Home / News & Events / Archive

Latin American Oil and Gas Dompanies Discuss Human Rights Challenges

(25 July 2006) - Representatives of state-owned and private oil and gas companies from across Latin America gathered in Cancun/Mexico on 21 July to share experiences and raise awareness of the human rights issues they face and ways to tackle them. The workshop was hosted by the UN Global Compact Office and the Association of Oil and Natural Gas Producers in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARPEL) and was held in the context of ARPEL's Fourth Symposium on Corporate Social Responsibility in the Americas.

Participants recognized the common challenges faced by all oil and gas producers in the region and stressed the relevance of human rights (including economic, social and cultural rights) to many aspects of their day-day operations. While it was acknowledged that a number of tools and good practices exist that can help companies improve their human rights performance, the need for more Spanish-language tools was raised. Participants further agreed that the UN Global Compact is a useful framework for improving social and environmental performance, and emphasis was placed on the importance of engaging in multi-stakeholder dialogue in looking for sustainable solutions to human rights challenges. There was consensus that being a leading company involves listening to stakeholder concerns, not shying away from critics and being prepared to share information about the challenges faced.

Key outcomes included:

  • Interest in continuing the dialogue on human rights;
  • decision to establish an online mechanism to facilitate further discussion on human rights and the exchange of ideas on human rights implementation;
  • the decision to translate the Global Compact/BLIHR/OHCHR Guide to Integrating Human Rights into Business Management into Spanish;
  • a commitment to circulate and share information about human rights tools especially those that are available in Spanish and
  • to develop detailed case studies exploring human rights challenges and illustrating good human rights practices.

The workshop was the first in a series of three workshops organized by the UN Global Compact Office for the oil and gas sector around the world. It featured three case studies from BP, Statoil and Petrobras as well as roundtable discussions of real life dilemmas and lessons learned. The meeting was also part of the UN Global Compact's new emphasis on sectoral and regional fora as contexts for learning and dialogue.

For more information, please contact Ursula Wynhoven (wynhoven@un.org) or Denise O'Brien (obriend@un.org).