OECD National Contact Point Complaints
There is a small but growing literature on OECD National Contact Points, which includes primary sources, published final statements by NCPs, critical analyses and reports by NGOs and others, and databases of cases. OECD Watch has produced regular analyses of the NCP system; several of these are included here, as they provide a useful commentary on how the mechanism has evolved and what challenges remain. The following teaching resources might be helpful in introducing and exploring OECD National Contact Point complaints as a tool for corporate accountability.
- OECD, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2011 edition), available at http://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/48004323.pdf.
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, The Issue of the Applicability of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to Minority Shareholdings (26 April 2013), available at http://www.responsiblebusiness.no/files/2013/12/nbim_ohchr.pdf.
- Canadian National Contact Point, Final Statement on the Request for Review regarding the Operations of China Gold International Resources Corporation Ltd., at the Copper Polymetallic Mine at the Gyama Valley, Tibet Autonomous Region (Global Affairs Canada, 8 April 2015), available at http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/ncp-pcn/statement-gyama-valley.aspx?lang=eng.
- Netherlands National Contact Point, Final Statement: ABP/APG – Lok Shakti Abhiyan, KTNC Watch, FairGreen and Global Alliance, Forum for Environment and Development (Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 2013), available at www.oesorichtlijnen.nl/binaries/oeso-richtlijnen/documenten/publicatie/2014/12/8/ncp-eindverklaring-melding-apg-abp/final-statement-somo-bothends-apg-abp2.pdf.
- Netherlands National Contact Point, Final Statement, Bart Stapert, attorney, vs. Mylan (11 April 2016), available at https://www.oecdguidelines.nl/documents/publication/2016/4/11/bart-stapert-attorney-vs-mylan.
- Netherlands National Contact Point, Final Report of the National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines in the Netherlands on the specific instance notified by CEDHA, INCASUR Foundation, SOMO and Oxfam Novib concerning Nidera Holding B.V. (The Hague, 3 February 2012), available at http://www.oecdwatch.org/cases/Case_220/1001/at_download/file.
Dutch multinational company Nidera was the subject of a specific instance filed by Argentine and Dutch NGOs, who alleged the company had abused temporary workers’ rights in Argentina. An agreement was reached under which the company agreed to strengthen its human rights policy, formalize its human rights due diligence for temporary rural workers and allow NGO monitoring of its Argentine corn seed operations.
- Norwegian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, “Final Statement: Complaint from Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Korean Transnational Corporations Watch, FairGreen and Global Alliance and Forum for Environment and Development vs. Posco (South Korea), ABP/APG (Netherlands) and NBIM (Norway),” (27 May 2013), available at http://www.responsiblebusiness.no/files/2013/12/nbim_final.pdf.
- UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Final Statement following agreement reached in complaint from WWF International against SOCO International plc (July 2014), available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330392/bis-14-967-uk-ncp-final-statement-following-agreement-reached-in-complaint-from-wwf-international-against-soco-international-plc.pdf.
Complaint filed by environmental NGO WWF against oil company SOCO regarding its oil exploration activities in the Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The UK NCP-led mediation resulted in the company’s agreeing to stop its operations and refrain from exploration and drilling in the Virunga unless UNESCO and the DRC government “agree that such activities are not incompatible with its World Heritage status.” OECD Watch noted the case was the first time a company had agreed to stop operations during an NCP-led mediation.
- UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Privacy International and Gamma International UK Limited: Final Statement after Examination of Complaint (December 2014), available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/402462/BIS-15-93-Final_statement_after_examination_of_complaint_Privacy_International_and_Gamma_International_UK_Ltd.pdf.
The NGO Privacy International filed a complaint against Gamma International for allegedly aiding and abetting the Bahraini government in human rights violations by selling the government surveillance technology and training. The UK NCP found the actions of Gamma International were inconsistent with certain OECD Guidelines provisions and recommended the company take actions to bring its conduct in line with the Guidelines.
- OECD, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Database of Specific Instances, available at http://mneguidelines.oecd.org/database/.
The OECD database of over 360 specific instances is searchable by NCP, by year, by source of case, by host country, by status, and by theme (e.g. “human rights”).
- Trade Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC), Trade Union Cases, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, available at: http://tuacoecdmneguidelines.org/cases.asp.
This database covers trade union-filed specific instances.
- OECD Watch Case Database , available at: http://www.oecdwatch.org/cases.
This database covers only NGO-filed specific instances.
Ruggie and Nelson (see below) have pointed out that “there is no single database of all complaints lodged with NCPs.” The OECD Database of Specific instances “often lacks detail or up-to-date information on cases because it depends on information submitted by NCPs,” while the OECD Watch database contains only cases filed by civil society organizations and the TUAC database tracks only those submitted by workers’ organizations.
