grievance mechanisms for individuals and communities who may be adversely impacted.
Operational-level grievance mechanisms can be important complements to wider stakeholder engagement and collective bargaining processes, but cannot substitute for either. (…)
31. In order to ensure their effectiveness, non-judicial grievance mechanisms, both State-based and non-State-based, should be:
(a) Legitimate: enabling trust from the stakeholder groups for whose use they are intended, and being accountable for the fair conduct of grievance processes;
(b) Accessible: being known to all stakeholder groups for whose use they are intended, and providing adequate assistance for those who may face particular barriers to access; (…)
Operational-level mechanisms should also be:
(h) Based on engagement and dialogue: consulting the stakeholder groups for whose use they are intended on their design and performance, and focusing on dialogue as the means to address and resolve grievances.
(h) For an operational-level grievance mechanism, engaging with affected stakeholder groups about its design and performance can help to ensure that it meets their needs, that they will use it in practice, and that there is a shared interest in ensuring its success. Since a business enterprise cannot, with legitimacy, both be the subject of complaints and unilaterally determine their outcome, these mechanisms should focus on reaching agreed solutions through dialogue. Where adjudication is needed, this should be provided by a legitimate, independent third-party mechanism.
UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, An Interpretive Guide
Q 30. What is the role of stakeholder engagement?
Human rights due diligence is about people. It reflects the entitlement of every human being to be treated with dignity. It therefore involves relationships— between an enterprise and those on whom it may have an impact.
Hence, the key to human rights due diligence is the need to understand the perspective of potentially affected individuals and groups. Where possible and appropriate to the enterprise’s size or human rights risk profile, this should involve direct consultation with those who may be affected or their legitimate representatives, as discussed further under Guiding Principle 18.
Q 33. Can human rights due diligence or parts of it be carried out by external experts?
(…) It is also ill-advised for an enterprise to delegate engagement with its potentially affected stakeholders entirely to external experts, since this undermines its capacity to truly understand the perspectives of those it may have an impact on and to build trusting and productive relationships with them. However, involving local third parties in the enterprise’s own engagement efforts may help to bridge cultural gaps. In particular, where relationships with affected stakeholders already have a history of distrust, it may well be important to identify a neutral third party who can support and assist such stakeholder engagement, at least at the initial stages.
Q 42. What is the role of consultation with directly affected groups and other relevant stakeholders in the assessment of human rights impact?
(…) Engagement with stakeholders plays a number of roles. It enables an enterprise to identify whether stakeholders have the same or different perspectives (than the enterprise and than each other) on what constitutes an impact on their human rights and on how significant an impact may be. For instance, damage to land that belongs to an indigenous community but is not farmed or otherwise used for economic purposes might seem to the enterprise to represent a low-level impact on the right to property that can easily be addressed through financial compensation or the provision of alternative land; whereas an indigenous community may consider that there is a far greater impact related to the role of that land in its culture, traditions and beliefs. Changes to factory shift hours that seem to make sense to the management of an enterprise may have a particular impact on women with childcare responsibilities or individuals with whose religious practices the new hours would interfere. It is often only through talking to those who may be affected that these issues come to light and can be addressed. (…)
Some individuals or groups may be at risk of exclusion from the consultation process unless targeted efforts are made to reach out to them. There may be competing views among and within stakeholder groups about the relative significance of certain impacts. Where there is a legacy of distrust between the enterprise and stakeholders, there may be a need for a neutral, trusted individual to facilitate the engagement process.
Q 49. How should the effectiveness of responses be tracked?
If there are human rights issues that result from environmental impacts—for example, related to water and health—there may be established and quite precise international as well as national standards that offer ready metrics. This does not necessarily mean that those who believe they are being harmed trust those standards or trust the enterprise (or any third party paid by the enterprise) to be honest in the measurements it provides. In situations such as these, the enterprise should consider the scope for agreeing with affected stakeholders on an individual or organization that all concerned will trust to provide accurate assessments. Alternatively, joint fact-finding by company and community representatives may be possible. This will often require either that affected stakeholders are able freely to identify an expert to represent them in that process, or that one or more of the affected stakeholders are themselves trained so they have the necessary expertise to participate in the joint process.
Q 76. How does the mechanism relate to wider stakeholder engagement?
The Guiding Principles and this Interpretative Guide repeatedly highlight the role of stakeholder engagement in human rights due diligence for any enterprise with significant human rights risks. An effective grievance mechanism is not a substitute for this broad stakeholder engagement. Rather, it is an important complement. Having a grievance mechanism, however good, without wider stakeholder engagement processes, risks signalling to affected stakeholders that the enterprise wants to hear from them only when they have real problems.
That said, the Guiding Principles also recognize that small or medium-sized enterprises may not need to engage directly with affected stakeholders if they have limited human rights risks and engagement is a genuine challenge for geographical, financial or other reasons. Such enterprises will look to other means of gathering information and perspectives about their potential human rights impact, as discussed under Guiding Principle 18. For these enterprises, having a simple but effective grievance mechanism can be one way of ensuring that they are still able to identify problems raised directly by those who may be affected.
ISO 26000, Guidance on Social Responsibility
5.3.3 Stakeholder engagement
Stakeholder engagement can take many forms. It can be initiated by an organization or it can begin as a response by an organization to one or more stakeholders. It can take place in either informal or formal meetings and can follow a wide variety of formats such as individual meetings, conferences, workshops, public hearings, round-table discussions, advisory committees, regular and structured information and consultation procedures, collective bargaining and web-based forums. Stakeholders engagement should be interactive and is intended to provide opportunities for stakeholders’ views to be heard. Its essential feature is that it involves two-way communication.
Stakeholder engagement is more likely to be meaningful when the following elements are present:
- a clear purpose for the engagement is understood;
- the stakeholder’s interests have been identified;
- the relationship that these interests establish between the organization and the stakeholder is direct or important;
- the interests of stakeholders are relevant and significant to sustainable development; and
- the stakeholders have the necessary information and understanding to make their decisions.
International Finance Corporation, Performance Standards
5. (…) The ESMS [Environmental and Social Assessment and Management System] will incorporate the following elements: … (vi) stakeholder engagement…
25. Stakeholder engagement is the basis for building strong, constructive, and responsive relationships that are essential for the successful management of a project’s environmental and social impacts. Stakeholder engagement is an ongoing process that may involve, in varying degrees, the following elements: stakeholder analysis and planning, disclosure and dissemination of information, consultation and participation, grievance mechanism, and ongoing reporting to Affected Communities. The nature, frequency, and level of effort of stakeholder engagement may vary considerably and will be commensurate with the project’s risks and adverse impacts, and the project’s phase of development.
Stakeholder Analysis and Engagement Planning
26. Clients should identify the range of stakeholders that may be interested in their actions and consider how external communications might facilitate a dialog with all stakeholders (…).
27. The client will develop and implement a Stakeholder Engagement Plan that is scaled to the project risks and impacts and development stage, and be tailored to the characteristics and interests of the Affected Communities. Where applicable, the Stakeholder Engagement Plan will include differentiated measures to allow the effective participation of those identified as disadvantaged or vulnerable. When the stakeholder engagement process depends substantially on community representatives, the client will make every reasonable effort to verify that such persons do in fact represent the views of Affected Communities and that they can be relied upon to faithfully communicate the results of consultations to their constituents.
