Grievance Mechanism V2.0
1st April, 2022
|Date||1 Apr 2022|
|Author||Guillaume Bureth, Didier Fohlen, Rui Shiliang|
|Apply to||WCS, WCSR, WCSP|
2.1 First Tier (Internal) of Grievance Management
2.2 Second Tier (Independent) of Grievance Management
2.3 Third Tier (Justice) of Grievance Management
- Level of Risk of the Grievance and hierarchic responsibility
- Implementing the Grievance Mechanism Procedure
WCS GRIEVANCE MECHANISM
Winning Consortium Simandou (hereinafter referred to as “WCS”) holds the concession of Simandou Iron Ore Blocks #1 and #2. The development of Simandou project includes the exploitation of the mine, construction and operation of a railway of about 600km, and construction of Morebaya port at Senguelen, Forecariah. The railway route crosses four (4) administrative regions, eight (8) préfectures and 23 municipalities (sous préfectures) including two (2) urban municipalities (Kindia and Kérouané).
For the realization of the studies (engineering, ESIAs, EIESs, PEPs), WCS has defined three lots: the mine, the railway, the port. Each lot is managed by a separate legal entity (WCSP & WCSR, WCS SAU) which is affiliate of WCS.
WCS committed to developing a Grievance Mechanism (GM) for Affected Communities aligned with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performances Standards (PS) on Environmental and Social Sustainability.
The PS1 on Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts states in paragraph 35 the following: ‟Where there are Affected Communities, the client will establish a grievance mechanism to receive and facilitate resolution of Affected Communities’ concerns and grievances about the client’s environmental and social performance. The grievance mechanism should be scaled to the risks and adverse impacts of the project and have Affected Communities as its primary user. It should seek to resolve concerns promptly, using an understandable and transparent consultative process that is culturally appropriate and readily accessible, and at no cost and without retribution to the party that originated the issue or concern. The mechanism should not impede access to judicial or administrative remedies. The client will inform the Affected Communities about the mechanism in the course of the stakeholder engagement process.“
Key requirements for establishing and managing a GM are provided in PS1 Guidance Note (GN) 110 & 111. “Where the project involves specifically identified physical elements, aspects and facilities that are likely to generate adverse environmental and social impacts on Affected Communities, the client must establish … a procedure at the project level that is readily accessible to the Affected Communities, and that allows for receiving, addressing, and recording/documenting complaints and communications from external stakeholders. Confidentiality of the persons raising the complaint must be protected. The client shall ensure that the procedure is easily accessible, understandable and its availability communicated to Affected Communities. The client may wish to seek solutions to complaints in a collaborative manner with the involvement of the Affected Communities. If the project is unable to solve a complaint, it may be appropriate to enable complainants to have recourse to external experts or neutral parties. Clients should be aware of judicial and administrative mechanisms available in the country for resolution of disputes, and should not impede access to these mechanisms. Communications and grievances received and responses provided should be documented (such as the name of the individual or organization; the date and nature of the complaint; any follow up actions taken; the final decision on the complaint; how and when a relevant project decision was communicated to the complainant; and whether management action has been taken to avoid recurrence of stakeholder concerns in the future), and reported back to the Affected Communities periodically… In the case of large projects with potentially complex issues, a robust grievance mechanism should be established and maintained from the beginning of the assessment process onwards. This mechanism should be communicated to Affected Communities and designed in a way that is appropriate for them, easy to understand and adapted to the communications challenge they may face (e.g., language, literacy levels, level of access to technology). Complaints should be investigated to determine appropriate response and course of action. The responsibility for receiving and responding to grievances should be handled by experienced and qualified personnel within the client organization, separate from the personnel in charge of management of the business activities. In addition, suggestion boxes and periodic community meetings and other communication methods to receive feedback may be helpful.”
In summary, WCS committed to a best practice compliant GM approach comprising the following:
- A GM procedure using the 3-tier process to meet WCS best practice commitments and IFC requirements;
- WCS to establish grievance boxes at the Simandou Informaiton Centres(SICs) and the main WCS office in Conakry and committed to respond to all grievances within thirty (30) days of receipt;
- WCS to inform all local affected communities and local authorities about the GM;
- Include the GM in the SEP and widely disclose the existence of SEP/GM;
- Investigate if the GM should allow for third party facilitation and legal filling (through the Guinea judiciary system), if the complainants are unsatisfied with the resolution through the WCS internal (1st& 2 tier) GM; and
- Establish a Local Concertation Committee to manage, among its duties, grievance mechanism and that need meets on an as-per-needed basis. All grievance resolutions are signed off by the authorized WCS management in charge and for the most important one by WCS CEO.
