HAVING REGARD to the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development of 14th December 1960;
HAVING REGARD to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises (the “Declaration”), in which the Governments of adhering countries (“adhering countries”) jointly recommend to multinational enterprises operating in or from their territories the observance of Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (the “Guidelines”);
RECOGNISING that, since operations of multinational enterprises extend throughout the world, international co-operation on issues relating to the Declaration should extend to all countries;
HAVING REGARD to the Terms of Reference of the Investment Committee, in particular with respect to its responsibilities for the Declaration [C(84)171(Final), renewed in C/M(95)21];
CONSIDERING the Report on the First Review of the 1976 Declaration [C(79)102(Final)], the Report on the Second Review of the Declaration [C/MIN(84)5(Final)], the Report on the 1991 Review of the Declaration [DAFFE/IME(91)23], and the Report on the 2000 Review of the Guidelines [C(2000)96];
HAVING REGARD to the Second Revised Decision of the Council of June 1984 [C(84)90], amended June 1991 [C/MIN(91)7/ANN1] and repealed on 27 June 2000 [C(2000)96/FINAL];
CONSIDERING it desirable to enhance procedures by which consultations may take place on matters covered by these Guidelines and to promote the effectiveness of the Guidelines;
On the proposal of the Investment Committee;
I. National Contact Points
1. Adhering countries shall set up National Contact Points to further the effectiveness of the Guidelines by undertaking promotional activities, handling enquiries and contributing to the resolution of issues that arise relating to the implementation of the Guidelines in specific instances, taking account of the attached procedural guidance. The business community, worker organisations, other non-governmental organisations and other interested parties shall be informed of the availability of such facilities.
2. National Contact Points in different countries shall co-operate if such need arises, on any matter related to the Guidelines relevant to their activities. As a general procedure, discussions at the national level should be initiated before contacts with other National Contact Points are undertaken.
3. National Contact Points shall meet regularly to share experiences and report to the Investment Committee.
4. Adhering countries shall make available human and financial resources to their National Contact Points so that they can effectively fulfil their responsibilities, taking into account internal budget priorities and practices.
II. The Investment Committee
1. The Investment Committee (“the Committee”) shall periodically or at the request of an adhering country hold exchanges of views on matters covered by the Guidelines and the experience gained in their application.
2. The Committee shall periodically invite the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC), and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) (the “advisory bodies”), OECD Watch, as well as other international partners to express their views on matters covered by the Guidelines. In addition, exchanges of views with them on these matters may be held at their request.
3. The Committee shall engage with non-adhering countries on matters covered by the Guidelines in order to promote responsible business conduct worldwide in accordance with the Guidelines and to create a level playing field. It shall also strive to co-operate with non-adhering countries that have a special interest in the Guidelines and in promoting their principles and standards.
4. The Committee shall be responsible for clarification of the Guidelines. Parties involved in a specific instance that gave rise to a request for clarification will be given the opportunity to express their views either orally or in writing. The Committee shall not reach conclusions on the conduct of individual enterprises.
5. The Committee shall hold exchanges of views on the activities of National Contact Points with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the Guidelines and fostering functional equivalence of National Contact Points.
6. In fulfilling its responsibilities for the effective functioning of the Guidelines, the Committee shall take due account of the attached procedural guidance.
7. The Committee shall periodically report to the Council on matters covered by the Guidelines. In its reports, the Committee shall take account of reports by National Contact Points and the views expressed by the advisory bodies, OECD Watch, other international partners and non-adhering countries as appropriate.
8. The Committee shall, in co-operation with National Contact Points, pursue a proactive agenda that promotes the effective observance by enterprises of the principles and standards contained in the Guidelines. It shall, in particular, seek opportunities to collaborate with the advisory bodies, OECD Watch, other international partners and other stakeholders in order to encourage the positive contributions that multinational enterprises can make, in the context of the Guidelines, to economic, environmental and social progress with a view to achieving sustainable development, and to help them identify and respond to risks of adverse impacts associated with particular products, regions, sectors or industries.
III. Review of the Decision
This Decision shall be periodically reviewed. The Committee shall make proposals for this purpose.
I. National Contact Points
The role of National Contact Points (NCPs) is to further the effectiveness of the Guidelines. NCPs will operate in accordance with core criteria of visibility, accessibility, transparency and accountability to further the objective of functional equivalence.
A. Institutional Arrangements
Consistent with the objective of functional equivalence and furthering the effectiveness of the Guidelines, adhering countries have flexibility in organising their NCPs, seeking the active support of social partners, including the business community, worker organisations, other non-governmental organisations, and other interested parties.
Accordingly, the National Contact Points:
1. Will be composed and organised such that they provide an effective basis for dealing with the broad range of issues covered by the Guidelines and enable the NCP to operate in an impartial manner while maintaining an adequate level of accountability to the adhering government.
2. Can use different forms of organisation to meet this objective. An NCP can consist of senior representatives from one or more Ministries, may be a senior government official or a government office headed by a senior official, be an interagency group, or one that contains independent experts. Representatives of the business community, worker organisations and other non-governmental organisations may also be included.
3. Will develop and maintain relations with representatives of the business community, worker organisations and other interested parties that are able to contribute to the effective functioning of the Guidelines.
B. Information and Promotion
The National Contact Point will:
1. Make the Guidelines known and available by appropriate means, including through on-line information, and in national languages. Prospective investors (inward and outward) should be informed about the Guidelines, as appropriate.