28. In cases where the exact location of the project is not known, but it is reasonably expected to have significant impacts on local communities, the client will prepare a Stakeholder Engagement Framework, as part of its management program, outlining general principles and a strategy to identify Affected Communities and other relevant stakeholders and plan for an engagement process compatible with this Performance Standard that will be implemented once the physical location of the project is known.
30. When Affected Communities are subject to identified risks and adverse impacts from a project, the client will undertake a process of consultation in a manner that provides the Affected Communities with opportunities to express their views on project risks, impacts and mitigation measures, and allows the client to consider and respond to them. The extent and degree of engagement required by the consultation process should be commensurate with the project’s risks and adverse impacts and with the concerns raised by the Affected Communities. Effective consultation is a two-way process that should:
(i) begin early in the process of identification of environmental and social risks and impacts and continue on an ongoing basis as risks and impacts arise;
(ii) be based on the prior disclosure and dissemination of relevant, transparent, objective, meaningful and easily accessible information which is in a culturally appropriate local language(s) and format and is understandable to Affected Communities;
(iii) focus inclusive engagement on those directly affected as opposed to those not directly affected; [inclusive engagement covers] men, women, the elderly, youth, displaced persons, and vulnerable and disadvantaged persons or groups.
(iv) be free of external manipulation, interference, coercion, or intimidation;
(v) enable meaningful participation, where applicable; and
(vi) be documented.
The client will tailor its consultation process to the language preferences of the Affected Communities, their decision-making process, and the needs of disadvantaged or vulnerable groups. If clients have already engaged in such a process, they will provide adequate documented evidence of such engagement.
Informed Consultation and Participation
31. For projects with potentially significant adverse impacts on Affected Communities, the client will conduct an Informed Consultation and Participation (ICP) process (…). ICP involves a more in-depth exchange of views and information, and an organized and iterative consultation (…) The consultation process should (i) capture both men’s and women’s views, if necessary through separate forums or engagements, and (ii) reflect men’s and women’s different concerns and priorities about impacts, mitigation mechanisms, and benefits, where appropriate.
34. Clients will implement and maintain a procedure for external communications that includes methods to
(i) receive and register external communications from the public;
(ii) screen and assess the issues raised and determine how to address them;
(iii) provide, track, and document responses, if any; and
(iv) adjust the management program, as appropriate.
In addition, clients are encouraged to make publicly available periodic reports on their environmental and social sustainability.
Grievance Mechanism for Affected Communities
35. [The grievance mechanism] should seek to resolve concerns promptly, using an understandable and transparent consultative process that is culturally appropriate and readily accessible, and at no cost and without retribution to the party that originated the issue or concern. The mechanism should not impede access to judicial or administrative remedies. The client will inform the Affected Communities about the mechanism in the course of the stakeholder engagement process.
OECD, Due Diligence Guidance for Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement
ANNEX A: Monitoring and evaluation framework for meaningful stakeholder engagement
The Table A.1 represents a deliberately simple, illustrative framework for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of stakeholder engagement activities. The indicators and assessment criteria are meant to provide guidance to enterprises on the elements that should be considered when conducting M&E of stakeholder engagement processes but are not meant to be prescriptive.
|Assign realistic and appropriate timelines for engagement||Ease of process in adapting timeframes in response to contextual issuesTiming of initial contact with stakeholder groups in relation to project plansAverage length of notice stakeholders are given regarding meetings and other engagement activities||Good: Timelines are discussed with stakeholders themselves and reflect operational and contextual realities. Some flexibility is built into timelines. Stakeholders are engaged at the earliest possible time, they are given sufficient notice of meetings and sufficient time to consider and internally discuss any proposals or decisions. Moderate: Timelines reflect operational realties but are not discussed with stakeholders ahead of time and thus must be readjusted. Poor: Timelines are unrealistic and inflexible. Stakeholders are not consulted when establishing timelines and thus delays are incurred by the enterprise. Stakeholders do not have sufficient notice or time to adequately engage.|
DCAF & ICRC, Addressing Security and Human Rights in Complex Environments
Working with communities
While effective stakeholder engagement requires considerable investment of time and resources, developing good relationships with local communities is essential to the long-term sustainability and success of a project. (…) Community-related security risks are frequently the result of unaddressed concerns, negative impacts, or misunderstandings about non-security related issues such as employment, land, environment, compensation, resettlement, and negative legacies from previous company projects, to name a few. When concerns and grievances go unaddressed or unmitigated, these issues can escalate into tensions and may eventually result in situations of violence.
This chapter therefore adopts both a prevention and a conflict management approach to addressing some of the most common security and human rights challenges related to corporate-community relations. While many good practices will be specific to a situation or context, some key recommendations recur because they are essential to good stakeholder engagement. These include:
- Understanding the context and assessing actual and potential risks and impacts thoroughly;
- Engaging with communities from the moment the first company representative, contractor or security guard sets foot on the ground. Communities should be considered as hosts and the company as a temporary visitor;
- Mapping, analysing and engaging with all relevant stakeholders, ensuring vulnerable groups are included and feel comfortable to participate;
- Ongoing and transparent sharing of information, including timely response to enquiries;
- Showing respect for local culture and treating communities as partners rather than as a threat;
- Listening carefully to concerns and grievances, and involving communities in the development of solutions to address them; and
- Investing time in developing strong relationships with local communities and allowing ample time for community consultations and decision-making. (…)
Corporate-community relations do not happen in a vacuum. This chapter therefore addresses operational issues that must be analysed within the context of a complex operating environment. Community concerns and grievances targeted at the company will often be the result of weak governance, poor public services, and lack of genuine engagement on the part of the host government. Companies, therefore, must assess how all aspects of their operations, beyond just security measures, interact with the existing context. Critical analysis must be applied to understand whether the company’s actions are reinforcing inequalities, increasing competition for resources, and reducing the extent to which community members have a voice in decision-making, or whether, conversely, company actions are reinforcing good governance, respecting human rights, and safeguarding human security. In this respect, while companies cannot and should not replace the government, efforts can be made to support a stronger government role. Furthermore, where national governance is weak, compliance with national legal requirements may not be enough to fulfill the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. In some situations, domestic laws may even conflict with international human rights law and standards. Companies will therefore need to conduct enhanced human rights due diligence and go beyond national legal requirements to ensure respect for human rights in their operations.
4.1. Stakeholder engagement strategy
B. Communities often comprise multiple sub-groups with different power structures, interests, needs and vulnerabilities. In these situations, inclusive community engagement can be particularly challenging and companies may face the risk of favouring or inadvertently excluding some sub-groups, thus creating or fuelling existing tensions.
Ensure the stakeholder engagement strategy is inclusive
- Prioritise impacted stakeholder groups, and especially individuals who are vulnerable and at risk of marginalisation. The more a stakeholder group is materially affected by a component of the project, the more important it is for them to be properly informed and encouraged to participate in matters that have direct bearing on them, including proposed mitigation measures, the sharing of development benefits and opportunities, and implementation or monitoring issues.
- Consider that children are among the most vulnerable population groups and “usually less well placed to advocate for their own interests”.(…)
- Engage with those who oppose the project. Often their opposition may be rooted in legitimate concerns that should be taken into consideration and responded to.
