Comment: Children’s rights in the Extractives Industry: twentyfifty research on behalf of UNICEF published

Findings from UNICEF’s 2014 Pilot Project on Children’s Rights in the Extractives Industry have now been published. The research, which included engagement with a range of companies, was carried out by twentyfifty, on behalf of UNICEF.

Download the reports here:

The pilot focused on two sectors:

  • The oil & gas study examined the management of both negative and positive child rights impacts through a series of stakeholder interviews.
  • The mining report used in-depth engagement with companies to determine the extent to which child rights are being integrated into human rights due diligence.

The project, based on company experiences, stakeholder interviews, and broad-based research, had two key objectives:

  1. To identify and analyse the ways in which companies impact upon children’s rights
  2. To understand how companies are managing their impacts upon children

Findings from the oil & gas study indicate that beyond the issue of child labour, child rights impacts are rarely identified or managed. In response, twentyfifty Chief Executive, Luke Wilde, said "This chimes with our experience in the industry – child labour is a recognised risk, but without separating out children as a specific stakeholder group, the broader range of potential impacts on children are not being taken into account".  Emily Richards, the lead consultant and report author for this project, added that “particularly where oil exploration is moving back on land, a wider understanding of the impacts on children is necessary.”

Companies in the mining sector almost uniformly agree that children are vulnerable stakeholders within the community but encounter challenges in considering children as a group distinct from adults. Because of this, there are critical gaps in most standard approaches to social and human rights due diligence, which mean that specific impacts on children may not be identified.

As a next step, UNICEF will use the findings of this report to engage with the industries in question and to explore what guidance and other tools would be useful to integrate children’s rights into corporate policies and risk management processes.

For more information on either of these reports, please contact Amelia Knott at amelia.knott@twentyfifty.co.uk.