Commentary and Reports
- Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, Press Release ADHRB, Formula One Reach Agreement on Human Rights Framework for Bahrain (10 April 2015), available at http://www.adhrb.org/2015/04/adhrb-formula-one-reach-agreement-on-human-rights-framework-for-bahrain/.
Describes mediation of a complaint to the United Kingdom National Contact Point concerning Formula One Management’s lack of due diligence considerations regarding possible human rights impact in Bahrain.
- Amnesty International, Obstacle Course: How the UK’s National Contact Point Handles Human Rights Complaints under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (London, February 2016), available at https://www.amnesty.org.uk/sites/default/files/uk_ncp_complaints_handling_full_report_lores_0.pdf.
- European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, ed., A comparison of National Contact Points – Best practices in OECD complaints procedures (November 2011), available at https://www.ecchr.eu/en/documents/publications/ecchr-publications/studies-and-reports/articles/a-comparison-of-national-contact-points-best-practices-in-oecd-complaints-procedures-1333.html.
- FIDH, Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Abuses: A Guide for Victims and NGOs on Recourse Mechanisms (2016), 404-23, available at https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/corporate_accountability_guide_version_web.pdf.
This comprehensive resource handbook includes a critical overview of NCP strengths and weaknesses and guidance to interested parties on how to file specific instances.
- Roel Nieuwenkamp, OECD’s Human Rights Grievance Mechanism as a Competitive Advantage, (Institute for Human Rights and Business, 4 November 2014), available at http://www.ihrb.org/other/governments-role/oecds-human-rights-grievance-mechanism-as-a-competitive-advantage.
The article provides an overview on NCPs and discusses the link between National Action Plans and the OECD Guidelines.
- OECD, Implementing the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises: The National Contact Points from 2000 to 2015: Key Findings (2016), available at https://mneguidelines.oecd.org/15-Years-of-the-National-Contact-Points-Highlights.pdf.
- OECD Watch, Remedy Remains Rare (June 2015), available at www.oecdwatch.org/publications-en/Publication_4201/at_download/fullfile.
This is a study of the first 15 years of the NCPs’ existence. It underscores key weaknesses preventing NCPs from being the effective tool they could be, and offers brief case studies of numerous specific instances. Many of the cases illustrate aspects of the NCP process in need of reform, while a few provide examples of positive outcomes for complainants.
- OECD Watch, Quarterly Case Update (vol. 10 issue 1, June 2015), available at http://oecdwatch.org/publications-en/Publication_4202.
- OECD Watch, Assessment of NCP Performance in the 2013-4 Implementation Cycle (June 2014), available at http://oecdwatch.org/publications-en/Publication_4090.
- OECD Watch, Performance of National Contact Points and the Implementation of the OECD Guidelines in the 2012-2013 Implementation Cycle (June 2013), available at http://www.oecdwatch.org/publications-en/Publication_4080/.
- OECD Watch, Towards Pro-Active Implementation of the OECD Guidelines: OECD Watch Submission to the 2011 Annual Meeting of the National Contact Points (June 2011), available at http://tinyurl.com/nklvfjb.
- OECD Watch, OECD Watch Statement on the Update of the OECD Guidelines for MNEs (25 May 2011), available at http://www.oecdwatch.org/publications-en/Publication_3675.
- John G. Ruggie and Tamaryn Nelson, Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises: Normative Innovations and Implementation Challenges, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Working Paper No. 66, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 2015), available at https://www.hks.harvard.edu/index.php/content/download/76202/1711396/version/1/file/workingpaper66.pdf.
Overview of the evolution of NCP complaints and analysis of the impact of human rights additions to the Guidelines following their alignment with the UN Guiding Principles.
- Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC), 15-Point Plan for National Contact Points (June 2015), available at http://www.tuacoecdmneguidelines.org/Docs/TUACFactSheet_NCP15Plan.pdf.
Offers adhering governments 15 recommendations for strengthening NCPs.
- Margaret Wachenfeld, Recent Decisions Clarify Investor Responsibility to Address Human Rights Concerns, Responsible Investor (7 October 2013), available at https://www.responsible-investor.com/home/article/ncp_decision_analysis/.
OECD Watch is a global network of civil society organizations committed to holding corporations accountable for their impacts. It has official recognition before the OECD Investment Committee, monitors NCP performance and publishes regular analysis on various aspects of the OECD Guidelines for MNEs.
- TUAC (Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD)
- BIAC (Business Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD)
AccessFacility is a non-profit platform that collects research, case studies and information on regulatory frameworks in relation to conflict resolution and non-judicial remedies. In its Mechanisms tab, it includes an overview of over 40 National Contact Points.
[*] This bibliography may be cited as:
Elizabeth Umlas, “Teaching Resources for OECD National Contact Point Complaints,” in Teaching Business and Human Rights Handbook (Teaching Business and Human Rights Forum, 2016), https://teachbhr.org/resources/teaching-bhr-handbook/teaching-notes/oecd-ncp-complaints/teaching-resources/.