- Be cautious in engaging with armed groups as this “may expose the company to allegations of bribery, corruption and illegality.” Take into account that the local community and the armed group may be inextricably linked through predatory or positive relationships of their own. (…)
C. Companies may at times engage with community members who take advantage of their positions to capture benefits without taking into account the interests and needs of the community.
Identify legitimate representatives of the different community sub-groups
- Allow stakeholders to choose their own representatives, but consider intervening in cases where the selection of representatives is clearly biased towards a specific segment of the community (e.g. men, old people, an ethnic group, a family, etc.).
- Ensure representatives reflect the diversity of stakeholder groups, as well as the diversity of interests that may be present. “It is important to keep in mind that not all stakeholders in a particular group or sub-group will necessarily share the same concerns or have unified opinions or priorities.”
- “Be aware that the very act of establishing certain people as the “liaison” between the local population and the project confers upon them a certain degree of power and influence.”
- Combine engagement with representatives with direct engagement with community members
- Follow local decision-making procedures, but, at the same time, make community involvement a condition for any agreements.
- “Engage with both formal and informal leaders”, and reach out to both men and women, youth and elders, all socioeconomic, caste, ethnic and religious groups.
- Consider also engaging with proxy representatives, i.e. “representatives that do not actually belong to a stakeholder group themselves but are in tune with the needs and wants of the group, such as civil society organisations or appointed neutral agents (…). This should only be the case where such representation is requested or authorised by the right-holders in question.”
Seek to ensure the government fulfils its responsibility regarding consultations
- Keep track of government-led consultations on issues related to the project, as they might have implications for future stakeholder relations.
- Determine at what stages such engagement took place, what commitments and agreements were made, and what unresolved issues still exist that could impact the relationship with local communities.
- Seek to participate in, or at least observe, government-led consultations with stakeholders, being careful not to create the perception of being on the government’s side.
- Endeavour to bring the government on board, as convenor and guarantor of the process, to help define the scope of consultations and, where applicable, Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)
- Consider providing logistical support (such as travel expenses) to government entities to ensure they are present and able to lead the consultations. To reduce any risk of being perceived as supporting a government that is not operating in the community’s interest, be transparent and clear in indicating to communities that the company is striving to improve the government’s capacity to lead the process in good faith.
Successful engagement is based on some simple, practical principles that represent a blend of ethical considerations and common sense:
- Respect: Be respectful in your contact and communication; how you dress, speak, and act will determine the quality of the relationship you have with community members.
- Honesty: Ensure full, true and plain disclosure of information and your purpose, so as not to raise expectations.
- Inclusion: Be inclusive in the process, so that all parties feel they have an opportunity to share their perspectives. Otherwise, the community will perceive that the company only speaks to those who support the project or are easy to talk to.
- Transparency: Establish and maintain complete transparency in all aspects of the process, so that people trust the process that you are undertaking.
- Communication: Genuinely and actively listen to community members, rather than trying to sell them on the benefits of the project.
Ideally, a good consultation process will be:
- Targeted at those most likely to be affected by the project
- Early enough to scope key issues and have an effect on the project decisions to which they relate
- Informed as a result of relevant information being disseminated in advance
- Meaningful to those consulted because the content is presented in a readily understandable format and the techniques used are culturally appropriate
- Two-way so that both sides have the opportunity to exchange views and information, to listen, and to have their issues addressed
- Gender-inclusive through awareness that men and women often have differing views and needs
- Localized to reflect appropriate timeframes, context, and local languages
- Free from manipulation or coercion
- Documented to keep track of who has been consulted and the key issues raised
- Reported back in a timely way to those consulted, with clarification of next steps
- Ongoing as required during the life of the project
UN, Principles for Responsible Contracts
Principle 7: The project should have an effective community engagement plan through its life-cycle, starting at the earliest stages of the project.
Key implications of Principle 7 for the negotiations:
- Both the State and business investor should view community engagement as fundamental aspects of creating common expectations for the project, and mitigating risks for themselves, for the project and for individuals and communities impacted by the project.
- The community engagement plan should be inclusive with clear lines of responsibility and accountability. It should be initiated as soon as practicable.
- Consultation with impacted communities and individuals should take place before the finalization of the contract.
- Disclosure of information about the project and its impacts is an integral part of meaningful community engagement.
- The history of any previous engagement efforts carried out by either of the parties with the local community regarding the investment project needs to be known by both parties in order to take this into account in planning.
- Community engagement plans should be aligned at a minimum to the requirements of domestic and international standards. For example, free prior informed consent or consultation with those potentially impacted may be required.
Brief explanation: Community engagement
47. Effective and ongoing community engagement from the initial stages of investment projects is now widely recognized as minimum good practice for successful projects. It is the best way to identify and understand potential negative human rights impacts and identify effective preventative and mitigation measures. Effective engagement helps to manage expectations and foster trust of local communities – both of which are particularly important in the context of long-term investments.
48. Effective engagement is inclusive and designed to facilitate the involvement of all relevant individuals and groups, paying attention to gender differences and to those at heightened risk of vulnerability or marginalization. For example, in places where men may speak for a family or group, it might be more difficult to learn about risks specific to women. Specialized approaches should be developed to understand such risks, and they should be explored from the earliest stages of project execution. For instance, where women are in charge of collecting water for the family, men consulted may not identify the relocation of a community well as having a serious potential impact, whereas it may be critical to the women’s ability to continue to access water safely and as needed.
49. It may not be possible to include detailed plans for engagement in the contract because these will be developed in part with entities and people who may not be party to the negotiation. For example, those individuals and communities who will be impacted (see Principle 2) and perhaps local or regional authorities will contribute to the creation of detailed engagement plans. However, the State and the business investor can define their expectations and responsibilities for carrying out community engagement at the time of contracting. For example, the parties can agree (1) that a plan for engagement will be developed in an inclusive manner before project activities impacting local individuals or communities begin, (2) that specific prevention and mitigation measures will be developed, where possible, with those at risk of being impacted, and (3) to minimum criteria for effective engagement.
50. Sharing information with individuals and communities potentially impacted by the project on the prevention and mitigation of potential negative impacts should be viewed as integral to the overall community engagement plan—including information on security, access to a project-level grievance mechanism and contract terms . Disclosure of monitoring reports, reports on measures to prevent and mitigate adverse impacts and other information relevant to human rights will keep people informed about the project and how it might impact their lives (…)
Rio Tinto, Why Agreements Matter
Figure 1: Five dimensions of agreement processes
Engagement for agreements – a three-part process
Agreements require constant attention to three equally important issues: process, relationship and content (see Figure 3). One of the most common mistakes in developing community agreements occurs when parties rush to negotiate content and place too little emphasis on relationships and good process. Processes for negotiating and implementing an agreement should ensure that community members can participate in meaningful ways at appropriate stages. Early, inclusive engagement focuses on strengthening the relationship between the parties. Inclusive engagement underpins sound relationships and good process, which are just as vital as content.
