By Michael Sena Dzansi, AUCC Intern

To deepen education on ensuring respect and protection of human rights in the extractive sector, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, with support from the Swiss Government, has held a multi-stakeholder meeting and workshop on the Voluntary Principles Initiative in Accra.
wpid-Nii-Osah-Mills.jpgThe workshop was organised to sensitize stakeholders on the benefits on Ghana being a signatory to the initiative and how the adherence to the guidelines and principles of the initiative would help assess risks and provide effective solutions to avoid them or reduce their occurrences.
The Voluntary Principles are a set principles agreed on by the United States and United Kingdom governments, along with a group of extractive companies and non-governmental organization in December 2000 as a guide to companies on security and human rights. It provides an outline of actions companies should take to assess risk and the implementation of public and private security measures in a manner that respects and safeguards human rights.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Nii Osah Mills, in his remarks as chairperson, said Ghana abounded with natural resources and acceptance of the Voluntary Principles was a plus to Ghana, adding that the success of the implementation of is based on the effective collaboration between the three pillars namely, government corporate bodies and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
The Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Gerhard Brugger, expressed his delight with the willingness of Ghana to be signatory to the initiative as Switzerland spearheaded Ghana’s inclusion. Brugger stated that as Ghana would be the first African country to be a signatory to the Voluntary Principles would help formulate a road map and create the needed awareness for other African countries to join the initiative that would lead to a stable and profitable extraction sector on the continent.
Papers were also presented on the Global VP Initiative, the Significance of Ghana’s VP Membership, and the Practice of the VP in the Extractive Sector.
The Director Finance and Administration at the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, Mrs Gifty Biyira, presented a draft action plan and a draft three-year work plan, specifying its objectives and stated that the action plan and work plan would be submitted for adoption by the VP Initiative during the last week of September this year.

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