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Thematic reports

A/78/155: Extractive sector, just transition and human rights


11 July 2023

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In the report, the Working Group explores factors leading to human rights abuses in the context of energy transition programs, including how the design and implementation of such programs remain largely characterized by power imbalances and fragmented and inconsistent regulatory frameworks. The report considers how to address persistent challenges by offering States, businesses, and other stakeholders in the extractive sector action-oriented recommendations on how to best design and implement just, inclusive, and human rights-based energy transition programs in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Key findings and recommendations

For States (including as members of multilateral institutions), the recommendations include, but are not limited to:

  1. Adopting a clear and comprehensive regulatory framework to achieve energy transition targets in a just and human rights-based manner;
  2. Reviewing current fiscal policies related to the extractive sector and energy transition to ensure the right to benefit-sharing among affected communities is respected;
  3. Recognizing and protecting the work of environmental and human rights defenders;
  4. Reviewing and renegotiating, as a matter of urgency, existing extractive contracts, concessions, procurement practices and bilateral and multilateral investment agreements to remove any regulatory constraints to just transition; and,
  5. Facilitating access to remedy through a number of measures indicated in the report.

For businesses (including as investors and members of industry associations), the recommendations include, but are not limited to:

  1. Ensuring that all their existing and future energy transition programs are compatible with international human rights obligations, as well as the UNGPs;
  2. Aligning their business practices, policies, processes, governance structures and decisions with the goals of the Paris Agreement;
  3. Conducting human rights and environmental due diligence in the design, financing and implementation of energy transition programs throughout their operations, including with a gender-responsive approach;
  4. Avoiding greenwashing and misleading claims on energy transition programs through clear, credible, transparent and accessible reporting;
  5. Ensuring effective and meaningful consultation with all relevant rights-holders, including ensuring free prior and informed consent by Indigenous Peoples, on the actual and potential impacts of energy transition programs on human rights and the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment; and
  6. Using their leverage over their business relationships to prevent, reduce or mitigate any energy transition-related human rights impacts that they contributed to or are directly linked to through procurements, operations, products or services.
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