Matters to focus on during early engagement over an agreement
- Identifying parties to the agreement on the basis of their direct interests in the project or operational area and their legal status
- Understanding the role of government in the agreement process; and their expectations of companies
- Engaging broadly and proactively with the full diversity of community groups
- Settling on the agreed parties, representatives of the parties and observers
- Undertaking internal preparations, including risk assessments
- Aligning internal functions by communicating the company’s vision, priorities and internal standards for its relationships with communities
- Establishing a negotiating process – sometimes set out in a memorandum of understanding – and other key process matters
- Agreeing on conditions and arrangements where the company agrees to resource the costs of negotiating, especially for disadvantaged parties
- Outlining the agreement drafting process
- Clarifying the communication process so that the members of the groups are fully aware of the terms being negotiated and kept up-to-date with progress
- Setting up a public notification of intent to reach an agreement so that grievances are considered before settlement
- Sharing information to enable genuine informed participation
- Planning an appropriate settlement ceremony
BHP, Sustainability Report
We aim to build mutually beneficial relationships through regular, open and honest dialogue with host communities. (…) With community input, we undertake actions to understand the social and economic environment, recognise key stakeholders (including those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged) and identify the possible social impacts of our operations. We also work closely with other industry partners to understand our collective impact and the best approach to work together more effectively.
Our collaborative community approach
H&M, Sustainability Report
Our Fair Living Wage Strategy
We believe that well-functioning industrial relations, including collective bargaining, are key to achieve fair living wages and improved working conditions.
Achieving systemic change requires a huge amount of collaboration between stakeholders such as governments, suppliers, brands and trade unions. For solutions to work, they must connect relevant stakeholders at the right time and in the right way – as shown in Fair Living Wage Strategy diagram. For example, because we share suppliers with many other retailers (and factory workers receive the same wage no matter which brand they are making products for), we must build partnerships with other brands to drive sustainable change across the industry.
We also engage with governments and other partners to promote the required legal framework for enabling negotiations between employers and worker representatives. This involves regularly advocating stronger wage legislation in priority countries and meeting with ministers every year.
Another part of the puzzle is facilitating the democratic election of effective employee representation at factories through trade unions or worker committees (dependent on local context and choice of employees). Democratically-elected worker representatives are an essential component of functioning industrial relations, which also forms the base for fairly negotiated wages. By incentivising and enabling factories to create these systems, we can contribute to the building blocks for peaceful conflict resolution and collective bargaining.
It is also important for factories to implement improved wage management systems. The H&M group is currently using the Fair Wage method, which aims to create management systems in which workers know what wages they are entitled to (including overtime compensation and benefits), as well as ensuring they are paid according to their skills, experience and performance. We also need to ensure that our own purchasing practices support our suppliers in implementing fair living wages. Our practices should make it possible to fulfil our business idea and give long-term benefits to workers, suppliers, customers and the environment.
Kamminga, Company Responses to Human Rights Reports
How do companies respond to their critics? Are there significant differences in responsiveness between industrial sectors, between the countries in which companies are based and between the companies themselves? Do responses reflect the belief that companies have a responsibility to respect human rights? Do companies that participate in the UN Global Compact react more responsibly than those that don’t? This paper attempts to answer these questions by examining company responses to civil society reports contained in the company responses database of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. The analysis covers responses to 1877 requests made by the Resource Centre from 2005-2014.
The quintessential non-responding company therefore is a state-owned corporation based in China, India, Israel or Russia that is conducting extractive activities outside its home country. Such a company is most likely to be oblivious to due diligence requirements. Lawmakers, campaigners and scholars are therefore advised to focus priority attention on this category of companies. Unwillingness to respond to human rights reports does not in itself prove that a company has committed human rights abuses. But it does serve as a signal that a company does not take seriously its due diligence obligation to engage with civil society as required by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. A company that repeatedly fails to respond to human rights reports criticizing fundamental aspects of its operations at the very least raises the suspicion that it is not complying with its wider human rights due diligence obligations. Unresponsiveness therefore serves as a flag that closer scrutiny, including qualitative analysis, of a company’s conduct is warranted.
Chou et al, Local Engagement in Programs of Climate Investment Funds
This case study adds to the growing body of work on local stakeholder engagement (LSE) and explores the benefits and effectiveness of LSE in Climate Investment Funds (CIF) programs in Cambodia.(…)
Key lessons learned
1. Early LSE is Crucial in all Stages of the Investment Plan and Project Implementation Cycle
LSE engagement in all stages of the investment plan and project implementation cycle allows for targeted and useful project development and identifies vulnerabilities and climate risks. The sooner civil society, local governments, private sector, and local communities engage in information sharing, project implementation, and partnership, the more likely is a smooth project implementation. (…)
2. Coperation with Local Authorities, Especially Commune Councils, Leads to Sustainability
Cooperation with local authorities, especially with commune councils, is crucial as their personal and community networks are trusted by the local stakeholders. These groups have been able to inform local stakeholders, who uniquely understand the local context, making the communes essential to the success of CIF Cambodia projects. Furthermore, engaging commune councils helps to integrate climate resilient programs into commune investment programs (CIPs) and commune development planning (CDPs). This helps to ensure that financial sustainability can be sustained after project completion. Commune councils, however, are generally not aware or have little understanding of project designs early in the process.(…)
4. Designing Appropriate Facilitation and Consultation Processes and Clearly Explaining and Sharing them with Local Stakeholders Leads to Better Engagement Outcomes
To enhance participation and project implementation, it is necessary to design appropriate facilitation and consultation processes, partnership and ownership. It is essential to fully explain from the start the goals of the project to all stakeholders, including targeted vulnerable groups. When all stakeholders receive adequate information, they can prepare themselves to engage and support the project. For example, when Learning Institute explained their project in Battambang (including objective, scope, and budget) to the commune council and local community, all stakeholders actively engaged in the project, especially the commune chief of Wat Tamoeum, as well as the farmers’ community for smart agriculture on vegetable growing, which uses a drip-system. The local authorities and community members ensured the effectiveness and sustainability of the project by contributing resources and underscoring the trust that had been built through the focus group discussions held in August 2018 at Wat Tamoeum commune.
5. Effective LSE Requires a Coordination Team to Ensure a Strong Connection between Vertical and Horizontal Engagement
LSE requires a coordination team or unit to ensure the vertical and horizontal engagement needed to achieve efficiency, effectiveness, and equity. Since the capacity of local stakeholders is still limited – particularly in the case of CSOs, local authorities, and local communities – consultants or observers could help fill the gaps. This is true for project management and planning; disaster risk reduction; carrying out of VRAs; working on livelihood improvement, small-scale infrastructure, soil and forest conservation, and climate-resilient agriculture. For instance, Plan International played an important role in administering the CSSM under the TA. It was able to cooperate with 19 CSOs to achieve tangible benefits. Furthermore, commune councils and CSOs worked closely with Plan International to integrate project outcomes into commune development planning. In addition, there are several international organizations, CSOs and private sector actors working at the country level on technology transfer that could fill this role.
6. National CSOs Should Provide More Detailed Training Materials to Local Stakeholders for More Consistent and Better Outcomes
A useful tool for assessing climate risk and the vulnerability of local people and communities is a vulnerability reduction assessment (VRA). VRAs enable participants to build their adaptive capacity to climate change impacts by helping them better understand climate risks and vulnerabilities. CSOs that conduct VRAs should give more consideration to the criteria used to select participants, tools, and how results are interpreted. Some projects achieved outputs slightly different to what was expected by the VRA, especially those assessing small-scale irrigation or community ponds. Inconsistencies and unexpected results led to questions about criteria and processes used. A detailed VRA manual shared with local stakeholders upfront could have bridged the capacity and knowledge gaps as CSOs carried out the VRAs, bringing more consistency and better results.