A Community Outreach and Liaison Officer will be designated as ‘key point of contact’ for the grievance process. Details regarding the grievance process will be posted in both English and French (and other local languages as may be required) at the SICs, on the WCS website and are available in handout form for any interested party as well.
2. Proposed Grievance Mechanism Approach
The grievance mechanism is a formal procedure through which communities and individuals affected by WCS’s activities can formally communicate their specific concerns and grievances to the company and facilitate resolutions that are mutually acceptable by the parties and within a reasonable timeframe.
The grievance management system is guided by the following principles:
- Accessible and easy to use;
- Transparent and accountable;
- To be used by anyone without any concern or fear of retribution; and
- Warrant appropriate protection to complainants through a commitment to keeping grievances confidential.
The WCS approach to implementing a GM is a 3-tier approach:
- Tier 1 – the grievance is solved by WCS internally;
- Tier 2 – the grievance is resolved either fully external or as a minimum with involvement of external parties (through Local Concertation Committeeor local authorities),
- Tier 3 – through amicable review and settlement via extra-judicial
WCS will apply the following principles in respect of grievance management and redress in the context of the Simandou Project:
- Any grievance will be registered, acknowledged within 7 calendar days of its receipt, responded to within 30 calendar days of its receipt, and tracked until it is closed;
- The grievance management arrangement will include two tiers of extra-judicial, amicable review and settlement, with the first one internal to WCS, and the second one either fully external or as a minimum with involvement of external parties (through Local Concertation Committee), the Grievance Mechanism is included in the Stakeholder Engagement part of this committee), the third tier of the mechanism is the judicial system; and
- The overall objective is to avoid resorting to Justice for as many grievances as possible.
2.1 First Tier (Internal) of Grievance Management
WCS will establish a register of grievances, which will be available to Project Affected Parties (PAPs, also named Affected Communities in IFC PSs) at the following venues:
- WCS main offices located in downtown Conakry (Winning Consortium Base, Camayenne, Conakry)
- WCS SICs located in the Project affected areas; and
- The Préfectures and Sous-Préfectures located along the Project footprint (8 Préfectures, 23 Sous-Préfectures).
Stakeholders outside the area of influence of the Project can obtain knowledge of and access to the GM from WCS website or by reaching the main SIC in Conakry (text, email or phone), as well as request information from WCS staff.
The existence of the grievance register, as well as avenues and procedures to lodge a complaint (where, when, to whom, etc.), needs to be broadly communicated to PAPs through the SEP, the Land Acquisition and Compensation Framework (LACF) and WCS periodic newsletters or public consultations.
Receipt of grievances registered at these offices or sent to the Company in written form will be acknowledged within 7 days and a response will be provided to the aggrieved party in a maximum of 30 days.
For each grievance, an electronic grievance file will be opened (using Borealis system), including the following elements:
- Initial grievance sheet (including the description of the grievance), with an acknowledgement of receipt handed back to the complainant or the complainant’s representative when the complaint is registered;
- Grievance monitoring sheet, mentioning actions taken (investigation, corrective measures);
- Closure sheet, one copy of which will be handed to the complainant after he/she has agreed to the resolution and signed-off.
Grievance review will typically include the following steps:
- Allocation of the grievance to a designated officer in WCS (to be nominated) for review and resolution proposal;
- Review of identification files;
- Review of the topics included land disturbance, disputed properties, disputed boundaries, or property characteristics in the field, or ecological and environmental issues such as water resources, dust, waste, noise, wildlife, etc., as applicable, and hearing of interested parties (the complainant and third parties as need be);
- Review with external parties such as local NGOs, Associations, Committees, or Municipalities if necessary, or Cadastre/Land Bureau, or environmental experts if necessary for environmental issues;
- Meeting with staff involved in the grievance resolution (including those who are participant to the complaint if needed), and decision on proposed resolution;
- Approval of the proposed decision by WCS management; and
- Drafting of a response letter to complainant.
The “close-out” of a grievance at the level of the first tier will be evidenced by a document, whereby the complainant acknowledges receipt of the letter including proposed resolution, mentions whether he/she is satisfied or not, and/or requests escalation to the second tier of grievance management.
Figure 1 below illustrates the GM process for tier 1: Developing Resolution Options, Preparing a Response and Closing Out.