2. Raise awareness of the Guidelines and their implementation procedures, including through co-operation, as appropriate, with the business community, worker organisations, other non-governmental organisations, and the interested public.
3. Respond to enquiries about the Guidelines from:
a) Other National Contact Points;
b) The business community, worker organisations, other non-governmental organisations and the public; and
c) Governments of non-adhering countries.
C. Implementation in Specific Instances
The National Contact Point will contribute to the resolution of issues that arise relating to implementation of the Guidelines in specific instances in a manner that is impartial, predictable, equitable and compatible with the principles and standards of the Guidelines. The NCP will offer a forum for discussion and assist the business community, worker organisations, other non-governmental organisations, and other interested parties concerned to deal with the issues raised in an efficient and timely manner and in accordance with applicable law. In providing this assistance, the NCP will:
1. Make an initial assessment of whether the issues raised merit further examination and respond to the parties involved.
2. Where the issues raised merit further examination, offer good offices to help the parties involved to resolve the issues. For this purpose, the NCP will consult with these parties and where relevant:
a) Seek advice from relevant authorities, and/or representatives of the business community, worker organisations, other non-governmental organisations, and relevant experts;
b) Consult the NCP in the other country or countries concerned;
c) Seek the guidance of the Committee if it has doubt about the interpretation of the Guidelines in particular circumstances;
d) Offer, and with the agreement of the parties involved, facilitate access to consensual and non-adversarial means, such as conciliation or mediation, to assist the parties in dealing with the issues.
3. At the conclusion of the procedures and after consultation with the parties involved, make the results of the procedures publicly available, taking into account the need to protect sensitive business and other stakeholder information, by issuing:
a) A statement when the NCP decides that the issues raised do not merit further consideration. The statement should at a minimum describe the issues raised and the reasons for the NCP’s decision.
b) A report when the parties have reached agreement on the issues raised. The report should at a minimum describe the issues raised, the procedures the NCP initiated in assisting the parties and when agreement was reached. Information on the content of the agreement will only be included insofar as the parties involved agree thereto.
c) A statement when no agreement is reached or when a party is unwilling to participate in the procedures. This statement should at a minimum describe the issues raised, the reasons why the NCP decided that the issues raised merit further examination and the procedures the NCP initiated in assisting the parties. The NCP will make recommendations on the implementation of the Guidelines as appropriate, which should be included in the statement. Where appropriate, the statement could also include the reasons that agreement could not be reached.
The NCP will notify the results of its specific instance procedures to the Committee in a timely manner.
4. In order to facilitate resolution of the issues raised, take appropriate steps to protect sensitive business and other information and the interests of other stakeholders involved in the specific instance. While the procedures under paragraph 2 are underway, confidentiality of the proceedings will be maintained. At the conclusion of the procedures, if the parties involved have not agreed on a resolution of the issues raised, they are free to communicate about and discuss these issues. However, information and views provided during the proceedings by another party involved will remain confidential, unless that other party agrees to their disclosure or this would be contrary to the provisions of national law.
5. If issues arise in non-adhering countries, take steps to develop an understanding of the issues involved, and follow these procedures where relevant and practicable.
1. Each NCP will report annually to the Committee.
2. Reports should contain information on the nature and results of the activities of the NCP, including implementation activities in specific instances.
II. Investment Committee
1. The Committee will consider requests from NCPs for assistance in carrying out their activities, including in the event of doubt about the interpretation of the Guidelines in particular circumstances.
2. The Committee will, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the Guidelines and to fostering the functional equivalence of NCPs:
a) Consider the reports of NCPs.
b) Consider a substantiated submission by an adhering country, an advisory body or OECD Watch on whether an NCP is fulfilling its responsibilities with regard to its handling of specific instances.
c) Consider issuing a clarification where an adhering country, an advisory body or OECD Watch makes a substantiated submission on whether an NCP has correctly interpreted the Guidelines in specific instances.
d) Make recommendations, as necessary, to improve the functioning of NCPs and the effective implementation of the Guidelines.
e) Co-operate with international partners.
f) Engage with interested non-adhering countries on matters covered by the Guidelines and their implementation.
3. The Committee may seek and consider advice from experts on any matters covered by the Guidelines. For this purpose, the Committee will decide on suitable procedures.
4. The Committee will discharge its responsibilities in an efficient and timely manner.
5. In discharging its responsibilities, the Committee will be assisted by the OECD Secretariat, which, under the overall guidance of the Investment Committee, and subject to the Organisation’s Programme of Work and Budget, will:
a) serve as a central point of information for NCPs that have questions on the promotion and implementation of the Guidelines;
b) collect and make publicly available relevant information on recent trends and emerging practices with regard to the promotional activities of NCPs and the implementation of the Guidelines in specific instances. The Secretariat will develop unified reporting formats to support the establishment and maintenance of an up-to-date database on specific instances and conduct regular analysis of these specific instances;
c) facilitate peer learning activities, including voluntary peer evaluations, as well as capacity building and training, in particular for NCPs of new adhering countries, on the implementation procedures of the Guidelines such as promotion and the facilitation of conciliation and mediation;
d) facilitate co-operation between NCPs where appropriate; and
e) promote the Guidelines in relevant international forums and meetings and provide support to NCPs and the Committee in their efforts to raise awareness of the Guidelines among non-adhering countries.