Kraing Serei Community Forest, for example, is an association having relatively little understanding of climate change and climate change adaptation strategies. After receiving VRA training with the supporting documents and close mentoring by Plan International staff, this community successfully restored forests and water storage in three villages (Kraing Chress, Kraing Sya, and Tropeang Kroloeng of Kiri Voan commune, Phnom Sruoch district, Kampong Speu province). The use of VRA tools has lead to the creation of businesses (water supply, eco-tourism, etc.) that support climate resilient agriculture, water supply, hygiene, and forest restoration even after the project closed in December 2017.
Prakas on Corporate Governance for the Listed Company
Chapter VI Stakeholders
Article 40. – Protection of stakeholders’ rights
Creditors or individuals who have an interest in or have a contract with the listed companies shall be considered stakeholders of the listed companies.
All stakeholders of the listed companies shall be protected by the listed companies as follows:
- Set up a clear strategic management policy to support and protect stakeholders’ rights;
- Ensure the compliance with the Labour Law of the Kingdom of Cambodia;
- Recognize and protect the rights of stakeholders separately from the rights of shareholders;
- Not neglect the corporate social responsibility such as consumer protection and environmental protection.
Article 41. – Stakeholder information and monitoring
The listed companies shall provide stakeholders with the necessary information to monitor the listed companies and protect their rights.
OECD, Corporate Governance in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar & Vietnam
In the 2018 Doing Business report, CLMV countries are ranked among the low performers in Protecting Minority Investors (see Figure 1.2 and 1.7) (World Bank Doing Business, 2018). CLMV countries are yet to introduce significant reforms in the area of protecting minority investors (World Bank Doing Business 2018) (…) Cambodia is the lowest performer in the Shareholder Right Index. (…)
(…) ASEAN member countries have taken important steps towards developing a region with the free movement of goods, services, investment and skilled labour in addition to freer flows of capital, as outlined in the AEC Blueprint. One instrument supporting capital market integration is the ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard, which is developed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the ASEAN Capital Market Forum (ACMF) to assess the corporate governance of publicly listed companies in six Southeast Asian countries using a methodology benchmarked against the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance. Promoting good corporate governance practices and capital market development will help CLMV to capitalise on the benefits of the AEC and regional and international reforms.
The ASEAN Corporate Governance Initiative, composed of the ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard and assessment and ranking of ASEAN publicly listed companies (PLCs), is among several regional initiatives of the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF). This initiative has been a collaborative effort of ACMF and the Asian Development Bank since 2011. The Scorecard covers the following five areas as identified in the OECD Principles:
- Part A: rights of shareholders
- Part B: equitable treatment of shareholders
- Part C: role of stakeholders
- Part D: disclosure and transparency
- Part E: responsibilities of the board.
Minority shareholder rights is an important issue in Cambodia, as there is a high level of concentrated ownership among listed companies.
According to World Bank Doing Business 2018, Cambodia ranks 131 out of 189 economies on the Protecting Minority Investors Index. Doing Business measures a number of important corporate governance elements, including: the protection of minority shareholders; shareholder’s rights; level of disclosure; level of director liability; level of ownership and control; ease of creating a shareholder suit; level of corporate transparency; level of conflict of interest regulation; and level of shareholder governance. (…)
Roles and Responsibilities of the Board:
- Shall ensure that the listed public company communicates effectively with shareholders, and other stakeholders;
There is also a general lack of awareness on good corporate governance practices in Cambodia. Legal practitioners have not developed noteworthy capacity and knowledge on the topic and foreign legal counsels, which are more familiar with these concepts, have failed to generate demand of corporate governance services domestically. The private sector is unaware of the benefits of corporate governance, and courts are also unfamiliar with the topic and therefore no case law on corporate governance has been developed in Cambodian courts since the adoption of the Law on Commercial Enterprises in 2005.
ASEAN Capital Markets Forum, ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard
3. Desired Outcomes
The Scorecard and assessment are intended to raise corporate governance standards and practices of ASEAN PLCs, and to showcase top ASEAN PLCs and increase their visibility and investability to global investors. This can improve the liquidity and valuations of well-governed ASEAN PLCs. ASEAN PLCs are encouraged to use the Scorecard as a tool in their ongoing journey to improve their corporate governance practices.
The Scorecard and its results can also be used by regulators as a reference for reviewing corporate governance rules and guidelines in order to enhance corporate governance practices amongst PLCs. It is also hoped that the ASEAN CG Scorecard will facilitate convergence in methodology for assessing the corporate governance of PLCs.
ASEAN Capital Markets Forum, ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard (v.2.0)
World Bank, Stakeholder Consultation Plan
The World Bank Group (WBG) is preparing a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with Cambodia for 2019 – 2023. The CPF builds on the Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD), which was prepared by WBG staff in close cooperation with the government and other stakeholders in Cambodia. The SCD identifies and analyzes the key challenges to and opportunities or pathways for achieving strong, sustainable, and equitable growth ends extreme poverty. The SCD benefitted from extensive consultations with stakeholders across the country, including elected officials, private sector representatives, civil society and development partners.
As part of the CPF development process, the WBG is undertaking public consultations to inform the drafting of its CPF. This will include both face-to-face meetings with key stakeholder groups across the country, as well as a web-based platform to reach a wider group of stakeholders.
Objective of CPF Consultations
The objective of the consultations is to generate a shared understanding of Cambodia’s most pressing development challenges and where the WBG should concentrate its support over the next five years.
Key Stakeholder Groups to Be Consulted
|Government and Parliament||Officials from the Ministry of Economy and Finance; Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of specific commissions of the National Assembly; officials and representatives of selected Line Ministries; officials and representatives of public entities such as the Anti-Corruption Unit, National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) and the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD)|
|Sub-national Government||Representatives from provincial, district and commune councils|
|Private Sector||Representatives of domestic and international private sector companies|
|NGOs and Civil Society||Representatives of community-based organizations, service delivery NGOs, advocacy NGOs and youth organizations|
|Development Partners||Representatives from Donors and UN agencies|
The Consultation Process
Face-to-Face Consultation Meetings
The face-to-face (F2F) consultation meetings with each of the above-mentioned stakeholder groups will be structured either as plenary presentations and discussions or as small focus group discussions. These face-to-face consultation meetings are by invitation and the schedule will be posted on the consultation webpage.
For consultations with NGOs/CSOs, the WBG will partner with three NGO networks – The Cooperation Committee of Cambodia (CCC), NGO Forum and Khmer Youth Association – to identify participants. Each NGO network will be asked to identify both Phnom Penh and province-based NGO/CSO participants for the F2F consultations.
The F2F consultation meetings will be held in Phnom Penh. The WBG will cover the travel costs of invited participants who need financial assistance to travel to the meetings.
|Phnom Penh||Participants from Phnom Penh, Prey Veng, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Preah Sihanouk, Takeo, Siem Reap, and Battambang provinces|
World Bank Group, Questionnaire on Activities in Cambodia
The World Bank Group (WBG) and the Government of Cambodia are developing a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) which will outline WBG’s support to the government’s development priorities over the next four years (fiscal years 2019 to 2023).