Figure 1: GM Tier 1 – Developing Resolution Options, Preparing a Response and Closing Out
2.2 Second Tier (Independent) of Grievance Management
The second tier aims at processing grievances that the first tier is unable to resolve, and at identifying solutions, which if agreed will be binding to both the WCS entity and the complainant(s). The objective is to avoid resorting to justice and try to reach amicable settlements wherever possible. No grievance will be considered by the second tier unless it has already been reviewed by the first tier.
The second tier of grievance management will be handled by an external entity such as the Local Concertation Committee, which might include Guinean NGOs (the “Grievance External Committee”) or external environmental experts to be selected based on the following criteria:
- External to WCS/Winning;
- Expertise on the grievance related topics;
- Experience in mediation and working in rural and urban areas, on stakeholder engagement and land issues; and
- Capacity to deploy experienced staff in the project footprint (or in the respective lots: port, rail and mine).
The Grievance NGO will review the grievance with all interested parties. Minutes of meetings, including proposed resolution arrangements, records of decisions, agreements reached, will be prepared.
2.3 Third Tier (Justice) of Grievance Management
The third and last step in the 3-tier path needs proper legal opinion on when and how a citizen of Guinea can file a legal claim in court if unhappy on the way WCS acts in their activities. In case the Tier 2 mechanism will not allow reaching a settlement, either the complainant or the WCS entity can resort to Guinean legal system. Resorting to Justice is likely possible for the complainant at any stage in the process of grievance management, in conformance with Guinean law. Cases could involve a landowner or land user and a WCS entity, or two private parties outside of WCS in case a dispute would arise between two landowners, for example on boundaries or shares in the property.
The Land Acquisition and Resettlement Action Plans (LARAPs) will elaborate on more details pertaining to grievance during the land acquisition.
Figure 2 (last page) illustrates the 3-tier GM process. The company will make concerted efforts to resolve all grievances amicably within the tier 1 step. Yet, if a grievance cannot by resolved triggering the tier 2 step, WCS will seek to involve other external experts, neutral parties or local and regional authorities, as necessary. The goal is to avoid going into Tier 3 legal litigation as it is costly and time consuming, as well as carrying significant reputational risks.
3. Level of Risk of the Grievance and hierarchic responsibility
When entering the Grievance register, the officer in charge must categorize each Grievance according to three criteria:
- Grievance sector: service whose problem giving rise to the Grievance relates to (e.g., Production, Transport, Operation, etc.).
- Level of risk of the Grievance: minor, medium, serious, major, catastrophic.
- Likelihood of recurrence of Grievance.
A categorization guide will be made available to this agent to categorize each Grievance. In case of doubt, the agent should refer to the person in charge of managing Grievance. Table 1 below specifies the method for assessing the Grievance.
Table 1: Assessment of the Grievance according to its level of risk and the probability of repetition
This categorization of Grievance is done when registering the Grievance in the register. This action must be taken as soon as the Grievance form is established.
Depending on the assessment of the Grievance, the following people within the company should be included in its handling:
Table 2: Assessment of the Grievance according to its level of risk and the probability of repetition
|Grievance level||Hierarchical level responsible for the investigation|
|Low||Responsible for the mechanism|
|Moderate||Mechanism & Social Manager|
|High||Head of Mechanism, Social Manager & Sustainability Director|
|Critical||Social Manager, Sustainability Director & DG WCS|
4. Implementing the Grievance Mechanism Procedure
WCS to endorse the GM procedure and take the steps mentioned above to demonstrate alignment with PS1 requirements. The venues and contact details for submission of grievances are listed as following:
WCS Conakry: Camayenne corniche sud (derrière camp Boiro), Commune de dixinn, Conakry, Republique de Guinée, BP 4357 Conakry
Contact: Mr. Kaidi Yan, +224 62120 25 69
WCS Damaro: WCS camp, Damaro, Kerouane.
Contact: Mr. Abu Hu, +224 624 68 86 45
WCS Railway: Port of Morebaya, Senguelen
Contact: Mr. Bao Bin, +224 611 27 77 67
WCS Port: Port of Morebaya, Senguelen
Contact: Mr. Shoujiang Liu, +224 626 18 60 72
WCS Singapore: 5 Shenton Way, #19-06 UIC Building, Singapore 068808
Contact: +65 62260169
Figure 2: Principles of the Grievance Management and Redress Mechanism
Form 1: Grievance Registration
Form 2: Receipt of Grievance
Form 3: Investigation of Grievance
Form 4: Grievance Resolution
Form 5: Monthly Community Report on Status of Grievances
Form 6: WCS_GM_Register_Complaints_Unblocked