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National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines and its role as an extrajudicial grievance mechanism

Meeting situation.
Source:  © dpa - Report

The Federal Government will reorganise the National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines (NCP) and increase its staffing. The NCP is attached to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It has the task of distributing information about the OECD Guidelines, raising awareness of the Guidelines and promoting compliance with them. The NCP functions as a complaints office in connection with potential violations of the Guidelines, such as when an enterprise does not sufficiently fulfil its human rights due diligence obligations. In the revised version of 2011 which contains recommendations on respecting human rights, the OECD Guidelines explicitly draw upon the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As a result, the grievance mechanism provided for in the OECD Guidelines also serves the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles.

The NCP examines incoming complaints and, when a complaint meets the criteria for acceptance, offers to mediate between the parties. The NCP takes its decisions in consultation with the Interministerial Steering Group on the OECD Guidelines and the OECD Guidelines working group. The Interministerial Steering Group comprises representatives of the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Furthermore, the NCP is advised by a working group whose members additionally include the Deutsche Global Compact Netzwerk, representatives of trade associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations.

Details regarding the grievance procedure, including information on closed cases and their processing, are available to the public online through the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The German National Contact Point will undergo a peer review during the second quarter of 2017, as called for by the G7 states during Germany's presidency. The aim here is to strengthen the mechanisms for providing access to remedies in connection with human rights violations.