The recent Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) prepared by WBG staff in close consultation with national authorities and other stakeholders helped to identify three broad areas of focus on which the WBG should concentrate its support: i) Promoting state efficiency and boosting private sector development; ii) Fostering human development; and iii) Improving agricultural productivity and strengthening the sustainable use of natural resources. In addition, governance and institutions and citizen engagement were identified as crosscutting themes.
The WBG is seeking the views of stakeholders to help develop the CPF — its strategy to support Cambodia’s development — particularly around these three broad areas.
Cross-cutting Themes: Governance, Institutions, Citizen Engagement
6. In your view, which of the following would contribute most to improving governance, strengthening institutions and promoting citizen engagement in Cambodia? (Please choose no more than three)
- Give more voice to citizens in the design and delivery of government programs
- Strengthen systems for public service providers to respond to citizen feedback on service quality
- Strengthen the overall accountability framework within government
- Have more transparent procurement
- Expand access to information to improve transparency in the use of public funds
- Transfer responsibilities from national to subnational (i.e. district) level to enhance responsiveness to citizens
- Encourage more partnership between government, civil society and the private sector in the delivery of services
- Don’t know
7. In your view, how can the WBG best involve stakeholders (e.g., youth, CSOs, media, citizens, etc.) in monitoring WBG-supported programs? Please be specific.
Ministry of Public Works, Stakeholder Engagement Plan
Stakeholder Engagement Plan
The Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP) seeks to ensure that Project communities, as well as other Project stakeholders, are informed and involved in all the stages of Project preparation and implementation. The Project recognizes the need to seek representative and inclusive feedback and the SEP looks to establish the role of women and vulnerable groups firmly within the consultation process. The Project also recognizes the importance of ensuring affected people are involved in mitigation measures, road safety programs, as well as continuing monitoring of project activities.
The SEP outlines affected stakeholders: those directed impacted by road rehabilitation and interested stakeholders: those with an interest or concern in the project. The SEP describes these different stakeholders and outlines specific methods and timelines to engage them at different stages of the project. The SEP also describes the type of information that will be disclosed, when consultations activities will take place, how stakeholders views will be taken into account and the process for grievance redress.
Consultation is a two-way process of dialogue between the CRCIP project and its stakeholders. CRCIP project consultations will provide opportunities to share information about the project and get feedback, including on issues such as working conditions for contractors, engagement of women, and ways to mitigate potential project risks, in particular to vulnerable groups. Some helpful criteria that should guide consultations with local-level stakeholders, in particular affected people, include: (i) Face-to-face consultations should be inclusive of all stakeholder groups for different sections of the roads, such as women, elderly, people living with a disability and other vulnerable persons, including breaking it down by gender and age when appropriate; (ii) One-on-one household interviews and focus groups will be conducted in a locally/culturally sensitive manner and without external interference or pressure so that interviewees can speak freely; (iii) Notices of meetings and surveys should be sufficiently notified in advance at prominent locations and information should be disclosed ahead of time when applicable; (iv) Comments and suggestions received from participants should be collected and incorporated into this SEP, other project documents, and in ongoing project implementation as much as possible, and stakeholders should be made aware how this was done in follow-up meetings/consultations.
Consultations with Indigenous Peoples (if relevant)
This SEP should be coordinated with the IPPF and, if relevant, with IP Plans. If IP groups are found in the MRD project component, it will be assessed if circumstances requiring Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) apply and/or are desirable. (….)
Methods of Consultations
Depending on the stakeholder, the most appropriate method of consultations will be chosen by the Project. In some cases, national consultations may be the best method to disclose project information, such as when targeting national government ministries (…). Meanwhile, local consultations are essential to inform local people and authorities about the project (…). There are also other forms of consultations that need to be considered and used as relevant. For example, Focus Group Discussions are a good way to get insights into particular issues, such as how the project may be impacting women. Meanwhile, small group trainings – divided by gender if appropriate – are good opportunities to discuss project impacts and mitigation measures, for instance a training on sexually transmitted diseases. (….)
National Consultations are particularly useful to target government representatives, NGOs and other interested groups who have an interest in the project and may also have an ability to influence it. National Consultations were held by MRD on March 5, 2020, in order to disclose and discuss the draft versions of the RF, IPPF and SEP with interested stakeholders as defined by this SEP. The minutes of the consultation carried out by MRD during project preparation can be found in Annex 3. (…) Stakeholders will also be informed, via email or letter communication, about how suggestions were taken into account and/or incorporated. Further stakeholders’ workshops could take place at other stages of the project.
Local consultations will involve mainly face to face group meetings. In some cases, one-on-one consultations or focus group discussions (FGD) may also be carried out, especially to reach and capture the views of vulnerable or disadvantaged groups. Particular emphasis should be placed in seeking out the voice of women and vulnerable groups, such as through female-only FGDs. In the case of women, the Project will need to ensure consultation activities are conducted at a time that is convenient to them, that activities such as FGDs are run by women (particularly for sensitive topics like health or sexual issues), and that women and/or vulnerable groups are representative. On January 16-17, 2020, MPWT carried out four local consultations at different locations with affected and interested stakeholders as defined by this SEP, to disclose and discuss the project and draft RPs, including options for grievance redress. Additional local consultations were carried out online and over the phone, March 20-April 3, 2020 to disclose this SEP, the BRP and the draft ESMPs. Consultations were not conducted at the provinces due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Minutes of these meetings are included in Annex 4. Local-level consultations should continue during project preparation and implementation for both MPWT and MRD components, as detailed in this SEP.
One important way to engage stakeholders will be through trainings on important topics related to the project such as road safety, gender, labor rights (for both men and women), child labor, HIV/AIDS and STDs and gender-based violence. Since some of these topics are quite sensitive, particular measures may need to be in place, such as ensuring some trainings are done in female-only or male only groups, or that they are facilitated by men or women, as appropriate. Community trainings should also include topics such as the grievance redress mechanism and road safety. Road safety training should also be targeted at key stakeholders such as schools, as well as young men, as they are disproportionally the biggest victims of road accidents in the country. Trainings may be delivered by the ESOs, DDIS/ISWSC or NGOs or CSOs with experience in a particular topic.
Consultations with workers and staff
The project will strive to ensure that unskilled workers come from the community as much as possible, so as to minimize the influx of labor. A proposed target of 15% of female unskilled workers, assuming that women in the area show an interest in being hired, is also recommended. Furthermore, contractors and their staff will need to be well consulted and trained on sensitive issues, including being good neighbors (for staff from outside the project area), Staff Code of Conduct, gender-based violence, gender, labor rights, child labor and HIV/AIDS and STDs. Workers also need to be well aware of construction milestones and to have knowledge and access to a worker’s grievance redress mechanism (as per their contract) as well as the project’s GRM detailed in this SEP. Contractors and their staff will be mainly consulted through trainings, on-site interviews, and through regular feedback with supervisors and the DDIS/ISWSC consultants. Table 4 summarizes consultations activities.
Le et al, Stakeholder Perceptions and Involvement in Vietnam and Cambodia
To tackle environmental issues and ensure compliance with regulations, three ports in Vietnam and two ports in Cambodia implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS). The first steps of the EMS were completed during the period 2006e2007, with the establishment of the Port Environmental Policy, the Register of Environmental Aspects and an EMS Programme. Priorities in environmental protection have been identified for each of the ports. The initial assessment of the EMS, based on the documented EMS, was completed by experts from the ECOPORT Foundation, who issued a Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certificate for the ports. This paper presents an assessment of the implementation of the EMS through the eyes of various groups of port stakeholders.
Wellspring Initiative, Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in Cambodia
Need for common language
The triangle actors (i.e. government, civil society, private sector) often do not understand one another’s perspective, values and ideas, or strategic objectives. This is a critical problem which MSIs in Cambodia need to overcome. Firstly, the RGC and civil society sometimes find themselves at odds due to historical distrust. Secondly, the private sector can sometimes be doubtful of civil society because they feel the latter do not add sufficient value in local development. Thirdly, civil society sometimes perceive private sector through their own lens of democracy and human rights, which is often ill-fitting. Moreover, each stakeholder group has their own customs, language, values, and ways of operating which are often incompatible with each other. (…)
Dialogue is informal, not formal
In the current context, meaningful dialogue or consultation happens through informal back channels. Civil society, government and development partners tend to organize medium or large scale forums, conferences, and workshops, with the aim of promoting dialogue. Yet in Cambodian culture, these kinds of formal settings are more for satisfying protocols and reinforcing institutional relationships. The real dialogue and relationship building often happens in coffee breaks, over lunch tables, in between meetings, and in adhoc situations that are often unplanned and/or unexpected. (…)
Most donors or DPs are tied to the priorities, strategies, and sometimes political agendas of their back donors or host country governments. Inasmuch as most DPs share the concern that Cambodia develop a plural, multi-party democracy, they may be likely to insert this agenda into their development assistance. While it is natural to wish to impose conditions upon ODA, it is important to recall that other bi-lateral donors or financiers such as the Chinese government do not have such requirements or restrictions. It is clear in the present political context, moreover, that RGC would like to be in control of their own agenda for development. This is in principle aligned with the Busan Principles for Effective Development Cooperation.
Most actors in private sector and the government do not recognize or appreciate this term as being something which is useful to them in their work. The enabling environment tends to look at the world from the view of civil society organizations. A more relevant term for MSIs would be an ‘Engagement Index’ which would measure such items as: mutual understanding, willingness to cooperate, degree of shared interest, and existence of common agendas. It would assess how likely, ready, or willing different actors in the triangle would be to work together. This would have the advantage of being seen as a more neutral and supportive term, as ‘enabling environment’ for civil society carries with it the assumption that there might be a disabling environment as well. The responsibility for maintaining the ‘enabling environment’ is also often lodged with the RGC, which could result in mismatched expectations between the two stakeholder groups.
The RGC has acquired more capacity, political will, and power to manage its own affairs over the last 5 to 10 years. At the same time, the private sector is becoming more prominent through both local investment and FDI. This coupled with the retreat of many development providers means that civil society needs to rethink its role in order to continue to remain a viable development partner to the government. For starters, CSOs need to re-establish themselves as a viable partner to RGC. First steps could be in self-regulation and professionalizing of CSOs in Cambodia. This could be an effective response to LANGO and a voluntary move towards higher standards of service, integration of democratic principles, and accountability to both citizens of Cambodia as well as the RGC.
Closely related to the notion of shifting roles are the power dynamics in Cambodia. In a healthy, multi-party democracy, there are checks and balances provided by the distribution of power among different political parties. Moreover, there are institutional checks and balances amongst different branches of government (i.e. executive, judicial, legislative). As of recently, the ruling party has consolidated a near unanimous control of Parliament, and all executive and judicial bodies. However, some political parties civil society organizations, and international actors disagree with the results of the recent parliamentary elections. This leaves them faced apparently with only two choices: 1) collaborate with government and potentially legitimize their standing, or 2) continue to resist and advocate for some type of change to occur. A third way is proposed, that of constructive engagement. As the government is not monolithic (nor is civil society), there are many individuals in each of these stakeholder groups that support peaceful, democratic, just change in Cambodia. The work of DPs and CSOs should be to identify these possibilities for connection, and to build bridges across sectarian, political, religious, gender, ethnic, nationalist lines, in support of this vision. As noted elsewhere, this does not mean abandoning their fundamental commitments to human rights and democracy, yet it suggests that these commitments are not incompatible with an approach of constructively engaging the government.
Trust and relationship building
This is an area which is often written about but is less often operationalized. In the ASEAN context and in particular Cambodia, relationships and trust are of primary importance. In the absence of personal connections and mutual acceptance, it is very difficult for members of civil society to navigate the government bureaucracy and even more challenging to enter into the corporate sector. In particular when engagement concerns sensitive topics such as natural resources or human rights, it is necessary to have trustful personal connections that can facilitate and smooth coordination. In specific, multi-stakeholder initiatives require time to build, to organize, and to sustain in order to become meaningful. They require confidence and trust building measures, or to put briefly, “many, many cups of tea” together. Operationalizing trust in the context of MSIs will require a paradigm shift for both CSOs and DPs alike. This is more fully covered in the support modalities section below.
As noted in the definitions section and throughout the report, the experience of CSOs within MSIs depends on their strategic aims as well as their approach to engaging with the government. The RGC have made it explicit that they prefer cooperation with a-political CSOs. This places the “human rights” NGOs in a difficult situation with regards to their advocacy efforts. At the same time, this attitude creates friction between the “development” and the “human rights” NGOs who do not always cooperate well together. As such, there is a need for civil society organizations to critically reflect on their own approaches and realize their interdependence. What is meant here is that both types of organizations and both types of approaches (i.e. the hot hand and the cold hand) are necessary for progressing change toward the SDGs. (…)
At the present, resourcing approaches of DPs – financing modalities (macro) and funding mechanisms (micro) – tend to be focused on development provider agendas, and to some extent on political priorities of external actors. They tend to be inflexible, short term, outcome focused, and require high levels of administrative oversight and compliance by recipients. While the need for fiscal accountability is understood, there is an even greater need for fluidity, flexibility, creative risk mitigation, incentives for innovation, and mechanisms that promote greater personal, organizational, and institutional trust between providers and recipients of development assistance. Some of the options explored in the section above, such as diaspora bonds, or universal basic income, could be explored as pilot schemes in limited geographic areas. Cutting edge technologies such as blockchain and other similar transparency platforms could be considered for integration into these new funding mechanisms. Moreover, there is a need for more flexibility which encourages CSO partners to take risks, and even to fail, in order that they may innovate and create new ways of meeting shared development goals. In short, financing and funding should focus more on shared accountability, return on investment, and stimulating sustainable, locally owned change.
In order for DPs to support meaningful, social change, a reformation of their modus operandi is needed to become more flexible, responsive, and harmonized. For DPs to truly support constructive engagement between civil society and government will require a reformulation of donor priorities and modalities of institutional and financial support. A greater emphasis on process, capacity development, and relationship building would be highly appropriate. In practice, multi-stakeholder collaboration is exceedingly difficult to plan and implement. This is because engagement between duty bearers and rights holders often takes place in informal settings which are difficult to document and monitor according to standards required by donors. It is often not linear, rational and progressive, like the logical frameworks which guide the majority of development assistance. Rather it is often circular, repetitive and unpredictable. It often requires high levels of diplomacy, tact, quiet cooperation, and even secrecy. This is the nature of engagement work in Cambodia, and it is something for DPs to consider.
REDD+ Cambodia, Consultation Group
The REDD+ Consultation group (CG) (…) [provided] a forum to represent the views of different stakeholder groups. It is intended to be responsible for providing a link between the Cambodia REDD+ Programme and existing networks of stakeholder groups.
The CG consists of 18 members, made up of 2 members representing each of nine stakeholder groups. These groups were derived from the Roadmap and UN-REDD Programme document and based on further discussions with stakeholders. The nine groups are:
- International organizations
- National NGOs
- Indigenous Peoples
- Private Sector
- Community Forest Groups
- Community Protected Area Groups
- Community Fishery Groups
Consistent with UN-REDD stakeholder engagement guidelines, stakeholders were given the responsibility to self-select their representatives. In the case of Indigenous Peoples, the selection process was based on provincial election meetings in the 15 provinces where there are populations of Indigenous Peoples. This approach was developed through discussions with Indigenous Peoples representatives during and following a stakeholder consultation meeting in September 2012.
For the other stakeholder groups, in order to avoid any suggestion that the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) was directing the process, a “Voluntary Facilitation Committee” (VFC) was established. The nine-member VFC itself was multi-stakeholder by composition and resulted from a nation-wide call for expressions of interest from qualified individuals.
Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, Stakeholder Engagement in REDD+
These Guidelines are designed to support effective stakeholder engagement in the context of REDD+ readiness for the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the UN-REDD Programme, with an emphasis on the participation of Indigenous Peoples and other Forest-Dependent Communities. The Guidelines contain 1) Relevant policies on indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities; 2) Principles and guidance for effective stakeholder engagement; and 3) Practical “how-to” steps on planning and implementing effective consultations.
Schematic of Consultations Steps
3. Define the issues to consult on
The key issues should broadly correspond to the R-PP components and/or the components of the UN-REDD National Programme Document. In the case of REDD+, issues for consultation may include (but are not limited to):
- Current status of national forests;
- Institutional, policy and regulatory frameworks;
- Main causes and drivers of deforestation and forest degradation;
- Past and present policies to halt deforestation and forest degradation, where they have succeeded and where they have not;
- Rights and needs of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities;
- Type and pattern of land use by indigenous peoples;
- Land rights (user and property rights, traditional, customary), and land tenure systems;
- Rights to carbon;
- Inclusive participation in the design and implementation of REDD+ strategy and development of procedures and enablers throughout the REDD+ cycle;
- Proposed REDD+ strategy;
- Design of benefit-sharing systems for equitable and effective distribution of REDD+ revenues;
- Economic, social and environmental impacts and risks of REDD+ and the mitigation and prevention of risks;
- Design of monitoring systems to keep track of forests and forest emissions as well as environmental and social co-benefits;
- Issues of forest governance and mechanisms to ensure full compliance with social and environmental safeguards, including during REDD+ strategy development;
- Opportunity costs of land use;
- Groups likely to gain or lose from REDD+ activities;
- Role of the private sector.
Dahles et al, Social Entrepreneurship and Tourism in Cambodia
Tourism scholars agree that social entrepreneurship has an important role to play in the adoption of financially sustainable strategies to achieve social aims and the responsible development of tourism. Yet little is known about how tourism-based social enterprises (TSEs) engage with local communities. This article aims to fill this void by addressing the question of what approaches to community engagement in tourism development are being encouraged by social entrepreneurship.
TSEs contribute to new ways of ensuring that the poorest segments of society receive a greater share of benefits. This typology also captures the diversification of community engagement away from the established role of NGOs to a variety of independent social enterprises. However, due to fluctuations in tourist arrivals and lack of structural support for TSEs, it remains to be seen whether this transformation will advance the sustainable development of Cambodian communities.
Ratner et al, Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue to Manage Natural Resource Competition
Rural development or natural resource management program planning and implementation frequently confront challenges of environmental resource competition and conflict, particularly where common pool resources are a major component of rural livelihoods. This paper reports on an approach to multi-stakeholder dialogue, supported by participatory action research, to address the roots of such competition and conflict.
The approach, called “Collaborating for Resilience,” includes principles and guidance on building a shared understanding of risks and opportunities, weighing alternative actions, developing action plans, and evaluating and learning from the outcomes. Working in partnership with government, community and civil society actors, the approach was developed and refined through applications in large lake systems in Uganda, Zambia, and Cambodia.
This paper presents a synthesis of lessons addressing practitioners in government, nongovernmental development organizations, and international development agencies. These lessons include guidance on the context of multi-stakeholder dialogue processes, addressing gender equity, building stakeholder relationships and accountability across scales, and encouraging learning and innovation over time.
Carter et al, Sustainable Tourism as a Development Strategy in Cambodia
Governments in many developing countries endorse sustainable tourism, despite associated practical limitations and challenges as a development strategy. (…) Analysis of 77 documents on Cambodia’s sustainable tourism revealed themes and challenges relating to: (1) an emphasis on nature-based tourism (ecotourism); (2) calls for greater community engagement for sustainable outcomes; (3) stakeholder perceptions and values as drivers of tourism success; (4) cultural heritage as a key tourism attraction; and (5) foreign investment shaping Cambodia’s tourism future.
Unequal emphasis is given to key government policies for tourism development and there is limited practical guidance on how to realise a vision of sustainable tourism. There is a lack of consideration of how the socio-economic and cultural context affects sustainable tourism. The evidence suggests that sustainable tourism in Cambodia is questionable until fundamental economic, social capacity and policy issues are addressed, along with greater emphasis given to the tourism system’s demand side.
- What are the main driving forces for stakeholder engagement in Cambodia?
- How does the business climate of Cambodia compare internationally? (and regionally in ASEAN). What is the impact of the high concentration of ownership on stakeholder engagement?
- How does stakeholder engagement take place in Cambodia?
- What are the main obstacles to stakeholder engagement in Cambodia?
- What are the key factors and considerations to achieving successful stakeholder engagement in Cambodia?
- Identify the main stakeholder groups in different industrial sectors in Cambodia (e.g. garments and textiles sector, agriculture, ports and fishing) and compare the relative power of the various stakeholders in each. What type of power does each stakeholder group have?
- What is the potential of multistakeholder initiatives in Cambodia to protect human rights, and labour rights, or the environment in Cambodia?
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- REDD+, EU REDD Facility, http://www.euredd.efi.int.
- REDD+, UN-REDD Programme, https://www.un-redd.org/how-we-work.
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- Cambodian Ministry of Health, Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP) Cambodia COVID‐19 Emergency Response Project (P173815) http://hismohcambodia.org/public/fileupload/Stakeholder%20Engagement%20Plan%20SEP_Cambodia_COVID-19%20Project.pdf.
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- Transparency International Cambodia, Business Integrity Country Agenda (BICA) Assessment Cambodia (2017) http://www.ticambodia.org/bica2017/.
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 World Justice Report, Rule of Law Index (2019) https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/WJP-ROLI-2020-Online_0.pdf, based on public and legal expert’s perceptions of (inter alia) constraints on governmental powers through the judicial system, ‘open government’ and regulatory enforcement.
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 Menno T. Kamminga, ‘Company Responses to Human Rights Reports: An Empirical Analysis’,
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